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You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, the first novel in my fantasy adventure series. Visit the Edge of the World! Come for the view, stay for the adventure!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thoughts on the creative process-

Humans are creative creatures. Some more so than others, but as a species we are very creative. I have most recently been exercising my own creativity writing my "Edge of the World" series of fantasy adventure novels. Many people I know are creative in other ways, but the compulsion to create is rather common among humans.

What is created is not necessarily common. It is fresh and new. It is creation.

My daughter, Beth, is a quilter. She has a knack for selecting and combining patterns and colors that is quite magical. My wife, Linda, is a decorator. Sadly, I have been unable to provide for her the rather expensive canvasses necessary to fully exercise her art, but she does phenomenally well within the limitations of our current circumstances. She would have much greater freedom if I had been gifted with the ability to create wealth, but that has proved to be a gift that is lacking.

I can, however, write. I have done so from childhood. Had I the courage and foresight to follow that natural ability I might have had a writer's life, but I took different paths and am only now striving to turn a hobby into a profession. The paths I have traveled have been formative and informative, and I do not regret them.

The "Edge of the World" series began as a short story, a piece of what is called "Flash Fiction." A very short story of just a few pages. I had an image in my mind, and if I had developed my skills in drawing I would have sketched it. I did not have sufficient skill in drawing, so I wrote that story. It was later published in my blog, Short Stories by MLockridge.

Subsequent experiences in my life revealed I had an issue with depression. I sought counseling for this issue, and the counselor provided tools for me to use. One tool was to start a project and see it to completion. Apparently the focused effort would aid in managing depression. In this case it proved to be true.

I decided to take my short story about The Edge of the World and turn it into a novel. I sat down and wrote. I wrote a lot. Over 100,000 words. I edited and polished and finished the work. Along the way I got the depression under control and as far as the exercise was concerned, I was done.

However, the story continued past the end I had selected. So, I began the sequel. Like the first novel it flowed from me rather smoothly. I think it did so because I had spent so much time over the years just thinking about the story and a lot of the writing had been done rather informally in the back chambers of my cluttered mind. I just had to drag the first volume out and dust it off. The second was almost as easy.

Now that I had two novels I started seriously contemplating publication. I knew that the traditional route to publication was arduous and long. I just didn't need something like that in my life. This whole thing was intended to aid in managing depression, not cause it. So, I searched for other ways to do this.

With the advent of the Internet a lot of options had opened up. Self-publishing electronically and being listed in a major catalog looked like the right thing. Barnes and Noble offered such a program, and at little cost. This might just work, I thought.

In researching I found a lot of friends on the Internet who were at various places in this same process. I studied their models for doing this business and read some of their works. One thing that I observed that would make this whole project somewhat lucrative was having more books in the series.

More writing. The third novel did not flow so easily. It was more work, with more thinking and more editing. Indeed, I need to give it at least one more run-through to comb out the tangles and give it a nice shine. The third novel led to the beginnings of a fourth, which in terms of small volume electronic publication meant a few more bucks. Also, I really am enjoying the process of building a series of novels.

I began the fourth novel yesterday. However, I decided I needed a tool for creating something from scratch. This book has not been bubbling on a back burner of my brain for a considerable time. So, I checked on tools I could use. Fortunately, the Internet gives me access to a lot of back burners in a lot of bubbling brains, and I learned that I already had the tool I needed.

I write in Open Office, a suite of free tools downloadable on the Internet. I found that some people use their presentation software to do storyboarding. This is a bit like outlining a work, but more graphic and a bit easier, at least for me. I began writing slides which can be displayed a number of ways, and I can move them around on the screen. Pretty cool.

The tool I needed was right there in the suite of software I already used, and it was free! (Thanks to the several people who recommended this suite to me. Consider this "paying it forward.") I have spent several hours working on my storyboard, and it is going great!

I figure I will have enough to work with in another day or so, which will (I hope) be a sufficient break from the editing of the third novel to allow me to return to it fresh and ready to work. If all goes well I will be able to upload the first three novels to Pubit and get them out in the Barnes and Noble catalog.

Of course I will also have to get a Facebook fan page set up with the hope of having a few fans to read it. Also, a web site of some kind. And there is all of the promotion work I will have to do myself because I don't have a traditional publishing house backing me. Oh, and accounting, assuming I actually see some revenue from this adventure.

Whatever happens, I am not depressed and I am having fun. It seems like I have already won. If others enjoy the work and I make a few bucks, that's cool as well.

3 comments:

Pam said...

Sounds good!!! Keep us posted, and let me know when you get the Facebook page up!

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Good luck with the publishing.

Carol said...

Awesome! the having fun part is the best, but managing depression is a close second. You inspire me, as always, to make sure that I have a life well lived.