Behind the Scenes

It’s fun learning the writing habits of my favorite authors. One is a “just in time” creator – that is, she doesn’t build a specific detail in her story’s world until the plot demands it. Another hears the voice of her muse so strongly and clearly that when logic and the muse collide, the muse always wins. A third outlines her plots using calendar pages, because timing is the essential element in her stories.

Every writer is different. Some write 1,500 words in an hour’s sprint, others feel their way at a thoughtful 200. Some rise at dawn and crank on their stories then; others slumber past noon and write all night. Some draw on their sleeping dreams for inspiration, some on personal history, some from old folk tales (raising my hand here), and some from the quirky intersection of events such as a broken furnace and a children’s game with swimming laps at the gym.

As a writer myself, I take both reassurance and inspiration from my colleagues.
So . . . it’s fine that my own writing speed varies from 200 to 600 words in an hour. Really? Phew! Relief! And writing 5 hours a day is a lot according to the voice of experience. Who knew? Not me! And maybe I should try role playing a difficult scene, if sleeping on it and journaling about it isn’t working. Okay!

As a reader, I respect and revere the titans among the creative tribe. (Okay, as a writer, I do too!) I wonder . . . what genius, what method, what experience gave rise to her brilliance? Will a peek into her habits yield a clue? Will knowing that she sings in the choir or walks around the lake or loves horses afford a view of inspired intelligence at work?

Probably not. The creative process of others often seems opaque to me. But I love trying to espy it in the shadows, seeking fire trails of that magical spark. I love discovering the secrets behind the scene.

It’s true that “the play’s the thing.” It’s the thrill of story that makes me eager for an author’s next book. But glimpses of her life, of her, are interesting. I enjoy author blogs that reveal the thought process behind an intriguing plot, the daydream that birthed a dynamic character, the serendipitous events that yielded a world. I’m guessing that you might too. So future posts will include tours behind the scenes of my North-land tales and through the life experiences that led to the tales. Stay tuned!

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