Category : creative process

Those Eyes, That Mouth

I fell in love with Elizabeth Fraser in college. If you don’t know her, she was the singer and lyricist for the Cocteau Twins, one of the more well-known bands to come from the indie 4ad label in the UK (although maybe not as well-known as the Pixies, but that’s neither here nor there), their music known mostly for shimmering, layered guitars and songs with arcane titles and even more arcane lyrics, sung with beautiful, soaring, rolling vocals. They’re responsible for the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard in my life: (more…)

More Tools of the Trade

I’ve talked about how I type most of what I write, but I still keep bound notebooks and make lots of notes (and write poetry) by hand. When it comes to typing, I’ve used the usual word processing programs for the most part (going all the way back to college, in the early days of Mac OS and Windows), until giving Scrivener a try a few years ago. I very much like how Scrivener works the way my mind works, nonlinear, in fragments, where you can collage together a story from bits and chunks, with folders for notes and inspirations. But despite that, I’ve never found Scrivener particularly intuitive and I’ve always felt like I needed to go through a number of tutorials and play around with it a lot to really get it to work the way I want it to–and when it comes to writing, I don’t want to have to learn how to use my tools, I just want to grab the tools that work and get to the actual writing.

For the past 10 years, my different library jobs have required me to work from at least two different computers, often in different buildings. I used to carry flash drives with documents I was working on so I could take work from one computer to another, which was kind of a pain…until Google Docs came along and I could simply sign into Google from whatever PC I was using and do my work. And that naturally translated to my personal writing as well. I’ve been using Google Docs for so long, I’m more comfortable using that than anything else. And now I use Google Drive for pretty much all of the creative work that I don’t do by hand. (more…)

Reality Bites

As far back as I can recall, I’ve wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It often shifted between wanting to be a novelist, an animator, a comic book artist/writer, and an obscure poet, but I knew I wanted to be a professional creative.

I’m almost halfway through my 47th year and I am not, nor have I ever been, a professional creative, although I have been writing poetry and prose and blog posts continuously for over 30 years. Even though it’s painful for me, I want to talk about why I’ve struggled with creating the art I want to create and why I haven’t tried to go pro. (more…)

Crucible of Shadows: an experiment in plotting

I had this idea of taking the plot of a story I know well (in this instance, I used Wikipedia for the plot summary) (don’t click on that link if you want to read my version first), changing all of the character and locations names, and seeing what it looked like then. I also flipped the gender of some characters and made a few other tweaks. The source is probably still recognizable, but I like how it turned out.

I don’t write with plot outlines, I’m a pantser, not a plotter, but I’m thinking of using the beginning of this as a story starter and the rest as inspiration if/when I get stuck with what I want to have happen next in the story. (more…)

Fellow Travelers on the Ghost Road

Don’t you wonder sometimes about sound and vision and the telling of stories? I know I’m not the only one who does.

There is a handful of living writers that I consider kindred spirits, because of their writing influences, because of their writing processes, because of the themes they touch on, or simply because what they write feels like it was pulled directly out of my own dreams. (more…)