By Sarah Herlong
One thing I find helpful in my writing is to keep a Job Bank. Everyone has been in an interesting workplace at some point in her life. Okay, maybe not. Perhaps you’ve only worked in boring office jobs, but somewhere in there are details that a writer would love. You never know when in your writing this information will come in handy.
Keeping a Job Bank is like the opposite of a resume. This is the list that would get you fired. These are the down and dirty details that made the job hell or so enjoyable you miss it. Describe those annoying coworkers. Hopefully you’ve had a tyrannical boss that still gives you nightmares. Did your office have a bad odor? Did one of your coworkers catch a potato on fire in the office microwave? Describe it in detail as you would for a story.
Start a Job Bank by listing all the jobs you’ve ever had, even the ones when you were a teenager. For me this is quite a list. Then when you’ve hit a roadblock with your writing, just work on your Job Bank. Fill in smells, characters and events as you remember them. You’ll be surprised how many stories crop up that you had forgotten long ago. Remember no detail is too small, something what was completely normal or humiliating to you, might be hysterical to your readers. These details can make your characters feel more like real people.
This isn’t something you complete in one sitting. This is something you can work on whenever you have time, or suddenly remember something. Create your own Interviews From Hell section, everyone has some of those, surely.
Creating your Job Bank
List all of your jobs, and write down everything you can remember about each one.
Fill in the descriptive blanks over time as they come to you.
No detail is too small. Remember this is the down and dirty stuff.
If it reads like a resume you’re doing it wrong. This is the anti-resume.
If you are laughing, fuming, or cringing, you’re doing it right.