Sunday, January 9, 2011

the creative process

It’s an interesting thing, the creative process. Though there have been volumes written and countless documentaries made on the subject, it still remains a mystery to most. I’ve spent the better part of the past 30 years or so exploring my process while reading about and listening to artists, writers, musicians, poets, sculptors, animators, actors and even video game designers talk about their own explorations of this elusive concept. What I have realized is that the Creative Process can be summarized pretty efficiently in two simple words: Whatever Works. There is no right or wrong way to be creative, so long as creativity is achieved.

Right now, I find myself in very unfamiliar territory, but rather than feel that I am straying from the formula that has always worked best for me, I’m actually enjoying the process of tweaking my process and putting it through its paces. After all, it was the creative process I know and understand that got me to the place I’m in now. As I’ve said before, I’ve been letting the citizens of Otherwhen talk about themselves and their surroundings for close to a decade; transcribing their adventures as I go, much like a musician writing down the music he hears in his head. Now I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I’m taking those individual orchestrations and rearranging them, full knowing what the outcome will be, and creating a more cohesive whole with an overarching beginning, middle and end. To continue the metaphor, it’s a bit like creating a concept album and I am loving it!

In fact, I’ve been plugging right along over the last few days and have now mapped out the entire book, scene-by-scene, and twist-by-twist. In the process, I’ve discovered a few discrepancies (easily fixed), a dead-end or two (backtracked and rerouted) and the need to explore and probably rewrite the motivations of a few of the existing characters. Sounds tedious and it is, but I’m still high on the possibilities and very much undaunted by the challenge. I’ll be hitting it again HARD first thing in the morning. There are a few elements I’d like to introduce and a scene or two in need of fleshing out. Just part of the process and one I’m looking forward to exploring further.

Meanwhile, here’s one of the stories from my new anthology, Dimensions Of Desire, entitled The Hero Trap. It comes courtesy of the Sizzler Editions Blog and my illustrious editor, M. Christian, without whom any of this would be possible. Not because I couldn’t have done it without him, but because I wasn’t doing it at all, until he introduced the means to do so and made me believe that the time was right. And isn’t that, in the end, what being a good editor is all about?

”You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~ Ray Bradbury

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