Thursday, September 15, 2011
Writing DNA #1
For me it's fall. Knowing that cooler temperatures are on their way, and with them, the desire to stay inside and drink hot beverages is keeping me at the computer focused on my WIP. While the change of seasons isn't affecting the content of my writing, it's just inspiring me, period. After a long, super-hot summer, there's a renewed sense of energy, and the back-to-school time of year always makes me want to buckle down and get serious.
Music is the one thing that inspires me most, and it always goes hand-in-hand with my creative process. When I am kicking around a novel in my head, I start gathering songs that remind me of the characters or the setting or the plot - even the tone and pacing. It can be in the lyrics or the rhythm, but something in each song attaches to something in my plot. As I begin writing, I am constantly adding to the songs and rearranging them in a playlist that parellels my plot. This playlist becomes a tool for me. I listen to it before I start writing each day to get back into the story, or when I get stuck and need to figure some plot point out.
Lamar "L.R." Giles:
I live by a really great bookstore and when I need inspiration I like to go and walk the aisles. It's something about the smell of all that paper, and the way the light gleams off glossy dust jackets that gets me really geared up. Usually I'll find something new to read, but the atmosphere just does something for me. It's like the feeling of coming home.
Whenever I'm gearing up for a new project, or stuck in the middle of an ongoing one, I like to look at a postcard I have had over my desk for a decade. "Giacomond," by Quint Buchholz, shows a surreal image of a man walking on a tightrope from the edge of his roof toward a distant full moon. He's holding the end of the tightrope over his head and laying it out as he walks. This image always makes me think of how writing can feel precarious, even impossible, but it can be done calmly, one step at a time. I also love the confidence of the tightrope walker here. He seems strangely in control. This reminds me of how I want to use a voice of authority when I write, even when I'm feeling my way through the dark.