Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A haze of creativity

Well, I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. today in the throes of mapping out my new novel. I'm not sure why I go into these almost manic phases of creativity, but I do. And it seems to be effective.

A few days ago, I had a very general idea for my next book--a spark of an idea if you will. It's a return to the theological thriller genre of my first book. But a general idea does not a completed manuscript make! So I put on the mp3 player (music is essential to my creativity process), cranked up the tunes and thought the story through. And through. And through. Ad nauseum.

It started coming to me in large chunks yesterday while working out at the gym. And it kept coming off and on throughout a fairly eventful day (our 12-year-son broke his foot at a snowball fight. Go figure).

For some reason, this is how I create. The idea comes to me in the form of a daydream and I spend the next few days feverishly taking notes from my own thoughts and committing them to paper so I don't forget them. Of course, the story continues to change and grow right up until I type "The End." And sometimes, even beyond that.

At 2:20 this morning, the ending finally came to me in a thick haze of cigar smoke with REM pounding in my ears. And what an ending! Man, I love it.

So I wrote it all down in my pretentious little Moleskine notebook. (Hemingway used one, you know!)

The book idea is big, deep, sexy, scary and damned exciting. It's going to take every ounce of any talent I might possess to pull off. But damn, I'm looking forward to trying.

I am a "seat-of-the-pantser" when it comes to writing, meaning I don't really work from a formal outline. Sure, I do several outlines, but when I write, the story just goes off to where it's going and I seem to have very little control over it. Sounds weird, I know. But my characters seem to think for themselves once I start writing.

I suspect that, when it comes to fiction writing, that's a good thing. (Or it means I'm truly insane.)

I'm going to continue laying the groundwork this week and hope to start writing in earnest next week (although I admit I do have the first few paragraphs already done).

While I'm not ready yet to disclose exactly what the book is about (ooohhhh, a secret), I will keep you updated on my progress. Of course, I have a month's worth of editing and revision on my completed novel coming up soon, so that will untrack me a bit.

Happy New Year!

UPDATE: Crap. I'm so wiped out today that I forgot to wish my 12-year-old son, Brennan, a Happy Birthday! The poor kid broke his foot yesterday and is spending his birthday creeping around on the smallest pair of crutches you've ever seen! They are so cute. ;)

Oh, and he can't wait for school to resume on Monday so he can tell his friends all about his horrid injury. He might even tell a girl or two ...

Anyway, happy birthday Buddy. I love you. Dad.


  1. Did you read the Hemmingway using moleskin notebooks in B&N? Lol that's what they always advertise! And you're not alone my story ideas come randomly, a lot of times as I'm just waking up or going to sleep. Will you be using this idea for ViNoWriMo?

  2. Actually, I read the Hemingway Moleskine story online somewhere, fell in love with the IDEA of having one and pestered the crap out of my poor wife until she bought me one for Christmas.

    And I love it! Awesomely cool and very pretentious. I feel so like a real novelist.

    I don't think I'm going to be able to do ViNoWriMo, since my completed manuscript will be coming back to me in a few days and I want to get the edits and revisions done ASAP so I can finally start submitting it. Of course, I still need to actually write a great query letter.

    Hell, I'd settle for a good one at this point.

  3. It's good to know this happens to others. I do most of my better stuff at the wee hours (or at least I think I do). Who knows, it could be like the drunk who thinks they drive better after they've had a few.
    I have tried to force myself to be like the rest of the world, but it stifles my spirit.
    I still get anxiety sometimes when I am up that late, because I know that I will have to sleep in if I want to be somewhat functional, which then makes me feel like a lazy ass. Then I feel that I have to justify myself to my husband about how I was up late working while he was sleeping.
    I just need to accept the fact that my circadian rhythm is different than some others.
    If we were all the same it would be quite boring, wouldn't it?
    I have made the effort to conform and now that I have done that, I can be a non-conformist.
    I am my own worst...

    I am looking forward to your next update.