Friday, February 06, 2009

Writing Glimmers

Today a family member was telling me about how his e-mail in-box is always empty. As soon as something comes in, he deals with it. Job-related messages go immediately to their appropriate folders, other items are responded to and filed or deleted, junk is trashed. Everything is taken care of right away, he told me. No build up. In-box empty. All the time.

I almost said, "Ya gotta point?"

He inspired me to try to read some of the Glimmer Train Bulletins to which I subscribe. (Glimmer Train is one of the many fine publications that have turned down my short stories over the years. Yeah, I know. Some day they will all be sorry.) About fourteen of the things were languishing in my in-box. Now I'm down to twelve. Good work, Gail!

I found a couple of interesting things:

Crossing the Blank Page Fearlessly with a Roll of the Polyhedral Gambling Apparatus by Brian Ames

Yes, I was shaken by the appearance of the word polyhedral, too. But what Ames has done is create a chart for generating ideas from magazine articles. In the past I have been very turned off by the idea of using charts while writing. But a couple of years ago, I decided to try using a spreadsheet, and now I'm much more open-minded.

Plus, I do get a lot of ideas from magazines. And I'm trying to come up with an idea a day for the 365 Story Project. (Actually, I prefer to come up with several ideas at a time, so I know what I'm going to be doing for the next few days.) So I may give some variation of Ames' idea a try.

The Importance of Journaling by Cynthia Gregory

I hate using journal as a verb. Nonetheless, Gregory says something very interesting about writing in journals. "Write knowing that your journal is not about you...Rather, it is like a Polaroid camera that you aim at everything around you and with which you snap a photo...It is a recording."

Be sure to read the next to the last paragraph, in which she talks about her ex-husband's grandmother's journal. That sure sounds like an idea for a novel to me.

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