A while back a writing friend told me that she kept notebooks of description ready to plop into the story of the moment. Whenever a detail struck her, for instance, the way, say feeling the heat of the sidewalk through her shoes as she walked somewhere on a hot July day, she would write it down. Then when a story needed some description about July, she would look up her notebooks and use it.
I thought at the time, that it was kind of silly. Afterall, we all know how hot July is. I can write about July in midwinter, no problem. But it’s Halloween today, and I have been struck by a couple of things that I tend to forget when it’s not Halloween. Little kids pushing all the buttons on the scary figures in Target, then running back to stand by their mothers as they watch the witch or Vampire cackle, and the way little girls seem to dance with heads held high, when they feel pretty in their princess costumes. And the teenage boys, acting all macho, and not dressing up anymore, but still wanting to go out on Halloween–but maybe not to any houses where someone might know them. Oh yeah, and the way the attic is so dark, lit only by a single bulb in the middle and the costumes always seem to be in the back away from the bulb and the dusty smell and cold feel of a mask that has been left up there for a year or two.
Anyway, you get the picture. I think organizing description like this, even on a computer could be difficult but I’m going to try it. Just to see if it adds something or gets something started with my writing.