Friday, December 26, 2014

Creativity rate

Michael W. Davis

You would think that stories are created at a linear rate. Say you write a chapter a week. Then ten chapters takes ten weeks, twenty takes twenty weeks, etc., right? Not for me. It varies significantly. Just finished a 50K novella sequel to my book Distant Obsessions, in seven weeks. That’s about 7000 words a week. On the other end of the spectrum, my novel Home World (90K words) took two years. Heck of a range, isn’t it.

Why such variance? Several factors come into play. Have I been storing the chapters in my brain start to finish or am I creating on the fly? Is my muse in a working mood or is she burned out? Is the topic something that requires a lot of research or is it a topic I’m totally familiar with. Yet, the primary driver is how I relate to a store. If the storyline really grabs me, where every page brings new revelations, where I’m enraptured by the possibility of unseen endings and surprise “OMG” events, even for me the writer, then the words burn across the key board.

Case in point, my sequel to Distant Obsession. The theme related to something I, like many did in their youth when hormones pump up on first love, when our libidos dominate and we think “this one is the one” forever. I’ll do a story behind the story when it’s released, but for now, it was a topic most, at least once in their life, can relate to. I took that theme and twisted it to new possibilities of what might happen with young love and the story exploded inside my skull. I just couldn’t stop. To the expense of all other things I was locked at the screen day in, day out. Fact that we were snowed in for a week, I had some medical issues that grounded me, and the 5 degree weather prevented me from working outside, I sat in that chair so long my back became sore.

Usually takes about ten to fifteen passes through the draft before I get that “just right, it’s done” sentiment. This one only required two passes. Now what? After that rapid dip into fiction world, things seem anti climatic. Like the last winds of the gale have subsided and I’m sitting here dumb founded trying to figure what comes next. Oh well, fun while it lasted.


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I can relate. I was on vacation on St Kitts, in the middle of winter, sitting above the pool at a picnic table outside our room. While my husband scuba dived, I wrote 1700 words in one sitting for a love scene, also a memory-research. It needed practically no editing in that section.

One might say, By Love Possessed, instead of The World, the Flesh and the Devil! Circa 2003.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Then there are those like the one I'm working now where I write about 500 words a day. Just can't get my muse into it.


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Mike, your muse is "not amused"? Maybe her name is Queen Victoria. Although they say she denied ever saying it.