Wednesday 2 July 2014

Organic Creativity

There are distinct and contrasting stages of development within the process of creating a story. Whether you have a lesson or an argument you want to illustrate, the initial plot should be summarized or described in a single sentence. You can call it an elevator pitch or a plotline, but it helps all the other details fall into place. It's kind of like the trunk of a tree. All the roots and branches and the bark and leaves are attached to one central core where the sap flows up and down and in and out.

Characters and events become ornaments you can add to your tree. You can attach them with a glue gun if they don't fit easily or weld them or bolt them to make sure they are permanent or you can just let them hang from a threat until they fall off. It's all up to you. Of course, sometimes it gets really difficult to prune your tree in order to keep it healthy. You have to be really ruthless and tough on your tree for it to survive. Otherwise, it might mutate into a distorted, unloved monster made up of parts that don't belong together and hunted by angry townsfolk carrying torches and pitchforks tracking it down and demanding it be destroyed.

As it's creator, you start off with a great idea you love, but as soon as it starts to get real, sometimes it goes off track or gets lost. Then that great feeling of accomplishment turns sour and you get depressed. The story cracks and splits and begins to look broken and can't be fixed. Suddenly, a rabbit jumps out of a hat and you chase it and it turns into a genie who grants your wishes and it all comes back together like magic. You start to think it's the best story you've ever come up with and you want to tell someone, but they're all watching football or listening to music. So you just keep re-writing until it reaches the point where it's going to be abandoned like your old living room furniture and ends up sitting on the back porch forlorn and forgotten. 

That's a great time to plant a new tree!

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