Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Visual triggers - it's all in there somewhere!

I do a lot of my writing by hand. It sounds odd in an age of keyboards, laptops and vocal recognition software, but I find that dampening the speed of my thoughts down to the speed of my hand works for me. Especially if I am having trouble writing. It also allows me to be away from the Net.
But… I fill a lot of notebooks with scrawl. And I am thrifty or cheap… yep, cheap.
So I need a notebook with a solid cover and lots of lined pages. It cannot be too large or too small and it cannot be too expensive. I used to buy hardcover Chinese notebooks bound in red and black but I cannot find them in the right size any more.
On a trip to Officeworks (Staples in the US?) to get school supplies, I found some Composition books. 200 pages, 9 3/4x 7 1/2 inches. The cover is not hardbound but it is cardboard so I can write with it leaning on my knees. And as a bonus, they fit in my handbag.
They even come in different colours so that I can use a colour for each fic type.
I bought a dozen of them!

But… I got the oddest feeling from them. I tried to explain it to kid 1 one day - I said I got a serial killer vibe from the books and I didn’t know why.
Fast forward months later. I love movies and I insist that my kids watch what I consider to be classic movies. Kid 1 is old enough for R ratings now and he and I settled down to watch American Psycho and Se7en.
And there were my composition books! Black mottled covers and all. Each killer filled them with tightly written scrawl. In Se7en he had hundreds of them.
And there was my serial killer link.
I could not remember it, but my mind had clearly made a connection, tucked it away in the back of my head and I had forgotten about it. It was a visual trigger.
It’s the same thing in writing - sometimes people dislike a character for a reason that they can’t express. Maybe they always wear a blue hoodie and the guy that bullied them in school always wore a blue hoodie? Maybe a redhead broke their heart?
So each person has a different reaction to the same thing.
Se7en also explains the startled yelp noise that I make when I see one of those Christmas tree car deodorisers. Problem is, kid 3 does it now, and she doesn’t know why.