A Book In A Bag, by Jess Lourey – A Review

Ever since I can remember, I have written stories. They have entertained me. They have guided me. They helped me understand complex situations in life. When one of my close friends died suddenly when we were seniors in high school, I wrote about it. In a way, it helped me process, to wrap my head around the finality of his death. That I would never see him again.

When I was younger, I had a massive notebook – or perhaps two, or three – that was filled with my terrible stylized drawings of ancient Greek gods and goddesses, both real and ones of my own imagining. I would make up stories to go with each of them; either details that may not be known about the actual gods and goddesses, and tales of how they received their powers for the ones I made up.

Though my notebook is perhaps long gone – or buried in a box in my basement – I still have the book, by Arthur Cotterell on my shelf in my office.

Having spent much of my childhood buried in stories – my Friday and Saturday nights as a high school student were usually spent holed up in my bedroom, scribbling furiously in one of my dozens of notebooks – my love for writing came as no great surprise to my parents. This past Christmas, my mom gifted me with the Book in a Bag created by one of her favorite authors, Jess Lourey.

Inside this simple little cloth bag is a color-coded organizer’s dream.

The kit includes:

  • A small canister of colored pencils, complete with a sharpener lid.
Note: doggo nose not included
  • A small notepad to keep stray thoughts and ideas, complete with colored sticky notes.
  • A ringed set of colored notecards.
  • A mysterious marble; Jess says it is a lucky marble, it also works well as a muddling tool. As you muddle through your thoughts and ideas, simply roll this little guy around in your palm whilst brainstorming.

As mentioned previously, I have always loved to write. What I have not mentioned before is the amount of unfinished notebooks I had (and still have), how many half-told stories I have saved on my writing USB. And now here it comes, the painful truth: I love to write, but I struggle to finish a story. Either I lose focus on where it is headed, forget about it all together, or just never properly plotted it out to begin with and it just becomes a meandering disaster. I have lost count of how many stories I have started in my now thirty-four years of life, but I can count on one hand how many I have finished.

I cannot wait to put this handy little kit to action. To fulfill my dreams of creating a complete story, to have it mapped out in color-coded perfection. Now I’ll just have the age-old writer struggle of not saving it for the too-perfect-it-will-never-exist project. You know of which I speak, like all those notebooks we hoard for that perfect story.

I love that in the booklet of instructions there are also helpful hints, tips, and real world examples. And the examples span multiple genres, so chances are you will be familiar with at least one of them. There is something for everyone, every genre of story.

The color-coding system is also amazing because it is so intuitive. You can look at it from one glance and you will be able to tell what’s what. The intuitive colors will also help with knowing where you are going without having to constantly stop to check the map.

The complete kit

If you have used this handy little kit before, I would love to see yours fleshed out and hear about your experience using it! I will also be sure to post a Part Two (and perhaps more…) as I get underway with mine. Currently, I have two stories in mind to use it for!

If this sounds like a magical tool that needs to be added to your arsenal, you can find it here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/884177250/book-in-a-bag-kit

Now, go get your story out of the bag and on to paper!

You’ve got it in the bag 😉

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