Monday, July 26, 2010

Brain on Vacation

It must be a summer thing.  I had a few bursts of inspiration, but I'm having a tough time with consistency.  I want to write an entry every night, just to "keep my chops," but my brain doesn't always want to comply.

My faithful reader has posed an insightful question that has gotten me thinking.  I hope it hasn't slowed my creative flow, but it certainly started more wheels turning.  Those wheels are raising questions, some of which can be easily answered, and some that have me scratching my head.

I can find classes to improve my writing easily enough.  I'm sure I can find plenty of classes that I can take from the comfort of my couch (aka "The Vortex"), while drinking a nice glass of Chardonnay.  I don't think you can do that (the Chardonnay part) if you take a class in a building at a real place, but I digress...

The questions that have me scratching my head have less to do with the craft of writing, and more to do with the creative process.  If these are "well, DUH!" questions, I apologize.  I never took a creative writing class in college, nor do I know anyone who writes fiction for a living, so I don't know any professionals I can approach.

Regarding the creative process,
  • Do most ideas come in dreams?  Are they sparked by a real event, or by an existing work (book, movie, TV show, etc.)?  How do you know if you've hit on an idea worth pursuing?  Do you know?
  • When you get an idea, what is it, usually? The climax? The conflict?  One scene?
  • Say you've got this small kernel of an idea.  How do you massage it into something worth writing?
  • When writing fiction, how much of that world have you fleshed out?  Can you picture every physical aspect of your characters as if they were real people?  What about the setting?  With how much detail?  If you're writing from the perspective of one character, while you know their motivations, do you know what the other characters are thinking?  In essence, do you need to play the all-knowing God to the universe you've created?
  • Regarding the above, what if you don't know all of the answers?  As the author, are you expected to hold a Ph.D. in your story, and can defend any questions about it that might be posed to you?  Or does it not matter, as long as the story makes sense?
Here are some of my... whatever.  Fears, hesitations, questions:
  • I have a lot of experience writing non-fiction, and am curious to try writing fiction.  My biggest fear is coming up with a worthwhile plot.  I can write great, full-bodied character sketches, describe setting and action within scenes, but I never felt confident creating a plot that had a conflict or climax that was compelling.
  • I have a lot to say, but how do I know whether other people will give a crap about it?
  • Is it a matter of who I know, or how persistent I am?
  • I feel like I'm a bit old to be trying to break into (yet) another field in which I have no real world experience, yet I think I could really excel once I find my niche.
  • This might come as a complete shock - SHOCK! - to some, but I have been described as "verbose" (yeah, the results from that standardized test back in third grade stuck)
I guess I had more to say than I thought I did.  But I seem to think in bullet points... I don't think editors give final approval to pieces written entirely in bullet points...

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