Tool 42 ~ Do your homework well in advance.

“Prepare yourself for the expected–and unexpected.”

I think I must be a writer. “Good writers . . .  (and then like three sentences that don’t say anything I want to talk about) . . . fill a reservoir of knowledge they can drain at a moment’s notice” (205). That is me. I work at Bonner Community Service, and when the wrinkled hand reaches out to clutch mine, I look at it, and I see the story. Or like my last nonfiction piece where I talked about the little boy trailing his hand along the cement wall. I saw him. A few weeks ago in the Elementary Childcare Center. And I remembered him, like a camera taking a picture. He is still in my mind today.

When my sister, Rebekah, and I were kids, we had the top beds of two bunk beds butted up against one another, so we’d spend the evenings telling each other stories about this really cool mansion with staircase, a sewing room, and a pink room. We’d plan out every little detail. I can still see it. And that is what writers do, Clark says. Virginia Woolf says that “to prepare to write fiction, women would need some money and a ‘room of one’s own’ ” (205), but Dorothea Brande and Ford Madox Ford say something along the lines of, “Dream about it.” Can you see the room exactly? The color of the carpet? The mouse-hole behind the chifforobe? The pin Grandma dropped when doing up the quilt? Can you see it?

So think like a journalist–do your research ahead of time, before you even need it or know you need it, so you can write the killer article.

Do enough research to answer these three questions (taken directly from Clark):

1. What’s the point?

2. Why is this story being told?

3. What does it say about life, about the world, about the times we live in?

And there were no interesting ideas in the “Workshop” section, so I am not including any of them. Just go dream. 🙂


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