Right brain + left brain = magic

Everyone’s perception of the direct process of creativity is going to be unique to them. I experience it in terms of two halves working together – right brain and left brain, for lack of any terminology that works better.

The story itself, the content, often feels like it comes from outside of me; I’m just watching the events, writing them down as rapidly as my hand can move. Characters and setting are there, waiting for me to tap into them, and once I tune in properly, the characters go ahead and do their thing. Friends have many times heard me muttering dire curses on a character who simply refuses to do what I would prefer that they do. The pure raw material comes from the creative and holistic right side of my brain, which immerses itself in the emotions and experiences and sees the story as a unified whole.

That’s wonderful, and intoxicating, and that side has strengthened over a lifetime of encouragement although it was pretty vivid even as a child. Maybe it just never had the chance to curl up and go dormant. However, it isn’t enough to make a writer. Continue reading

Commercial publishing or staying indie

I’ve been told, and not always by people who could be expected to be rather biased in my favour, that the novels I write are on a par with what’s available commercially – works that were actually picked by an editor from a publishing house as being something they want to offer.

At one point, I did try to get my two earlier novels published. It was a half-hearted attempt, I admit, so it isn’t much surprise that not much came of it. One editor of a small publishing house was very interested in one, but due to I believe the economy and a conflict between the partners, it collapsed before that got far. I was disappointed, I admit. I actually preferred the idea of a smaller publisher than a big one where I’d be just one more new writer of that season’s lineup.

However, I finally concluded, and not as a matter of “Fine, I didn’t want to anyway” sour grapes, that it was just as well. Continue reading

Urban Fantasy vs Other-World Fantasy

Creating a world, if you do it right, is time-consuming work, but can be extremely rewarding. On the other hand, urban fantasy has a lot going for it–despite being a bit disorienting for some readers when they encounter it for the first time.

In some ways, it’s easier. You can take descriptive short-cuts. If you mention a silver mini-van, your readers are going to visualize it without needing extensive details. Characters can drop by the fridge for a drink, or the hospital emergency room for a crisis. When you’re using a setting in another world, you’re going to have to provide considerably more detail about the vehicle used–what’s powering it, how many wheels, covered or not–or the food storage facilities or the emergency medical services available. The more inventive you are with your world (and being inventive is, as far as I’m concerned, a good thing), the more you may need to describe.

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Introductions

There are millions of blogs already in existence, does the world really need another one? No, probably not, but that doesn’t stop anyone else! So why not?

What’s this one about? Very simply, it’s about writing. More specifically, writing novel-length fantasy. It isn’t about getting published by a “real publisher”. Nor is it about grammar and fine points of style (though I can’t promise there will never be a post touching on it). It’s about the creative part of the process, when you actually sit down and tell a story, and about the editing process, when you look at the raw material and decide what to do with it.

What authority can I claim for anything I say? None. Nor do I want any. Writing is a creative process that has no right or wrong as far as the process or the end result. Whether what you have in the end has commercial potential is another matter altogether, as is whether it’s going to be of any interest to any readers you manage to find. Nonetheless, if you’re happy with the result of your efforts, that’s enough reason to do it. Possibly, then, the answer to the question isn’t “none,” it’s, “the best,” because what I’m going to talk about is how it works for me personally, a subject on which I’m the one and only true expert, and not how it works for you, which honestly I know nothing about. Maybe what works for me will be some inspiration or some help to someone else; maybe it will give a few non-writers some insight into the process. Or, maybe, this will be of no interest to anyone except a few of my friends, which would also be okay. Continue reading