The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

13 May 2014


Some writers know the whole of what they're going to write before they take pen in hand (or set fingertips to keys). Some work it out like a schematic, breaking down every beat of the story - or article - and attach words to that structure.  I find these different approaches very fascinating. I'm sure that a correlation can be found between approach to writing and personality types.

Of course that might be a psychobabbling sort of excuse or justification for the fact that for the past week I've been trying to plot out a story and have got exactly nowhere with it. When I look at my Myers-Briggs personality type (INFJ) it is quite clear that story plotting is impossible. It just isn't in my toolkit. So I've decided to not get twisted up about it and instead let my brain work the way it works.

When an idea takes up residence in my mind, it isn't a linear story or even a concept. Instead what I have is an impression, a feeling, or a mood. My imagination is set off by a scene or a bit of dialogue. They often linger in the back of my mind or lie buried and forgotten in notebooks until a way forward is discovered, to build on them, or stretch them, or slot them in, to a bigger, fuller, idea.

For example:
Last week, while at work with my mind occupied at cataloguing a book, this phrase popped out of thing air,
"I make my father's gestures with my mother's hands."

I don't know what that is. Will it become a line in a story, part of  reflection, or an element of a poem?

It lingers in my mind, though, like the scent of a candle after it's been blown out.  It just might turn up here again, in some form.

Meanwhile, I'm working on the idea of Fragments - a story told in pieces rather than a whole.  Do you think that works?


  1. As a novice blogger and writer I would always keep a notebook and a pen/pencil handy. When these thoughts and images come up, I would that scribble them down in words or images. It becomes and inspiration later on when you stumble on it again. Most of the time I can create a good article just by compiling pieces of written notes in my notebook during the past.

  2. Thank you for stopping by the Lighthouse, Nikolai. Welcome to the worlds of writing and blogging - good luck and have fun!

  3. Hmmm... I'm an INFJ, too.

    The fragments idea is interesting. I'm not sure if you were thinking of it this way, but I pictured a series of stories, seemingly unrelated or only tangentially (?) related, but building into a larger story. That could be a fascinating bit of work!

  4. I think fragments would be an interesting way of conjuring up a story. I see life, my life as built up of fragments. I suppose one could consider life linear going from birth to death but the in between least with me, seems rather fragmented. Think of all the detours our lives take, themselves short stories and fragments of the whole. I believe Tess that the idea of fragments is very much the normal way of life so why not in writing? My deux cents.