|Not the Author|
“Even when you’re not writing, you’re writing.”
Hmmm, looks at this week’s theme backwards and forwards, diagrams the sentence, searches for inspiration…
OK, here’s how it works for me, which is all I can speak to:
Writing, or telling stories, is as necessary to me as breathing is, and has been an integral part of my being since I can remember (wrote my first book at age 7). I have a vivid imagination.
|A Muse. Not the proper one for writing perhaps but I like her|
light hearted spirit
I’m very superstitious about my Muse and how she works (you may groan now if you’re a regular reader of this column and have seen me address this before!). If I think too much about a story, then my brain or my Muse or whoever/whatever is in charge up there in the Creativity Module says the story is done. Complete. No need to write that one down. And I NEVER will be able to.
I used to have a very long commute to the day job. I like to ponder plot issues while I’m driving, especially with loud music, BUT one day the commute took an extra long time, I told myself a fabulous Halloween type scifi tale – it was so good I got goose bumps! – and then…it was done. I never did write it down in any form at all. Just no creative push to transfer the story from my brain to the paper. I don’t even remember all the aspects of the story any more.
I’m not one of those authors who soaks up the people and places around me and puts them into my stories either. If we’re out for lunch or dinner I’m not also busily making notes of cute things people have said, or interesting real life vignettes to stick in my next novel. Doesn’t work for me. I can only remember a few times when I’ve drawn upon an actual life experience of my own to put into a book and that was chiefly atmospherics from climbing a pyramid in Mexico and another time the definite evil I felt emanating from a statue of the Aztec god of death. Or the general impressions from being surrounded by the marvels from King Tut’s tomb…but in all those cases, I waited years to pull on those experiences and add them to the plot mix.
On occasion a news story will trigger my imagination and I take off in a mental riff about it, or enlarge upon it, or grab one aspect to use in a novel.
Sometimes the first conscious thought in my head in the morning – even before “feed the cat” – will be the answer to a plot problem, or a neat twist for the current book I’m writing. Clearly the Muse/subconscious/creativity module has been working away overnight to come up with that. This is the only time I guess I could truthfully claim to be “writing when I wasn’t writing.” But I can’t take any credit for the achievement since I have no idea what triggers the serendipity and it doesn’t happen every night.
So I guess a part of me is always alert and pondering creatively, possibly synthesizing a lot of varied inputs that will hit the page when I do sit down to actually write, but it’s not necessarily a conscious process.
I do keep a huge folder of plot ideas, clippings, notes etc., for possible stories that came to me at odd moments but you know what? I almost never even open that file. It's a one way funnel. When it's time for me to write a new book, there's always a bright and shiny idea waiting and I can't wait to get to the keyboard to start telling the story.
And in case you somehow missed the new of GABE, my new release this week, plus I love these covers!