How green are you? How much do you recycle? How many bins sit at your back door?
In this age of recycling so that we don’t all finish up living on rubbish tips, I bet you’ve become adept at separating your waste paper from your bottles and tins. And of course there’s that wee bin for your food waste.
But what else do you recycle?
Have you thought about those blog posts you write, and the articles you submit to various online and offline publications. How many of those do you recycle by changing a bit here and a bit there? And what about all that research you’ve painstakingly done for your latest article or blockbuster? Once the book is written where does all that information go? Does it nestle cosily in your hard drive for evermore, or maybe it winds up in the salvage you are commendably recycling in order to save the planet? Or do you use it to write articles and blog posts?
And then there is the plot we squeeze out of our brains – more painful than giving birth – to arrange lovingly on the page in the hope that readers will find it interesting enough to buy the book. But is this plot really as original as we think it is? Or is this another example of recycling, whether that be consciously or unconsciously. Particularly when it is often said there are only seven basic plots in existence. Although I find the number of plots thought to exist varies according to who is saying it.
Christopher Booker seems to lead the field in this area. His book The Seven Basic Plots: Why we tell stories details these plots, and if you can believe Wikipedia he apparently worked this out over a prolonged period of 34 years. But, of course, not everyone agrees with this. Foster-Harris, for example states there are three basic patterns of plot, while Ronald B Tobias considers there are twenty, as detailed in his book 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them, published by Writers Digest. And then there’s George Polti who advocates that there are 36 plots which he describes in his book Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations. But just to make things easy for you, there is a list of all of these plots on the internet in a post called The “Basic” Plots in Literature.
But all that is getting away from our recycling topic. Should we recycle to increase our productivity? And if we do, how should we do it?
One thing I would say is, that if you do recycle blog posts, articles, or short stories between different blogs, magazines and anthologies, never forget to let the reader know it was previously published elsewhere.