7 September 2012, Development - Learning Creativity
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
Creativity is work and not an act of divine providence, random fate, or abstract accident. Creativity is hard work that is equal to the effort expended on it. If you wish to write (or be creative in any way): study, put lots of effort into it, and work hard at it.
The question then is how do you work at creativity? I think there are three parts to creativity: inherent creativity, learned creativity, and fostered creativity.
Creativity is as much about knowledge and learning as it is about inherent capability. I have met many Oxford trained gentlemen from the earlier generations of educated Britons. These men all were articulate, erudite, and entertaining. They all spoke with an Oxford accent as well. They all came from relatively different walks in life. They were all of different status--at least when they were young. They were all generally engineers and test pilots (my profession). What made them a cut above most of their compatriots in terms of their speaking skills?
Let me describe their speaking skills--that's my point, after all. When they spoke, they did so with absolute confidence and comfort that both appealed to their audience and begged you to listen. Their topics were well chosen and appropriately covered. What made their presentations unique was their humor and their presentation. They could entertain a crowd for an hour without the need of pictures, slides, or any other props. Their presentations were always peppered with off the cuff statements and jokes. Literally their prepared notes and their "off the cuff" statements were completely creative, and among this group and those educated at this time, they were all creative in this fashion.
Now, we know from research that test pilots are left brained/right brain balanced people. There are a couple of studies on this. We should expect the creative gene to be housed in such individuals, but they also possess the math and critical logic skills part as well. All test pilots don't share these creative speaking skills; therefore, one might logically conclude that these skills can be taught and the curriculum of Oxford trained these men in their creative skills.
I'll write about that tomorrow.
The following is a question asked by one of my readers. I'm going to address this over time: Please elaborate on scene, theme, plot, character development in a new novel creation....ie, the framework, the development, order if operation, the level of detail, guidelines, rule of thumb, tricks, traps and techniques. To what extent do you outline the historic context, culture, mannerism, speech, dress and thought process of the main characters, in a historic novel...in order to maintain integrity, and gradually (help) reveal attributes of a character in the story, or otherwise clarify the plot, scene, transition, tension or resolution?
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonorhttp://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.