First, Expozine happened in Montreal last weekend. I hope people made it out to see some of the great things people are doing!
Down to “business”. I’d like to talk about stories. Many elements can help create a good story, for example, interesting character development, conflict, intricate plot, or simply an emotional atmosphere. Sometimes you get all of these and more. Other times it’s just one that carries the weight. Then there are the bad stories, but hey, so much is also subjective.
A writer’s ability to be creative can influence all of these elements. Creativity may be a mix of experience and talent. What do you think? Is it more one than the other? Regardless, I think it also benefits from process. For example, everyone knows brainstorming. It’s basic. You can brainstorm at the beginning, but also as you go around specific elements.
I like to bring together random ideas or elements and think, what if…. What I bring together can be concepts or objects. The fun is in playing with these things to see how they can fit together as a piece of a story, or in some cases it can be in seeing what stories may be possible. So you could toy with: bad ideas as a commodity and a merchant; cloning to allow for physical immortality and a secret society; or octopi and human gene splicing…
When I have an idea or a combination of ideas I try to imagine what could happen if I slip the ideas into different situations. I never stop at my first situation. Often even my original ideas change. It’s a rather deliberate pursuit beyond the first idea and situation. The idea and situation become interwoven and changes in one often mean changes in the other. Whatever I have in mind I don’t hold it too tight. The whole process is fluid and things never happen as I plan them… they happen as I write them (… and again when I revise).
Layering is important for me. I start with something simple, but add to it. I’m looking for strangeness. Whether I achieve what I want is always debatable. Especially, because I don’t know what I want until I have it.
What I’ve mentioned here is just a piece of what goes through my head, but even that was hard to put into words. How accurate is it? Honestly, probably, not very. Mostly, because it leaves out the whole thing I do with peanut butter, balloons and parking meters.
Following us on FB helps you know when we’re looking for submissions (which we are doing now!), and when we’re launching. Do that if you want. Thanks for the submissions so far. They’re great. We’re looking forward to the ones yet to come!