The Creative “Writing” Process (1 of 4)

If you read my post last week you already know that I’m going to be away for 3-weeks after this week.  The trouble I’m facing is I don’t know if I will have easy access to Internet or not.What to do?  Definitely a conundrum.  Do I take my chances and hope that I have both connectivity and time to write something each week or do I pre-write articles for each week?  There are problems with both, obviously.Waiting and writing something new each week is the biggest risk, in my mind.  Having time and connectivity that coincide is unlikely at best.  It does have the advantage that I will have something timely to write about. On the other hand, prewriting means that my articles will definitely be ready.  There are two disadvantages, however: (1) I usually don’t come up with the idea until just before I write, so I’ll have to actually do some real planning (heaven forbid) and; (2) I run the risk that Sean will decide to have a writing theme week.  The second risk has actually caught me once before… I knew I’d be away so I prewrote the article (on Sunday) only to find that Sean had set a theme on the Monday.

It wasn’t a complete disaster, but I felt a bit silly being the only one out of step.

There are actually two other options that I’ve already thrown out:  (1) see what happens and likely miss posting or; (2) just throw something I’ve already written (short story or chapters from a book) up and call it good.  Let’s just say that for various reasons I’ve considered and discarded both options.

So, what’s it going to be?  Well since I am NOT taking any sort of computing equipment with me on my holidays (believe it or not), I am going to pre-write all my articles.

So don’t be surprised if/when they don’t suit a particular theme should Sean set one.

To that end, I’m going to try something a bit different from what I’ve done before.  I thought it might be interesting if I tackled a bigger subject and do it as a series of articles.  If the rest of the crew should decide to weigh with their two cents, so much the better.

The topic I’ve chosen to write about this week and for the next 3 is “The Creative Process” (hence the title).  I thought I would go through my own creative processes and perhaps build something before your very eyes.  I also invite you to participate as we go along.  I’d love to hear about/see what you’ve done too.

It should be fun.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Part I – Getting Started

They say that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.  Anyone who has ever written anything would probably agree that this applied equally well to writing.

When I’m writing something, I usually start in one of two ways:

  • With a story idea; or
  • With characters.

In my mind, both are equally valid.  You may have this fantastic story idea that’s just begging to be written about, or you may have a character or characters whose voices are clamoring to be heard.  I’ve done it both ways.

For this particular exercise, I will be starting with a story idea for a novel.  But before I do that, I want to narrow my field a wee bit.  I’m going to decide what genre I’m going to be writing in first and the type of story I’m going to be writing.

For most of us, this will come quite naturally.  We will be most drawn to one or two different genres; typically the ones we read (and enjoy) the most.  For me, that would be one of two:  Science Fiction and Fantasy.  The type of story will be a novel.

Let’s go with Science Fiction, specifically Sci-Fi for adults.  I chose adults because that helps me determine the approximate length of the book (80,000 – 120,000 words).  I know this because I have researched what most Sci-Fi publishers want for book length.  You may argue that the book will be as long as it needs to be and I would agree with you, however, if you have any ambition to have the book published, consider the marketplace first.

The decisions I’ve already made will have a lot of consequences for the story I’m planning (you will notice I haven’t even got a story idea yet).  How many chapters, where to put major plot points and how many I might need to carry the story.  All of these things are somewhat pre-ordained.

Part II – The Idea

OK, I’ve already spent a lot of time talking about the mechanics of the story.  What about the story itself?  (looks out the windows of the truck)  Did I mention that we’re driving home right now?  No?  Well, we’re driving home right now (have I mentioned that I LOVE technology, and no, I’m not the one driving while I type; I’m good, but I’m not that good) and I see that we are driving through the badlands nearing Drumheller.

So, how about the major plot point being about some amateur paleontologists/archeologists discovering a strange artifact/building/ship?  What it is exactly can be decided when I figure out who my characters are.

Let’s stop there for this week.  You should now know what genre you’re going to be writing in, how long the story will be and what the main story idea is.  For next week, I’d like you to consider the other elements of the story:

  • Characters;
  • Setting;
  • Conflict;
  • Plot points;
  • Supporting characters; and
  • Resolution.

There are probably several things I’ve neglected here, but this will get us ready to move forward.  See you next week for the next installment.



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