Thursday, September 23, 2010

Paging the Creative Process

Sometimes I forget how much fun the start of the creative process can be. I've gathered up the notes and jots I had for the next book. As you might recall, I'm planning two different books that deal with the same subject matter. However, one is meant to be frightening and the other not so much. I don't want to call it an outright comedy, since I don't see overt humor as part of it. I had thought it would be difficult to sort which bits to use for which tale. But no, it seems I had been organizing the files that way all along. (Obviously it's been a little while since I jotted anything down for either one.) There is one snippet from the "scary" ideas that I think I'll be using for this book rather than the other, though. It just doesn't have the fright vibe.

Otherwise, I've been poring through my book of names... and I think I found that character's name I've been looking for and thought I might have had before. I'd also been hunting around the internet, doing a little preliminary research on what has been done already in this vein... and that of course led to another page or set of goodies to peruse. The ideas are bouncing around in my head and starting to multiply. No, I don't have a clear picture of the entire tale, yet. It's a lot of fun to watch a story grow.

It's also amazing to me that not every novel comes to me in the same way. This one, for instance, I have the general idea that I'm adding to and "listening" for more from the characters. But as for exactly where it’s going and what the characters want...? [None of them have been all too vocal.] But that's another way that it happens. For What If It's a Trick Question? the main character Jeremy would not shut up. I had to write an outline in paragraphs just to keep up with him and the whole story. Other stories have "tentpoles" to them, including the beginning, middle and ending and I just have to fill in the rest.

Of course, with any of these “methods” there’s always a curve ball or some part of the story that’s “missing.” In these instances, I kind of roll with the changes or let the details work out as I go. Usually the characters will come and help me -- after all, it’s their story, they lived it, they would know. And that’s the part I think I enjoy the most... the sudden and unexpected discoveries along the way. It’s the closest I can come to experiencing one of my own books unfettered by knowing what happens.

So I’ll just keep looking into the subject material, making discoveries, sorting and hammering out and listening for the characters and soon enough I’ll not be able to keep the words off the page. At least that’s the general idea...

...and how happy will I be when the title of the book is known to me?  I've only written one book that I had no idea of the title until 3/4 of the way through writing it, and that's Jeremy's story.  Midnight Chaser had a switch in title, but only by a word cut and flip of words.  Somehow I prefer knowing what a book is called as I write it. 

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