Who out there is interested in knowing what goes through a writer’s mind as they compose a story? Anybody?
Somewhere in between?
You who might be reading this now, at least?
Oh good! How embarrassing it would be if I was only talking to myself. I mean, I do it in the car all the time. I sing to myself there, too. But this is the internet. Self-talking is a little...sad.
So I’ll talk to you instead. One of you. Several of you. All of you.
Whatever it turns out to be.
I know I’ve always been interested in Creatives-with-a-capital-C in general and what their process is, their wildly different approaches to their craft and various versions of creativity and myriad sources of inspiration. Whenever I learn how someone else makes their magic, it informs the way I make mine, either by revealing new methods, or by energizing my creative spirit. I feel like maybe someone out there might be energized by knowing how another Creative does it. And I’m not using the blog for anything else, so...
Let’s give this a shot.
C’mon. I’ll be fun!
I’m at the running-to leap-off-right-in-mid-jump point of a new novel called Sleight of Handelman. It’s a magical realism tale for grown-ups about a boy with magical powers that reflect his emotional state, who grows into a young man with control over those powers, who turns into a professional illusionist, who loses all of his magic after a fierce betrayal and goes on a quest to find it again. It’s different from my other adult novels; kind of lyrical, kind of sweet and magically told, in a voice that sounds something like a ringmaster explaining everything, describing the magic tricks and the not-so-magic tricks of Sid Handelman and his colorful castmates. That may not make a lot of sense to you. I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense to me.
But I’m doing it anyway.
Because tryers try, darn it.
That’s another thing...the "darn it" part. This novel has absolutely no cursing, unlike just about every other adult novel I’ve written. I know, I know. I’m not sure how it’s going to work, either. My head is practically exploding keeping it all in check right now, and this is just a blog post. Imagine holding in all that glorious swearing for an entire novel. I’m sure I’ll be shi—er, I mean, terrible at it. But I’m going to try to do that, too.
Because tryers try.
Oh, wait...I already said that.
This won't be an instruction guide for How to Write a Novel. And I don’t intend for it to be a writer’s journal - not a chronicle of how much coffee I’ve had today, or how many words I’ve written, or what it’s like to get rejection letters from agents. I could be wrong about that, though. This could go thoroughly upside-down, and two weeks from now I'll just be reporting on my caffeine consumption and my word count and the importance of proper grammar.
Not that there's anything wrong with those.
I’m attempting to do more with this, though; to peel back the layers of what goes into the maker's process behind the story you’ll end up reading, from how Sid became a character with a tale to tell, to how scenes have developed, to how sequencing reveals itself (and sometimes has to re-reveal itself because I was looking out the window when it first appeared). Maybe I've heard a song that set me on a path of creating a new power for Sid to experiment with, or maybe I've seen a news story about ermines that made my wheels spin in that direction somehow. It's weird and wily stuff, this creativity. Especially when the ermines show up. But It’s worth a try, right?
Because tryers...well, crud.
We’ve been there twice now, haven’t we?
Blogging sure is hard.
It’s been two years since I last wrote anything new in long-form, and let me tell you, the gears are ruuuusty. But they’re starting to move again—hooray! So I’m thinking this will be a great way for me to reacquaint myself with my own creative writing process while also offering a peek into the head of a storyteller to anyone who wants to see—anyone who wonders how the trick is done. I live under the presumption that everyone is naturally creative and has ideas just bubbling out of their ears all day long. And I’ve been challenged on this many times, by people who wonder how in the world I come up with all of this stuff.
Well, I’ll show you how. Not so you can do it yourself, but so you can understand a little better how the river flows. I’ll try to, at least.
Maybe there’ll be a little coffee talk in this madness after all.