Layering: The goal of layering in writing is to take unrelated elements and bring them together in a single piece of writing.
“Layering means that we’re weaving in different elements of our story, characters, writing craft, etc. Some writers even start with just one element—such as writing their whole story just as dialogue—and then layer in everything else once they have the shape of the story.” — Jami Gold
Ideas to add layering in your writing.
Start with lists:
List #1: Some facts about yourself or your fictional character
List#2: Favorite food or music
List #3: Favorite movies or TV shows
List #4: Philosophical sayings
List #5: A type of clothing or furniture
Freewrite: #1: Using a word or phrase from each of the lists, spend a few minutes creating a piece of writing.
Freewrite #2, Layering: Add an outside event as a metaphor to echo the theme of your freewrite.
If you are writing about love, compare two people in love with two doves sitting on a wire.
Use the movie, “Love Story,” or the TV show, “Love Boat,” or a book one of the character picks up from the coffee table while waiting for the other person.
One of the characters could pick up something from a loveseat.
A pin in the shape of a heart could snag on a sweater.
If your theme is death, use an analogy from the game of chess.
You can use quotes to mirror the theme of your writing:
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” — “Love Story”
“Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awakeit’s everything except what it is!” — “Romeo and Juliet.”
Ideas to layer your writing:
Use something from nature: Land formations, flora, vistas, terrain, etc.
Something human-made: Buildings, dams, highways, art, transportation.
Use your imagination and create a memorable piece of writing by layering.
Examples of layering in writing:
Delicate as a Hummingbird’s Heart
Memory of a ‘giorno dei morti’ in Italy
Thanks to Becca Lawton for inspiring this prompt at Writers Sampler in 2009.