Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finding Direction in the Quagmire of Creative Thought

I've always rather thought the creative process was similar to navigating your way through a swamp on a cloudy night with a compass that points in every direction except the one you need. Maybe I'm being optimistic...
I believe the philosophical viewpoint I am trying to make here is: beginning a story is sometimes easy, figuring out which direction you want to go after the beginning is a bit tricky. Thats my philosophical viewpoint anyway, I know for some people the beginning is the most bloody difficult part. For me I can always start a story, but then I have to figure out what story I'm setting out to tell.
Happily, I think I am beginning to find a direction for the Blue Zone. Now I just need to be careful I don't go off the scale and create the even more treacherous quagmire of over-complex plotlines. I would prefer the Blue Zone to be a stand alone single novel, not an epic. But I tend to think in trilogies. If I have a set of characters I love, I just want to keep spinning their world. Which has its ups and its downs. Still, I want the Blue Zone to be a singular work, I'm not setting out to write a trilogy, I don't want to create a plot line so complicated it needs a trilogy just to make sense out of it. I think I can find a coherent and satisfying storyline which will conclude hopefully gracefully at the end of the novel, but mostly I want an attainable goal. The problem with thinking in trilogies is I can't often envision the end.

1 comment:

Karen Romano Young said...

Good plan. Editors view trilogies as the kiss of death. The ones that get written happen because of good response to the first, stand-alone book. You are right to shoot for an independent, free-standing, singular novel. Once you have written this, it may be hard to give up the characters and the setting you have created, and you may long for the roads not yet traveled within this framework; it can seem simpler and may even seem to be your destiny. But it is not always advisable! Sometimes you should take that energy and go off somewhere different.

As for metaphors about the creative process, I like E.L. Doctorow's thought that writing fiction is like driving in the dark -- you can see ahead only as far as the headlights, but you can get all the way home that way.

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