But to take a Polaroid picture, the writer first needs something to take a picture of. This is the character, and how the writer visualizes that character determines how their picture will develop. Lamott thinks of each character as having an acre of land where they can plant their life, the “emotional acre”. Visualizing what the character does on their acre, getting a feel for what it looks like, can help tell the writer what to take the picture of. What plants are they growing? Do they tend it well? Is there junk or is it neatly kept? This is what a writer needs to think about when developing the lives of the people in that Polaroid.

Anson’s ideas on process continue to pop up as the chapter goes on. The emphasis on telling is constant throughout Lamott’s work. The “emotional acre” for the characters developing in the “Polaroid” viewed within the “one-inch frame” are all metaphors of Lamott’s process, and it is a process built around narrative.


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