Closing address: Writing and the hero’s journey by Kim Falconer

I hadn’t met Kim before the workshop, but I had seen one of my twitbuddies talking to her.  I approached her with some trepidation about writing a closing address for the workshop, expecting a polite refusal, but instead meeting a wonderfully kind and encouraging author.  I am delighted that Kim accepted my request to close the workshop, and I know you are going to appreciate what she has to say.

Writing and the Hero’s Journey

Follow your bliss and doors will open where once there were only walls.  Joseph Campbell

Introduction: All writers are on a hero’s journey. They face the same challenges as Jason and the Argonauts, Psyche and Eros, or any other person who ever stepped out of their comfort zone and into the unknown.  To fully appreciate this is to come into alignment with oneself. The first step is awareness and that means seeing the adventure for what it is—an archetypal journey. It can mean the difference between feeling helpless or powerful, stuck or fulfilled. Continue reading

Guest post: The Reader as Musician: The Interpretation of Art as Creative Act by John Robert Ladd

I hadn’t met John before the workshop, but I wanted to hear from a poet on the nature of creativity.  When I asked the Twitterati for a contact, John’s name came up.  As soon as I visited his site and read one of his essays, I knew I had found the voice I wanted.  John challenges my preconceptions of art in the digital age.  Today he’s here to talk about creativity from the perspective of the reader.

The Reader as Musician: The Interpretation of Art as Creative Act

CC via Margolove

By its nature, the creative mind is original. In order to create something, that something can never before have been created. This is why artists leap to the forefront of our minds when we think of creatives: they make something concrete, a poem, a painting, a song, that we can point to as utterly original. Labeling an artist as a creative person is easy, because of the kind of work she produces. Continue reading

Guest post: Creativity and Trust by Jeremy C. Shipp

Anytime you encounter clowns or gnomes, you need to spend a moment to pity poor Jeremy, who deals with both on a daily basis and still manages to stay sane.  Well, mostly sane. And what is sanity anyway? Just a state of mind. I make no comments on Jeremy’s state of mind, other than to say that I have never been brave enough to read his stories. I like to sleep with the light off, thank you. Today Jeremy is here to talk about a very important issue; trust.

Creativity and Trust

Once upon a time, in a semi-magical town called Beautiful Hill, there lived a boy who wrote a book about a space alien with jagged teeth and an affinity for opera. I was 13 when I wrote my first novel, and I’ve been writing almost constantly ever since.

Early on, I didn’t think about the creative process. I simply enjoyed it. I wrote what I felt like writing. I didn’t hold anything back. I didn’t edit myself. In a manner of speaking, I was living in a creative Eden.

Then, when I was about 18, I decided that I didn’t just want to be a writer. I wanted to be a publisher writer. Continue reading

Guest post: Creativity and the Scientific Mind by Graham Storrs

I met Graham when I publicly denigrated the opening line of one of his novels.  Thankfully he’s a forgiving chap and hasn’t held it against me – must be the Yorkie heritage.  Since then I’ve found great delight in reading his short stories.  Graham writes what is known as hard science fiction; all technical and precise and really delightful futuristic stuff.  I knew I had to have a post from Graham during the workshop about being both a scientist and a writer, so I’m very pleased to have him along today to share his insights with you.

Creativity and the Scientific Mind

CC via Iguana Joe

When I was a small boy (imagine a skinny little thing with intense gaze and short trousers) I used to design spaceships. One I remember had a special hull alloy – a mixture of aluminium, to make it light, and lead, to protect the occupants from radiation.

It wasn’t until I was very much older, looking back, that I suddenly realised how ridiculous this mixture was. Since then, I have often wondered how it was that, even as a child, I could have made such a mistake. I think the answer is that I was thinking magically, not like an engineer or scientist.

To the scientific thinker, the addition of aluminium to lead does not make it light, it just makes it lighter. To the magical thinker, the properties of materials may be bestowed upon whatever possesses them. Either way, I wasn’t being particularly creative, I’m afraid. Why weren’t my hulls made of chitin (to pick on a random substance that hulls could be made of but aren’t)? Or, for that matter, why have ships with hulls at all (to try challenging the premises)? Continue reading

Guest post: Creative but not cliched by Jody Hedlund

I found Jody by following a tweet about her book.  I liked what she had to say on her blog about writing and getting published, so asked her if she would be a guest poster for the workshop.  Jody chose to address the topic of cliches, and I think you’ll like what she has to say.

Creative But Not Clichéd

Why do writers slip so easily into the cliché trap? I was a judge for a writer’s contest in the spring, and I ended up having to give lower marks to some of the entries for the use of clichés. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about clichéd writing—especially how I can avoid it in my own books.

Often we think that only new writers have the problem of using clichés, that seasoned authors have learned to express themselves more uniquely.  But what I’m realizing it that it’s a trap for any writer at any point in the writing journey, because clichéd writing has more to do with laziness than ignorance.

Continue reading

Guest post: The Word Garden by J.M. Strother

I discovered Jon after following a link from someone’s flash fiction, to the huge blog meme that is #fridayflash.  Jon is the instigator of this regular writing event, and a competent ‘flasher’ in his own right.  Today Jon talks about his own creative journey.

I find a seed

Nurture it

Give it time to grow

Then, my friend, to tell the truth

I nurture it some more

What is my creative process?

It starts with the smallest seed of an idea, which can be anything at all – a name, an image, a passing phrase. Literally, anything. Continue reading

Guest post: Turning disappointment into ideas by M.C.A Hogarth

I found Maggie through her writing, and stayed around for her beautiful art.  She has a love affair with cats and aliens, and writes beautiful stories about both.  I invited her to speak today about creativity, and she’s brought up an interesting twist.  Read on to find out what disappointment can do for your inspiration.

The other day I tossed yet another book half-read with that Feeling: you know, the one that’s a mix of disgust, boredom and disappointment. It’s that plot “twist” that’s all the rage lately, so it’s about as twisty as limp spaghetti; or it’s the narrator who has the same personal problems as all her clones (“get over your intimacy issues already!”); or it’s the mercenaries portrayed as nice guys or the kings who can’t seem to prosecute a war or, or, or…

We all have our pet peeves. And our pet peeves often lead us to our most interesting story ideas. Continue reading