Friday, December 4, 2009

Too Many Creative Ideas. Can You Commit to More Than One?

It's snowing today in my corner of Ontario. We broke a two-hundred-year-old record last month by having no snow at all. People were golfing. It couldn't last.

It's odd how much we are delighted by the first snowfall of the season, like children, as if we've never quite seen it before. I'm happy to see it, but in six weeks I'll be back to my usual bored and grumpy state. I rather like the idea of Sydney, and Vancouver, where you can go to the snows in the mountains if you like that kind of thing, have a bit of fun, and come home again, leaving it all behind. We don't have that choice here. Naturally we have less rain, and it's usually spectacularly sunny, brighter because of the reflection of the snow.  But today is gray, the sky colorless, the bare trees dramatically stark against it.  No wonder there are so many poets in the Northern Hemisphere. You gotta do something in response.

I've been tweaking Summer Must End this past week, with little new work. Two-thirds through now, so time to back track and see if it's properly coming together.  I have to admit that I did some more outline work on my new idea, too, tentatively called Uncharacteristic Behavior. I'm not fickle about my writing usually, devoting myself to one book at a time, but this story keeps coming to me, and I have to get the ideas down as they present themselves. It's a psychological, paranormal, thriller, it seems. It certainly is heading that way. The ending hasn't come to me yet, and that's a good thing, because then it would be impossible to put to one side, as the characters would begin babbling at me. As it is, I have a rough draft of an outline, and pretty well know where the plot is going. I have some characters, but not defined yet. It's like painting. You sketch out that first idea, with a vague idea of what you want to produce, but it's not until you lay down the paint that the image comes alive. So, I'm "sketching" right now, in between work on the current book, and will begin "laying down paint" next year.

I've asked the question before, but it's worth repeating. Do you involve yourself in more than one project at a time? Do story ideas buzz around in your head that have nothing to do with the work-in-progress? Would you put aside one novel, to work on the second?

For me, this surprising arrival of new ideas has to do with the number of years when I wasn't devoting myself to writing. It was all in there, waiting to come out, but I busied myself with painting, and travelling, and making a living, and it all became locked up in my brain. I can't help wondering how many other plots are waiting to emerge, now that I'm writing full time.

On top of that, I'm suddenly keen to do some small sculptured clay figures. I've ordered the supplies already. I guess that physical creative me is feeling neglected. I'll put up a picture of my first one - my Gran character, I think - when it's done.

And so I'm a total bore in all other aspects of my life. I'm spending little time checking in with my blogger friends, and I miss them. I stare into space a lot, can't be bothered with people because they interrupt my flow, and I'm generally antisocial.  I'm reasonably extroverted when I'm not creating, so this hermit life can't continue indefinitely. I think I'll just hole up here for the winter and do what I must, so that in the spring that livelier me will be back.

I certainly wouldn't want to be so self-absorbed and contemplative for the long-term. I haven't quite outgrown partying yet.

2 comments:

Melissa Marsh said...

I have worked on two novels at once, but one eventually won out over the other. But I think working on more than one project at a time can be done and reasonably well, too.

No snow for us yet - but I can't wait! I love all the seasons (well, except for summer) and really enjoy this time of year.

Fran said...

I think you just gave me permission to work on two books at once, Melissa. I was feeling very guilty about the second dalliance.