Monday, March 30, 2015

Repurposeful

I'm always looking for ways to reuse things. For example, I like to recycle old dryer sheets in a couple of ways (wrapping for fragile Christmas ornaments, stacked as batting for mug mats, stitched into a pocket and filled with dried lavender or rose petals as a quickie mini-sachet, etc.) so I don't throw them away after I use them.

My guy hates this. This is primarily because sometimes the used sheets fall onto the tile floor in the laundry room and act like banana peels underfoot, but also because there is no really tidy way to store a lot of crumpled up sheets. I was sticking them in plastic bag hanging by the dryer first, but evidently this was too technical for anyone else to remember to do. My guy wanted me to stop saving them; I was just as determined to keep doing it. Then one day I had an empty tissue box I wanted to reuse in some way and the lightbulb went off.

Now when I take a used sheet out of the dryer I pop it in the empty tissue box I leave on top of the dryer. When the box is full I put it in my recycling cabinet, take out another empty tissue box and start over. I get to save the sheets, everyone remembers to use the box, storing them takes up less space and best of all my guy is happy now.

Sometimes when you're writing you come up with a character, scene or plot element that seems so great but ultimately doesn't work for the editor (or the story and you) and bites the dust during the editing process. I have never liked throwing away these dust biters; often they are the victims of space constraints, differing opinions or other edits that render them unnecessary. Sometimes you can rework them back into the story -- Chapter 24 of my Disenchanted & Co., for example, was originally the novel's prologue -- but most often they need to be deleted entirely.

You don't have to erase them permanently, however, if you set up a Repurposing file for your story discards. This can be an electronic or paper file folder where you stick the stuff you have to toss. I set up a file for every book I write as [Story Title] Cut Notes to which I save anything significant that is removed from the manuscript, and keep them all under one folder which I often raid when I need ideas or want to repurpose something into another story.

2 comments:

  1. Awesome idea with the tissue boxes and dryer sheets. I like to use dryer sheets for wiping down the inside of the washing machine - especially when I've washed something covered in cat hair. As for writerly snipped bits, I never throw anything away, but I also haven't found an occasion to use a snipped bit from one book in another book. I just like having them around - just in case.

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  2. Great idea! Used dryer sheets are good for dusting tv and computer monitors too, and great for polishing chrome.

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