Happy Weekend, Everyone! Lady B is not at-home today, I’m afraid. Albert flew off with the earring she was about to put on, and Her Ladyship and the staff are chasing that naughty bird all over her (very grand) Town mansion. It’s quite a row out there, so I thought I might sit down safely here in the parlor and chat with you all today about one of my favorite subjects: writing.
I know we don’t talk about writing-craft subjects much at the Ballroom, but as I’ve been getting to know our visitors, I’ve noticed there are quite a few writers out there. So I wanted to show you a cool thing I made to help me get myself quickly into the Regency mindset when I sit down to write.
Basically, it’s just a simple collage covered with Regency images. Now, any of you scrapbooking girls out there could go way more elaborate than this. I did some image searches online, and then when I saw pictures that capture the “Regency” feel, I copied them into a Pictures folder on my computer. You could keep yours digital, but I printed them out on matte-finish photo paper, and then assembled them into a collage, below. Just trailing my gaze over all these Regency images instantly puts my head into “Writing Historical Romance” mode…
(Note: Of course, you just can’t take the images and use them publicly, for copyright reasons. I’m sharing them here so you get the idea, but I believe this falls under educational use, anyway. A lot of my pics came from Wikipedia, which allows people to use images under Creative Commons.)
Visual cues are really helpful, but more auditory people could get the same boost from Regency music. Some of my Regency-ish CD’s that I keep at the reader are:
* Piano Classics from the World of Jane Austen, played by Karlyn Bond.
* English Country Dances From Playford’s Dancing Master, 1651-1703, played by The Broadside Band. (This music is much earlier than Regency, but it’s very traditional and a part of everyday life, the kind of thing our heroes would hear in a pub. Note the Colonial America type sound.)
* Boccherini, played by Europa Galante.
If anyone has additional suggestions for Regency music, please do share them with us! I could always use more recommendations!
Another interesting senory trigger that I learned about from an Australian author, Melissa James, at her RWA workship one year, was to also use a scented candle (or other scented thing) as an additional cue to pop your brain right back into the story. Smell is a very powerful trigger for evoking memories. So if you anchor yourself to a particular smell that goes with one story, then anytime you smell it, it would work to bring the whole story of your W-I-P (work-in-progress) flooding back to the forefront of your mind, the same way that, for example, the smell of gingerbread cookies baking might trigger someone to remember being back at their grandma’s house in childhood, if that was the setting that you associated with that smell.
Ms. James suggested this was particuarly useful if somebody is writing more than one story; it would help to keep the different stories straight, by cueing with the different smells. Make sense?
These kinds of triggering tactics can really be applied to anything someone has to do. I think it kind of relates to “State Dependent Learning.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-dependent_learning if you’ve never heard of that. It’s a very cool and useful thing! I think I first heard about it from motivational guru Tony Robbins, aka “Banana Hands” as Jack Black called him in Shallow Hal.)
It’s always fun to have an excuse to make a little craft project, anyway, especially when it’s something useful. Do you guys have any tips for how you get your head into the story when you sit down to write?
And btw, any scrapbookers out there? I wonder how my simple, plain collage could be prettied up…