By Sherry Harris from NoVA
As you may know I love to go to yard sales. I’ve traveled a lot recently and find it hard to resist a sign that says “yard sale” with a arrow pointing down a block. I went to one in Destin, Florida. The things I loved were way too big to fit in my suitcase. How I would have loved to take the chaise lounge below home.
But I had a nice chat with the man running the yard sale about his wife’s business of fixing up old furniture. We talked about a desk he had and whether a piece of veneer that was curling up off the top was original or added later.
A couple of weeks later I went to a wedding in Saint Louis, Missouri. I stayed with a friend who also likes yard sales so we set out early on Saturday morning. I found a lovely bedroom set. Of course it wouldn’t fit in the suitcase but I had to ask how much they wanted. Thirty dollars apiece for the bed and dressers — that was his opening price who knows what it would have been with a bit of haggling. One of the dressers had drawers that were dovetailed so I knew it was old.
Writing a novel is a bit like going to a yard sale.
What makes your book unique and stand out in a crowd? When I was at a yard sale in a neighborhood full of them this ladder caught my eye. Not only did it make the yard sale stand out but the ladder had a purpose. Each scene should support the plot or subplot.
Until that Saturday in Saint Louis, I’d never seen a Harley for sale at a yard sale. (The guy wanted $21,000 for it, in case you’re curious.) It was unexpected. In writing you have to do the unexpected too. Sometimes I make a list of options a character has in a given situation and pick what might seem like the opposite of what the character should do.
You have to haggle with yourself and decide what you really, really have to keep. The tins in the background caught my eye. Printed on the bottom of the tin is: Designed by Daher in Long Island, NY 11101 Container made in England. The lady told me they were biscuit tins. I have no idea if that’s true. But I loved the bright colors and they fit in my suitcase.So two of them came home with me.
Readers: Do you like yard sales or hate them? Is there anything you can’t resist when you go to one?