9 September 2012, Development - yet more 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.
So, if you are willing to put the effort into learning to be creative, then you are almost half way there. I'm not talking about the minimal effort many people think is sufficient for learning. I'm talking about the full effort.
A couple of days ago, I put a short test on this blog. These were the questions.
1. Do you like art (1)?
2. Have you created quality art (3)?
3. Do you like music (1)? (all kinds not just one type or another)
4. Have you written any music (3)?
5. Have you written any lyrics (3)?
6. Do you play any instrument (2)?
7. Do you like to sing (1)?
8. Do you sing in parts (2)?
9. Do you like to read (1)?
10. Do you like to write (2)?
11. Have you written any poetry (3)?
12. Have you written any stories (3)?
13. Have you written a novel (4)?
14. Have you written a book (4)?
15. Do you get great ideas (2)?
16. Have you ever successfully implemented your great idea (3)?
17. Do you like plays, musicals, opera, or ballet (1)?
18. Have you acted in a play, musical, opera, or ballet (2)?
19. Have you written a play, musical, opera, or ballet (4)?
Embedded in these questions is the way to learn creativity. Basically, to learn creativity, you must practice being creative. Without the spark of inherent creativity, this will be impossible, but if you have any touch of creativity, doing the above will bring out your creativity.
Here is what you do. If you like art, then you must begin to create art. Take a self assessment of your artist skills and then use them. You don't have to expect to be a van Gogh in a day. If you want to become a skillful artist (notice, I didn't write a creative artist), you need to put in the equivalency of about 10,000 to 15,000 hours (that's about 1 million words of writing for an author--just so you know). If you just want to learn more creativity through art, the action of creating art will begin to activate your creativity.
More to the point, we as writers want to improve our creativity in writing. I could tell you that writing 1 million words will make you a creative writer--that would be a lie. Writing 1 million words will make you a skillful writer--likely skillful enough to be a professional. Writing 1 million words won't necessarily make you a writer who can create great works. To become creative requires those 10,000 to 15,000 hours in creative endeavours. A writer might be able to spend all 10,000 to 15,000 hours in writing and become creative, but I doubt it. The reason a person is creative isn't because they sit in a quite room and write. A person is creative because they interact with the world and with others in a meaningful and purposeful way.
I'll write more about how to spend your time in developing creativity 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/.