Friday, June 10, 2011

Saturday Snippet: Inspiration for your WIP

What’s your WIP? It’s your Work in Progress, your rough draft. You probably have several vignettes in draft form.

Think of them as WIPs (rather than “finished”) because in coming weeks, we’ll cover additional elements you’ll want to utilize so your stories will come alive for your readers.

For example, photos play a big role in your memoir in two ways:

First, they help you remember details.

Don’t believe me? Give it a try.

Be sure to have a pencil and paper in hand, and then dig out a photo related to one of your vignettes. Give yourself a few minutes to ponder what you see and jot down everything that comes to mind. (You might need a big piece of paper!)

If it’s a photo of scenery, record the reason you were there, who was with you, what you did, and how that place or event changed you. Include sensory detail: smell, sound, taste, touch, sight.

If a person is in the photo, note his or her physical characteristics, quirks, tone of voice, talents, endearing qualities, and maybe even odors. Write some or all of those into your WIP.

The second importance of photos? Their benefit to readers. Photos add richness, texture, and depth to your stories—which, in turn, add to your readers’ enjoyment. Photos help readers experience your story with you, so consider including photos in your finished memoir.

While you’re working on your vignettes (consider them as chapters), start crafting a title for each.

And how about this fun project: Have you thought of a title for your memoir—for your whole compilation of stories? Feel free to dream up a good one!

Today you’re in for a treat because one of this blog’s Followers, Diana Trautwein, wrote a vignette about falling in love during her freshman year at UCLA. Click on the following link to read Diana’s delightful story, The Eyes Have It:

Notice (a) Diana's use of sensory detail, (b) her photo, and (c) the way she reflected on the past and drew out important lessons--an important aspect of memoir. Nice job, Diana!

C’mon back Wednesday, and between now and then enjoy writing your stories!


  1. Here is an inspiration exercise from Sharron Lippicott involving remembering a song that can trigger story ideas:

  2. Thanks, Wayne! This week I ran across three or four writers' blogs about the way songs trigger story ideas. I blogged a few weeks ago about crafting stories around lines in songs, but I think I feel another blog post taking shape in the back of my mind. :) How about you?

    Thanks for stopping by, Wayne.


  3. Thanks for the link, Linda - very kind of you! And for your nice comments as well. MUCH appreciated.

    Diana Trautwein