Pulp sci-fi author Alfred Bester kept a book of storytelling tricks.
All I ever wanted was to be a great storytelling pitchman, which is why I collected the tricky devices and means which are entered in this Gimmick Book.
Back in the 18th and 19th centuries literati would have called it a Commonplace Book, 'a book in which noteworthy passages, poems, comments, etc. are written.' Literature was a diversion for them. For me it’s a livelihood and this Gimmick Book is my toolbox.
Keep your own Gimmick Book
I am a believer in the power of the Gimmick Book. Whatever you do, capture it. Write it all down. These scraps are your livelihood.
- Gimmicks can be the beginnings of design patterns.
- Capturing them is the first step in capture, organize, synthesize.
The Waste Books
Bester wasn't the only one. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was an 18th c astronomer, mathematitcian, and physicist who collected his stray notes and thoughts in The Waste Books. Apparently Tolstoy, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein were fans.
Sometimes the Gimmick Book itself becomes valuable, as with Pascal's Pensees.