A weekly feature where I delve into famous writer’s words of wisdom and share how I have interpreted the meaning for my own creative endeavors!
There was a time in my life when I thought that I was more of an “idea” person then a “details” person. That I wouldn’t be able to write for the ideas that I had, that I wouldn’t be able to connect point A to point b in any kind of manner. I was more of a storyboarder then deep dive creative.
Can you imagine…because I certainly can’t!
This doesn’t sound anything like me or my style nowadays! I mean I don’t even use your typical storyboard, I much more of a synchronistic – intuitive sort, but Ill chalk that is judgment up to youth, siblings telling me who I was and what I couldn’t, and my stubborn refusal to follow any kind of pattern or per-established path…I mean that and the way that life tends to make it so that everything you said that you’d never or couldn’t or wouldn’t becomes exactly what you do, did, and are going to, but that’s a whole other topic all together!
Onward and upward!
I’ve often wondered how many projects is too many for a writer to be working on at any given time, the jury’s still out on the answer – but the focus groups are in the works!
Even if you have five things going on there are more ideas to follow, it can be hard to have a constantly churning idea machine attached to your perception. Literally everything becomes a source, a spark, and a something that then generates visions of story dancing in one’s head.
I see characters, I can even start to form them, to play with them a bit. Sometimes its just good fun, other times something else connects, as though the character was there just waiting under the surface of impulse, waiting for the perfect moment to be born!
But how do you tell the difference between playful and meant to be? That’s where JJ Abram’s advice comes in to play:
“I try to push ideas away, and the ones that will not leave me alone are the one’s that ultimately end up happening.”
At the end of the day you’ve got to be master of your domain. If I wasn’t I’d probably be locked up by now – I got so many characters and personalities bouncing around in this brain and frame of mine already, can you imagine if I let just any roam?!?
So what I’ll do is write it down, I have a notebook just for such a purpose. I’ll put down any little detail that’s playing through my head, this could be lines, descriptions, places, facts – if based off something that sparked the idea in the first place, thank you very much Mysteries at the Museum! – I’ll put it down then I’ll close it. I’ll move on back to the task at current hand.
Some I never really think of again, they were more just in the moment “hey you know what would be a great idea” “You know what they should do” type of flexing your creative muscles in that conversational way, – the yeah I have bomb ideas like this everyday way that I know we all do! – only your not really that married to the horror genre or whatever and you only ever reconnect when in-between projects and looking for a new starting point or are looking for a dinner party killer icebreaker moment…however, there are others that simply will not abate.
Hell my trilogy was an idea I had that turned into a few chapters of an underdeveloped short story that I left sitting for more than a year until one day during a creative slump after months of screenwriting, editing and revision was suddenly at an end I reread what I had and was excited to see where it was going, so I played with it. I just used it as an exercise in creative writing, in a playful free flow. I just went with it and look at me now! Not only do I have one book but three! Three! When I said I could never even be an author! – See how that came back around? 😉
Not only to they keep itching my imagination but they begin to grow as well. Characters become there own people in my head, dynamics begin to take form, their worlds begin to take shape, until it feels as real as my own.
I have a WWI story that was sparked with the fascination in the time, from there I began to research and struck upon a little acknowledged part of that history. Suddenly I was there, so I played with it and began to develop it further, but other things came up, other projects took priority – *cough* book *cough* – I still have chapters, scenes, both for screen and novel format and every time I revisit the I fall deeper in love with that world and the characters. I know that I will write this one day because it’s already so real to me. They are in me and they need to be told. They will not leave me alone!
That’s when you know you have something worth taking your time with.
Because magic is creation and when they wont leave you alone you that’s when you know you have given birth to something with a mind of its own that’s just looking for you to help it grow to maturing, give it legs as well as life.
So play, watch, observe and engage with your ideas then let them go, finish the task at hand, don’t force yourself to commit to something just because its a great idea because nothing will be truly great unless it has a heart and that begins and ends with your own.
Play hard to get, build that tension, that longing, let your ideas chase you so that the sparks really fly when you finally, perfectly, and ever so syncronistically connect and make magic together!