Saturday, November 24, 2007

Inside this writer's mind

A writer friend asked the question in her blog, "What's it like inside your mind?" and it started me thinking.

She spoke of characters from her stories, as did some of the comments, roaming around, falling out of bed, using items from her other stories, but none of this rang true for me.

The creative process fascinates me. An idea is triggered by some stimulus and my thoughts become restless, probing for connections, testing their strength, discarding weakness, in a logical progression...until, often quite abruptly, it will leap back to an earlier connection and follow an entirely new path to a totally unexpected result.

The closest physical analogy I can draw of the process comes from a description by Edward de Bono (I think he was writing of Water Logic). He postulated a beach full of octopi, dumped in a random order, their tentacles seeking connections and forming synapse-like patterns in a blind, gestalt-driven search. Thinking of any one octopus stimulates it, driving it to a more frenzied search, individual tentacles lashing, it's primitive mind cataloguing each contact and remembering their nature. This produces a ripple effect among the other octopi and soon they're all thrashing about until they reach a result that produces a feedback surge to the original octopus and a path is formed between the original idea and this new outcome.

Like all analogies, it fits only where it touches, but it gives me a good working model, and that's enough.

It's a great life.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Coffee break over. Back on your heads

The above is the punch line for a very old joke-one I first heard in secondary school-but it's very appropriate.

We came back from our trip to visit our latest grandson and found ourselves baby-sitting two other grandchildren whilst our eldest child, a daughter, celebrated her anniversary with a game of golf, a meal and the theatre. Today was spent cleaning the house of its two weeks accumulation of dust, catching up with friends, mail, etc., and reformatting a manuscript at the request of a publisher.

Tomorrow, all things being equal, I will open up my current work in progress and start reading it, immersing myself afresh in the situation, worming my way into the characters.

It's a great life.


Friday, November 09, 2007

A sobering thought

We visited a 94-year-old uncle yesterday. An ex-seaman who sailed on the Murmansk and Malta convoys, he was on the Queen Mary when she sank the cruiser Curacao in mid Atlantic whilst carrying American troops to the UK in preparation for the Invasion.

His mind is alert and sharp, but his body is failing, leaving him bed-ridden and practically blind.

We talked of old times, Jack Dempsey's bar in New York, ships we knew, etc, but the effort soon exhausted him and we had to leave. Time and distance will soon separate us again and this may have been our last meeting.

I will regret his passing. He is the last survivor of his generation of my family, but I couldn't wish him to stay, locked in partial darkness with only his memories to exercise his mind.

It's a great life (Sometimes)


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A lesson learned

My second review of Feodar's World and my royalty statement from New Concepts came yesterday and each reinforced the other in suggesting the series started with New Blood should have been a single book directed at another market entirely.

I'll suspend work on books four and five until I've used the lessons learned in writing a series on the Marrack Family series about pirates/privateers and the contemporary romances with Whiskey Creek Press and Shadowrose have appeared. (Hopefully The Countess and the Privateers will establish me in another genre in the meantime)

At some time in the future, I'll withdraw New Blood, Feodar's World and Rachael's Return and then rewrite the whole story of Peter and his creation in a single volume, probably 300,000 words plus.

In the meantime, our visit with the latest grandson is going great. We had a great trip up from Melbourne, spent two days at Binalong(Where "Flash" Johnny Gilbert is buried and near the family home of "Banjo" Paterson, of "The man from Snowy River" fame)

It's a great life