Ten Reasons I Use Scrapbooking in my Fiction:

I’m a big fan of scrapbooker Shimelle Laine’s blog and have been wanting to try the Ten Things Challenge on the tenth of every month. I’ve been asked this question a lot over the past several years so I thought I’d write it up for anybody else who wants to know. Why do I use scrapbooking as a theme in my mysteries? Of course, I’ve given it some thought and here are my ten reasons.

  1. Community. I’ve been around different craft communities in the past. I don’t know if any other crafters get together as frequently as scrappers do. But it seems integral to the craft to get together and share. What better reason to bring a group of characters together on a regular basis on the page.
  2. A lens. Scrapbooking provides an intimate lens into my character’s lives. We see the importance of their family, their achievements, and the other facets of their lives, like cooking and baking. In my first book “Scrapbook of Secrets,” my croppers make scrapbooks for children belonging to a woman who has mysteriously died. They piece together more than photos and pretty paper. They piece together a life full of depth and secrets.

    Photo by Andrew Wrennie

  3. Puzzles equal mystery. Have you ever thought about the puzzle aspect to scrapbooking? Looking for the right picture, embellishment, paper, and so on and putting it all together is one aspect of it. But in my second book, “Scrapped,” we puzzle out another character’s personality by looking through her mysterious scrapbook of shadows. To me, more than any other craft (except maybe quilting) scrapbooking lends itself to mysteries.
  4. Remembering the past. In my next book, due out next year, one of my characters discovers an old scrapbook that relates to an event happening around her. The past leaves footprints everywhere, including scrapbooking. I wanted to explore that through scrapbooking in fiction.
  5. Imagining the future. I think this is as important as the past. Scrapbooking lends itself to dreaming about what the future holds. With each picture we place on our pages, there is a hope for the future–or else why do we do it? I, for one, like to imagine my kids flipping through pages I’ve created in the near and distant future.

    Photo by the Gamma Man

  6. Relatable. Some writers write for artistic reasons alone. Others for commercial reasons. I like to think my books straddle those lines. Characters have to be relatable in some way. There are other ways readers relate to my characters, of course. But so many of us know someone who is a scrapbooker—or we are one ourselves.
  7. Exploration.All crafts move through time. Some are little changed by it. Others, like scrapbooking, sometimes follow trends and technology. Learning about digital scrapbooking myself, you see my characters grappling with (or loving) some of those changes. As a writer this is a great tool to show more about my characters and to show that scrapbooking is an evolving art form.

    Photo by Photoshop Roadmap

  8. Food. I love the way croppers come together and bring food to events. Writing about crops gives me a chance to explore food appropriate for my characters and settings. You don’t always have food at crops, and we all know that when you do it pays to be extra careful. Once again, the kind of food my croppers eat and their reaction to it is one of the elements in story building.
  9. Storytelling. Scrapbooking is visual story. What better way to add layers of meaning to your fiction?
  10.  Passion. I love scrapbooking. Writing for a living is not easy. Writing about something you feel a passion for makes it a whole lot easier.





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