Today is my birthday! To keep to my blog’s writing-related theme, I will point out that author Ian Fleming was born on May 28, 1908, and Noah Webster died on May 28, 1843.
Other interesting facts: there are only 211 shopping days left until Christmas; this is the 148th day of the current year; it’s been 4 days since the last new moon; Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was validated on May 28, 1533.
None of those things seems significant now, but I’ve come to the conclusion that even the most trivial events have an impact on the world. For instance, I bought a new kind of dishwasher detergent last week rather than the one I’ve used for years. This one is supposed to be eco-friendly, and comes in a lovely white container—symbolizing cleanliness, purity, etc. My kids decided to surprise me by cleaning up the house while I was gone last night, and my daughter did the dishes. She knew I always used “that yellow stuff” in the dishwasher, and unfortunately the only yellow dish detergent she found was Joy.
Did you know that if you put Joy in a dishwasher, it will make so many bubbles that the dishwasher will leak and flood your kitchen? It will continue making bubbles through at least 8 rinse cycles even if you scoop them all out and dry the inside of the dishwasher with a towel—repeatedly.
Who would have thought changing something as insignificant as the type of dish detergent we use would have an impact on our lives? Yet, it took up hours of time that could have been used productively—or at least pleasantly—and inspired this post. Now you’re reading about trivial events in my life instead of learning anything useful or socializing with your family. But don’t despair! I’m segueing into a writing-related subject now—making every scene, character, or action in your writing serve a purpose.
As you see from this post, everything can impact something else, so in a way is significant. However, that doesn’t mean it’s interesting or appropriate to include in a story. We need to focus on the things that will keep the reader turning the pages, events that are relevant to the story, setting, plot, or the development of the characters. Too much information is usually just as bad as too little; using the right amount of description is as important as using the right detergent.
Anyone else have a birthday today?