Monday, January 20, 2014

Do You Have a Snippet File?

The other day as I taught piano lessons, I gave a particular instruction to one cute little beginner. She said, "OK, just a minute, I need to scratch this scab off of my head." After I told her she could do that later (!), I thought, "Well, you don't hear that every day." I put it in my snippet file.

Driving home from a visit to my daughter, I passed a home that had a huge treble clef attached to the front wall. Interesting. I jotted that down in my snippet file. 

An oddly dressed person, a snatch of overheard conversation, even something funny or sad that happens are all fodder for a storyline. One author I know keeps a weather journal for that purpose. Sometimes I practice describing people I see as I'm waiting at the doctor's office. It all goes in my snippet file on Evernote. Photos, fragments of conversations, thoughts, and ideas that I know I'd never remember if I didn't document somehow.  I sometimes use the voice recorder on my phone to remember what I've just seen or heard.

Several years ago I passed a huge sign that read "Washout Express, Exit 477." I wondered what in the world that could be. I noted the sign in my snippet file. Now it's the title of my debut novel. That day I thought over what it might feel like to be "washed out." A story was born.

How do you keep track of those priceless moments that you might need to remember?

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