Thursday, February 11, 2010

Editor's Tip - Try to Remember

Here's another great article by Barbara Ardinger, freelance editor.  Barbara is an experienced editor who has worked with many authors. If you have questions about your book and/or need an editor, contact Barbara at You can also visit her website at

Yes, this is the title of one of the songs from The Fantasticks, which ran off-Broadway for something like forty-two years. It’s a simple, lovely show. I could also, of course, refer to the beautiful song, “Memory,” from Cats for this column about remembering ideas. (If you’ve been to my web site, you know I’m gaga over musical theater.)

But using a Fantasticks song title as my title here is not meretricious decoration. It’s not just a fancy allusion. A writer needs to have or develop a good memory.

Ideas for books, articles, blogs, dissertations, school essays, and collateral literature can come from anywhere and at any time. A bit of a song lyric we hear on the radio when we’re not really paying attention but that somehow sticks in our head. A phrase we see on Facebook or in a spam we open by mistake. Disconnected words that fly by when we’re engaged in a conversation with friends (or in line with strangers) and somehow make a connection with something else in our head. An idea that slaps us upside the head when we’re standing, all soaped up, in the shower. Something brilliant that comes when we’re sound asleep and hear a voice speaking the beginning of a narrative or the best dialogue in the world. Something that blows in the car window when we’re stuck in traffic and zoned out.

Back in the late ’80s, I had a friend who worked in PR and carried a tiny cassette player everywhere she went. When one of these ideas arrived, she spoke it into her cassette player. Today you can just type stuff into your BlackBerry or whatever other electronic gizmo you carry around. I’ve also known people who are so nerdy (moi?) that they carry little notebooks and pencils everywhere they go. They even have little notebooks and pencils on the bedside table and the coffee table.

Whatever that idea is, and however it comes, you need to capture it and write it down, either in the little notebook or on your handy electronic thingie. Capture it before it flies away and lands in someone else’s head. You don’t want to be reading a book or an article or a blog and say, “Hey! I thought of that first!” But you didn’t remember it until you read it above someone else’s bionote.


No comments:

Post a Comment