If you know a quilter, you know the Quilting Box. Or maybe it’s a quilting closet. You know–that one that is so full the door won’t shut? Or maybe your quilter friend won’t let you in some part of the house because it’s over-flowing with scraps: Calicos, and plaids, cotton and silk, grandma’s apron and dad’s work shirt. These little scraps didn’t make it into the quilt on her bed, but they were too precious to throw away. The quilter knows they’ll find a home some day so she hoards them in a box (closet or room) until they find their way into her next masterpiece.
So it is with writing.
I’ve taken to keeping a Writer’s Quilting Box on my hard drive. It is stuffed with metaphors, descriptions, would-be character’s names, settings, hil-ar-ious dialogue, and lots of little gems that I had to cut from previous WIPs. For some reason, they didn’t fit–they had the wrong texture or pattern–but I couldn’t bear to throw them away. Good thing, too. Because it’s there that I go for inspiration when the words run dry. When my imagination is blocked, and I can’t go any further in my newest WIP, it’s one of those scraps that invariably pulls me out of the funk.
It didn’t look right in the last manuscript, but somehow it’s beautiful here.
And now to go into that quilting box and organize those little beauties. A section on Setting, a section on Dialogue, a section on Those Weird Little Phrases that make me ask “What were you thinking?” but still make me smile…