Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Creation Process

Over on the Witchy Chicks we were discussing the creation process each of us uses. This was a post in which I was supposed to sound very author-ish, very cool and in control as I intelligently discussed Creation, that strange, otherworldly state that occurs when I sit down at the computer and begin to write. How I create what I do, tools and techniques, how do I keep everything straight in my head.

The truth is . . .

The truth is, tools and techniques and bibles sound just a little too hardcore for little ol' fly-into-the-mist me. They're the kinds of things I should be doing but can't bring myself to put much effort into. I don't know why. I'm funny that way, I guess. Maybe because so much of it hasn't been put into words yet, because it's all still stewing away in that mysterious cauldron of creation, waiting for its turn to boil . . . and trying to find words for it before it's ready would be kind of like tasting a recipe before all the ingredients are in there. It just doesn't do it justice.

I'm a seat of the pants writer. When I sit down to write a new project, I develop a very generalized plan for what's going to happen. I know which main characters are going to be involved. I know who the victim will be, and his or her relationships with the people in their lives. I know how my Maggie will come to be involved. I know a few of the scenes that will need to be there to carry on the series arc due to what happened in the last book. I choose a point in Maggie's life to open things, and I allow her and her friends and relatives to guide me, and--voila--creation happens. Beyond that, though, it's all very nebulous and hazy and requires a great deal of trust from me.

Trust. I'm very big on it.

I have faith that the characters will come through for me. I have faith that the magic will happen. And because I have faith, it always does. I close my eyes, I take that leap of faith. The bridge always appears beneath my feet. Sometimes it appears a step at a time, sometimes I see a dozen feet at a time, but I'm always given a briefest glimpse of the entire blessed thing as reassurance that I'll be able to walk the walk when the time comes.

This process has never failed me, and I don't expect that it ever will.

What I do keep in a file is a list of characters and the books they first appear in, the briefest of descriptions and major character issues; a list of establishments Maggie has frequented, and their general location in town; and a huge number of pictures that "speak" to me with their imagery. I'm big on imagery and atmosphere, because they appeal on a subconscious level and lend a bit of creative magic to the mystical dreamworld going on somewhere in my brain.

Creation really is an interesting process, isn't it? One would think that, since the end result is the same, the process itself must also be the same, but I've found that it's very different from author to author to author. Flying into the mist is not for the faint of heart, and it's not for anyone who must control every aspect of everything at all times, but it works for me, and that's all that matters.

Love to all,

Mad {madly!} ... and now that label probably makes sense, heh ;>

P.S. The Find function {Control-F} is my best friend :) :)

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