As you can see from my sites (both the Author Site and Whispers of the Muse), I write … a lot. My tastes are eclectic and I work in several genres. Literary, urban fantasy, fantasy, mainstream fiction, erotica … and yes, I’m even writing a cookbook.
Pulitzer Prize Winning biographer, Carl Van Doren once said, “It’s hard to write, but it’s harder not to.” I can completely identify. My twitterdeck often pops up with a writer questioning: Where do you start? The chicken or the egg? The plot or the character?
My answer to that is simple. Respect the muse, first and foremost. What’s she telling me? What’s she showing me? Is it a fantasy world or the Los Angeles Union Station? Is the place peopled or not? From there I usually start with a simple ‘what if?’ and the ball really starts rolling. But, for me at least, that’s never quite enough.
See, there are critics living inside my head, under my pillow, and snuggled between the sliced of whole wheat bread in the fridge. They slither out and mock me constantly. So I’ve adopted a suit of armor against them specifically for this stage of the creative process. I just shout out my weapon, loud and clear so that even the neighbors can hear (of course they already know I’m strange). My armor has only two words accompanied by stomping feet. “Why not?”
I’m not sure of the strength or strain of other writer’s inner critics, but mine seem to simply shut the hell up when I bellow that question. They know I’ll win. Creativity requires more than great imagination. It must also have wonderful rebuttals and mine are golden.
I hate a story that is solely plot and/or character driven. Those, to me are the luscious, all important icing on the cake. If I don’t have a severe twist to my basic concept, I lose interest quickly. As a reader I’m the same. Wow me, or warn me I won’t need a sleep aid tonight. Knock my socks off and make me wonder why no one ever thought of it quite that way before.
Huh … is there a support group for this sort of thing?