It’s been a few weeks now since the last installment in my series of posts on ideas. And there’s a reason for that. I left off after my post on Blindsides, Gaps, and Spinoffs, a post in which I promised that the next time I wrote about ideas, I would tackle “The Quest,” the process of forcing new ideas when you have none for your next project.
So here I am, faced with writing that promised post. And the truth is, I have no earthly idea of where my ideas come from, much less how to force new ideas to enter my brain. As I said in the first post of this series, “Ideas are funny things. They come from everywhere. They come unbidden, and will absolutely refuse to come if I TRY to force them.” Given that I wrote that in part I, I really have some nerve [...]
Continue reading On Creativity and Writing: Making the Most of Ideas, part V — The Quest
For the past several weeks, I have been writing about ideas — what we do with them, the fears they can elicit, ways in which they remain original even when they are similar to the ideas of other writers.
Today, I would like to talk about the timing of ideas, and how I go about making the most of them no matter when they crop up.
1. The Blindside: We’ve all had this one, right? Sometimes while working on one project we are blindsided by another idea for a completely separate project. We don’t particularly welcome the idea at that point; in fact the ideas that come to us under these circumstances can be a total pain in the butt. A case in point: Early in 1999 I was writing the third and final book of my first series, the LonTobyn Chronicle. I was, at that point, somewhat sick of [...]
Continue reading On Creativity and Writing: Making the Most of Ideas, part IV — Blindsides, Gaps, and Spinoffs
I was thinking last night, lying in bed, waiting for sleep to claim me, about continuing items, events, relationships, and things (props) in series as a part of world-building. I’m not talking about the overreaching plot arcs: the serial killer who taunts the hero for multiple books until the hero finally tracks him down, or the killer kidnaps the hero’s boyfriend (Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta); the temptation of a dark coin tied to a fallen angel buried under the floor of a basement (Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden); the quirks and fears of a superior investigator that keep him tied to his grief (Monk). Not those kinds of plot arcs. I’m talking about the life-style-arcs that give immediacy to a character, and that make the reader feel like he knows the character personally, an old and valued friend. These are important to a writer, as way of creating reader relationships with [...]
Continue reading Writing Series for Immediacy: Life-Arcs and Props