The Frugal Writer II: Keep Everything

Last year I wrote about keeping your writing leftovers, because unfinished storylines, openings and any other bits and pieces of the creation process can usually be repurposed, sometimes to great effect.

I would apply the ‘keep everything’ rule to sketches, drawings and doodles as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found some old drawing that helped me get back into a story I had left unfinished, or expand upon something already written. The attached sketch is a perfect example of this.

A few years back I’d gotten halfway through a sci-fi horror tale set on a floating science platform, when life interrupted, as it so often does.

When I recently read through what I had written so far, I enjoyed it, but I was having a hard time recalling what the floating science platform looked like in my mind at the time I wrote about it. It sounded ridiculous, because I had not described it in any detail yet.

I was fortunate enough to stumble across this old sketch. I had tucked it away, just in case I needed it… And I do.

Before you chortle over my drawing let me say, “Damn it, Jim, I’m a writer, not an artist!” The illustration may be crude and the airship may be preposterously impossible, but it worked for me as a roadmap to the past and helped me do my job, and my job is making people believe in the preposterous and the impossible, if only for a little while.

So remember to never throw anything away,* because the time will come when you will thank your past self for keeping those essential bits and pieces of your imagination.


*Unless it is that fanfic piece you wrote about Supergirl giving The Flash superhandjobs in nanoseconds and then watching him try to explain his o-faces to friends and coworkers. No, you don’t need to save those. Then again, with the exploitation of niche markets I’m seeing these days, I wouldn’t rule out an open call for submissions to an anthology of fanfic handjob stories.

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