On the Beauty and Magic of Details
I have always paid attention the “little things.” I notice things other people don’t, like the door-shaped opening nestled at the base of an old tree, the first tiny blossom on one of my modest houseplants, or the way my younger cat’s ears look like maps to some magical kingdom.
Details matter. Minutia makes the moment.
As writers, it’s our job to notice the details. They are part of our stock in trade. We must absorb them and squirrel them away for later … the way the veins of a fallen leaf are traced in brilliant white frost, the way a husband places his hand on the small of his wife’s back to guide her even though she’d know the way to their favorite corner table with her eyes closed, the particular shade of emerald and lime green glistening on the back of a frog as it croaks out its song of spring from the edge of a vernal pool, the barely audible sound of the grandmother’s knitting needles clicking down the hall as the grandson drifts off to sleep …
We can miss the details if we move too fast or write too fast. Speed causes the world to blur into generalities and gray spaces. In our haste to get from here to there or started to finished, we gloss right over the best bits.
Slow yourself down. Savor the details. Bask in the discovery of all the little things that have been there all along like an invisible treasure. And then share those jewels with others – write them into your stories so that others can discover their magic, too.
What I’m Reading:
Once again, the week has denied me much time for pleasure reading. I feel guilty about complaining since the reason I’ve been short on time is because I’ve been so busy with client work. I miss quiet time with my books, but there’s something to be said for being gainfully employed.
While I’m working on making more reading time so I can finish the three novels I’m enjoying at the moment, I thought I’d explore a new mobile reading app that I learned about via Jane Friedman’s blog. Tapas is a San Francisco-based media company that publishes “bite-sized content” via its mobile app. Designed for readers who typically only have small pockets of time to read and want to have reading material available on their mobile phone or tablet, the platform is proving to be quite popular. According to the company’s press page, since they launched in the fall of 2012, they have garnered more than 600 million views from more than 1 million readers.
Tapas serves up serialized stories and illustrated comics that cater to “story fans.” I’ve only just begun exploring the available stories, but I have to say that – so far – I’m pretty impressed. The quality of the writing seems better and more consistent than what I’ve found, for instance, on Wattpad. And though I’m not a regular reader of graphic novels or comics, the examples of those genres on Tapas are beautiful and engaging.
The stories are organized into collections such as Top 10, Queens of Comedy, Tapastic Favorites, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Staff Picks, New and Noteworthy, Holding Out for a Hero, Inherit the Earth, In a Mood, and more. You can also choose to filter the content by Books vs. Comics, so that you only see one or the other.
There is also a gaming element to the app, but I haven’t quite figured that out. You can earn points to unlock new installments in the books or comics you’re reading. I’ll have to do more research on that. But, for now, I’m just enjoying exploring a new story space.
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My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:
- Narrating Layout & Position by Chris Winkle via @mythcreants
- The Small and Mighty Ampersand: Creating Delightful, Messy Characters by @sarahrcallender
- This happened, then this happened, then…” Create suspense in your storytelling by @jccabel
PUBLISHING & MARKETING
- From Awareness To Loyalty by @bernadettejiwa
- Attract & Engage Readers w/Image Marketing by @CaballoFrances via @thecreativepenn
- The Unexpected Benefits of Sharing Everything You Know – @nickvegas with Dave Benton
- How to Generate 30 Blog Topics in 30 Minutes by @bensailer
- 16 of Our Favorite Kindle-Publishing Resources for First-Time Authors by @marisoldahl
- Think Rules are Made to be Broken? Ignore These Popular Blogging Tips by @jesslaw
- I only have 60 followers by @DanBlank
- The Basic Author Platform by @elizabethscraig
- Why Freelance Writers Should Happily Give Free Advice by @Saganlives
- Birth vs. Battle by David Corbett via @WriterUnboxed
- My Resistance Dream Diary by @SPressfield
- The world’s best creativity technique by @markwschaefer
- What It Takes: The Vision Thing by @SPressfield
THE WRITING LIFE
- Second-Level Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform via @farnamstreet
- Feeling Disorganized? How One Freelance Writer Uses Trello to Track Her Ideas by @decorcione
Sundry Links and Articles:
Every once in a while, I come across a new version of the “digital notebook.” I’m always a little intrigued by these devices that promise to combine the old-school feel of pen and ink with the modern convenience of digital documents. This latest entry into the market is from legendary notebook company, Moleskine. This is the Moleskine Smart Writing Set:
Though the promotional video focuses on a design use, I can see how this could be very practical for writers as well. The tutorial video on the product shows lots of great features and use cases, but the $199 price tag still seems a little hefty.
For now, I’ll stick to my DIY “digital notebook” by using my phone to take pictures of notebook pages and then uploading those pictures to Evernote where I can archive and sort them. I can’t search text the way Moleskine’s Smart Writing Set allows, but I seriously doubt if any digital notebook could read my horrendous writing, so it’s probably no great loss.
Curious: Have you ever used a digital notebook? If so, what did you think?
Finally, a quote for the week:
Go forth and revel in the details, maybe enjoy a micro story on tapas, and write – definitely write!
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.