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The Creative Process: Revisited

I was recently trying to come up with a blog topic, so I asked my Facebook followers, and this was the question they came up with:

During your creative process, do you like to compose at the computer or do you use pen/pencil on paper?
Do you chart out a timeline of a story or is time and storyline fluid?

The answer is....both!

First things first, all of my current published works have been written on a computer. I learned a long time ago that no matter how much I love pen and paper, it doesn't work for me being a "serious" writer. I love my words too much! I have a novel, and also a novella, written on paper. Every time I needed to change something I couldn't bring myself to throw the old pages away. The result was bulging binders! And also re-thinking every change of words until I gave up! Those works will never see the light of day, they're like patchwork quilts reflecting different phases of my writing career. In other words, parts of them sound terrific (the parts I wrote later in the process) and other parts sound amateurish. I keep them for myself, but even I don't read them anymore ;)

The King's Tale

The King's Tale was all written on a computer, and it had no road map! Granted, as I got ideas to expand what was originally a short story, I wrote them with pen into a notebook. As a writer I don't think I could survive without a notebook and a big pouch of pens and pencils.

At first the notes were jumbled, just how I picture a messy writer's desk would be. I don't have my own office, so I tend to keep my writer's space fairly neat (it's in my bedroom). I let that wild messy creativeness fly out in my notebooks.

And then I attempted to make my notes neater with a new notebook, colored pens, highlighters, and little post-it note tabs.


The King's Heart had a road map, carefully laid out in the new, neat journal.

[Pause here for writer's introspection...the second book was not as widely "well received" as the first book. Did the planning botch the creativity? Did it seem too structured or formulaic? Actually...what I really think hurt the second book was the removal of a key scene, one I'd pretty much built the entire book around.]

Blue Moon, and the upcoming sequel Red Sunset were both hybrids. IE: a combination of planning, and letting the stories flow out. Blue Moon also started as a short story, but I was inspired by the characters, and as new ideas for them came along I extended the story to include them all. Much like The King's Tale, I jotted the notes in a notebook (the messy one ;) and then when I had time I wove them all together.

For Red Sunset, I had the kernel of an idea, and expanded the story around that idea. I have an inkling of an idea to write a third sequel (Purple Dawn), but as of right now I haven't even written down the notes.

So, getting back to the original questions...sometimes I sit down and let the story take on a life of its own, and other times I try to plan it out ahead of time. I'm happiest when the story just flows along of its own accord though.