Writers are a different kind of animal. We can be sitting in a crowd and see things other people (normal?) don’t notice. Emotions, facial expressions, the simple act of society. We absorb and take note of these instances to use in later scenes. But sometimes creativity is an elusive critter and we must hunt it down, stalking it with eagle-eyed intensity.
I needed to compose a short story about one of my characters in Wilder Mage. I had no clue how Sable discovered she was a mage. She wasn’t in a talkative mood and I was bone-dry.
I was raking the yard that day musing on several scenes and rejecting them just as quickly. The air was still as a church when, thirty feet in front of me, the wind kicked into a maelstrom of dust, leaves, bits of grass, and corn stalks. A dust devil, a monstrous one that reached the tops of our cedar trees. It was so large and violent, the wind roared like an animal.
It came up the drive and across our wide lawn, hissing andswirling. I didn’t hesitate but ran into the middle of it. The air was cooler, the projectiles small and inconsequential. The miniature tornado sailed on through a fence and into the pasture.
I laughed as it passed and was exhilarated because I knew I had my opening scene to Out of Magic, Sable’s discovery that she was something different.
Life events shape our writerly world. Sometimes it takes a whirlwind to start the process. Other times creativity hits when I apply pen to paper, longhand scribbling.
It is a brain function called reticular activating system or RAS. Writing longhand sets in motion the creative portion of the mind, the RAS. It is a portal into our subconscious.
Now, I didn’t know any of this highfalutin' brainy stuff until I wondered why it was easier to write on a spiral notebook while on the treadmill. Really, where would any of us be without Google, am I right?
No wonder I have mounds of notebooks, a veritable hoard lurking in every part of my house awaiting the next magic to hit my RAS.