So, how does my creative process work? To be honest, it is pretty haphazard.
I usually get one piece of the puzzle – an idea for a character, or a scene from a story, or sometimes just a name or a title. I tend to write all these down for when I get more time to think about them later. I’ve got notebooks of this stuff. All these things just sit in the back of my brain, percolating until they are ready.
Some ideas I keep going back to and I put in some development time on them. I try to flesh out the idea and add to it. I’ll write out character backgrounds, or details about the setting. Eventually something falls into place and I’ll start working on the story itself.
Most times when I work on the story, it changes and ends up very different from what I originally envisioned. Funny how that turns out. I sometimes feel like my intended stories don’t matter at all and the story is going to write itself however it feels like being written.
Many time I’ll get started on a story and it will stall. I’ll hit a point where the ideas just don’t flow. My current project, which I’m calling Project A because I haven’t come up with a title for it yet, is one of those. I got the idea for what I wanted to do, lined up the characters, outlined the setting, had several clear scenes in my head. I sat down and started writing and things were going well. Then I hit a point in the story where I was finding it boring. I didn’t know how to get the story moving along to the end.
Then, Project B jumped into my head. It was originally just a short story, more like a scene or two from a short story. I wrote it down and intended to find a market for it. I hadn’t planned on doing anything else with it. But when I finished writing it I looked it over and thought “There is more to this story. This is just part of a larger work.”
I took it to the Writers Guild, read it for critique, and most of the group agreed – this was the opening of a novel. Well, that’s great and all, but I didn’t know what to do with it or how to move forward. Remember all those notes I keep about story ideas, etc, percolating in the back of my brain? Well, another scene from what I thought was an unrelated story jumped up and said “Hey! look at me!” This might be the ending to the story I read at the Guild. I don’t exactly know how to connect the two but I think I’ve got a beginning and an ending to a novel. Since that happened, I’ve had back stories on characters fill in, gotten many details of the setting worked out, started planning out how I can get from the first story to the ending scene, and mostly been on a creative roll with this one.
A third idea I had for another story has rallied and placed itself further along the historical timeline of Project B. So, potentially I’ve got several books in a series in this. The work that is Project B will come first, then some as yet undetermined second story, then the third story idea will make up the final ( or next maybe?) book in the overall plot.
I’ll get back to Project A but I’m going to run with Project B for as long as the creative burst lasts. Then I’ll keep running with it until I can get the first draft done. I’m actually going to try and outline the whole tale before getting too far into the writing. Usually I just sort of start writing and see where it goes but I think this one is going to need some more planning before I can do it justice.