Beloved friend, grammarian, and very funny writer Martha Brockenbrough guest blogged over at Darcy Pattison's Revision Notes blog on Touchstones: a reader's way into a story. Here's an excerpt:
When I worked as a freelancer for a company that created really special games—games designed to draw out the best talents of each player—I learned about an idea-development strategy that has informed my writing ever since.
Touchstones. The game creators wanted questions to contain “touchstones.” A touchstone is pretty much what it sounds like—something that, when we encounter it, will evoke certain memories. I love the sensual aspect of the word—the idea that there is something we can fold into a story that readers can reach out and touch with their minds....
Read the rest over at Revision Notes.
I'm fascinated by this idea of touchstones as a way into a story (and also pretty intrigued by the game designers who figured this out). As I work my way through the conclusion of this second novel, I realize that's exactly what I'm trying to do - evoke the universal through the specific, and try to get to something truthful in the process. I will be looking for touchstones as I finish the draft and then start the process of revising.
Thanks, Martha and Darcy!