Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Using local settings as a spark to creativity.

Wrote half of the penultimate chapter yesterday, and plan to complete the chapter today. (I haven't been using the Title of the book on this blog, yet, because I'm not certain it will be the final title, but for what it's worth, the working title is: I'M ONLY HUMAN.)

This, after thinking about writing all day Saturday and Sunday. It seems like I think about writing for about one day for every day I actually write anything. (Not counting the vast majority of days when I neither think about nor write.)

I can't explain it. Sometimes, it's not even conscious. I just know I'm doing it. Sometimes I'm talking to myself, talking out ideas. Other times, it's further under the surface and I'm just getting glimmers of ideas.

Back in the days when I was writing full time, I had a Wishing Well metaphor in my head that I visualized, and if it was overflowing with water, or near the top, I was ready to write. If I sensed that it was depleted, I knew to avoid writing.

Anyway, mid-afternoon yesterday, I drove my car out the Badlands, and parked at a trailhead and started writing. I'm not sure why, but getting out into nature seems to help me write. Just driving the half hour to my location also helps. As does walking around.

After writing about 3 pages, I started back to Bend. Just the drive started giving me more ideas.

Since the second to the last scene I'm writing is set in the Old Mill district at twilight, I drove down there just as the sun was setting and wrote another 3 pages. I described the old trees that still exist in that part of town, I imagined my character walking over a footbridge and the river looking like a tidal pool at low tide and so on.

In other words, seeing the actual locations can really help spark the imagination.

Strangely enough, when I was writing heroic fantasy, almost all my settings were built upon Oregon terrain. If I had the protagonists climbing mountains, I went into the mountains. If I had them crossing deserts, I went out into the desert. If I had them following a river, I went to a river.

Back to the current effort:

Some of these later chapters are feeling a little sketchy.

In fact, "sketchy" is the right word for it.

Each chapter is like a preliminary sketch for a painting. Some are more detailed than others, some are more like guidelines.

Some probably stand on their own already, some are going to need a lot more work.

There is a fantasy artist I like, Royo, who also produces line-drawing sketchbooks of the same art he fully paints; and frankly, I prefer the sketches more often than not. It's like hearing a promo tape of a song and liking the early, simple version more than the completed song. (As you know, I've been listening to Daniel Johnston....)

But I know that isn't the way most readers want it -- so I'm going to need to go through these sketch chapters, one by one, and paint in the colors.

I'm glad to finish another book. It's been a long time. I really didn't have much doubt I could do it, but still....if feels good. I kept hearing others talk about writing, and it always gave me the itch, to prove "I can do that!"

Like I said yesterday, I'm going to continue the workmanlike approach for the second draft, and then go crazy on the last draft. I've warned Linda that if I get all obsessive like, I might be a little distant for a couple of months, not terribly available or responsive, so watch out.

Linda and I both write. We met in a writer's group. We give each other space to create.

Still, it's kind of a scary prospect. I'm even thinking of going on another writer's trip -- maybe not go quite so far, and maybe try to keep the expense down, but just go on a writing bender, a lost weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Go to Eugene get high, take notes and go home be creative.

Problem with Badlands is you don't have a designated driver :)