Celebrating Creativity

by Julie, enjoying temperate weather in Somerville

November is a busy month. It starts with my sister’s birthday, winds into Thanksgiving, and launches the busy holiday season. But this November is a bit different. The holidays are on hold. November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and I’m spending my time celebrating creativity. Mine.

Sure, I love the holiday season. Though I do miss the mysteries on Hallmark Mysteries and Movies. (There, I said it. I need some crime between November and January.) But I digress. This year, preparing for the holidays is on hold while I do my best to write 50,000 words on a new book by the end of November. I don’t think I’m going to make it, but I’m writing every day, trying.

Unlike previous NaNoWriMos, this project isn’t in one of my series. It’s a mystery, yes. I’ve realized that I’m a mystery writing who dabbles in suspense and action once in a while. But at heart, I like creating puzzles for readers. Not only is this book a new idea, I’m writing differently than normal. I did an outline before I started, but the characters didn’t like the plan, so I’m going with the flow. These characters have minds of their own–they’re dragging me all over the place. So far, five of them have demanded their own scenes.

I have a couple of subplots that have shown up that are interesting. And I suspect that things are going to weave together in the end, because they usually do. But I have no idea how. I’m both scared to death and thrilled.

Writing is hard work. Physically it can take a toll. Mentally it takes over the rest of your life. But here’s the thing. Writing is magic. Characters show up, and stick around while you channel their story. Plots somehow work out. Maybe in the third or fourth draft, but still. There’s magic.

This book could end up being an exercise that no one will ever read. But I’ve realized that’s not what’s important this month. I’m enjoying flexing my creativity, and not worrying about the outcome until the next draft. This book is a celebration of my creativity, and I’m having a blast.

Readers, do you ever break out of your comfort zone with thrilling results?

32 Thoughts

  1. I discovered I like writing espionage thrillers. The idea I had for a class was sooooo good the instructor said…. I hope you follow through. That’s a good story. 🙂 I did and the skinny draft is on the back burner. I like the idea that you do a skeleton and expand the skeleton as you write.

    Also, Hallmark Christmas has a story about writing that describes a story as a Christmas tree. The tree is the outline and the ornaments, lights complete the story. It was a cool way to explain the process of writing your story.

  2. I’m excited for you, Julie! And delighted you’re joining the pantser club at least for a while. I recently pushed my own creativity envelope, and it felt great.

  3. Julie,
    Glad to hear you are working on a new book idea during November.
    While I like reading series, I know it is good for authors to also stretch their creative vision and try something different. Hope the NaNoWriMo journey is fruitful.

  4. I write from a simple outline and I’m amazed when my characters take the stage. They usually leave my general outline intact but they add more twists and turns. So much fun. I’m a rebel this year in NaNoWriMo for many reasons but absolutely love the SinC write ins on days I am writing. Enjoy yourself and thanks for the morning post!

  5. We share the appreciation of puzzles, creating intrigue and mystery. I also love clean thrillers and enjoy the challenge of finding unexpected and exciting twists. Although it’s tough for a plotter like me, I let the characters pry my fingers off the outline and offer their surprises.

  6. Sounds exciting, Julie! I’m starting to assemble characters for my next Homefront Mystery. So far, I have a conscientious objector to WWII and a gay man (obviously deeply closeted because it’s the early 40s). I’m a little terrified to write the story, but I’m gonna try!

  7. Although not a person that accepts change well or is in to trying a bunch of new things, I have found that some times the best fun can be achieved by stepping out of my comfort zone. Some years ago, I realized what we had told our daughter about food (you can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it), was true in life in general. So as a senior citizen I have found myself willing to at least try – unless it’s of danger to life and limb. 🙂 I have found some very exciting, fun and even tasty things along the way.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  8. I love NaNoWroMO as whatever I write during that month isn’t what I planned. This year, I had planned on writing another book in the series I’ve started but…That went by the wayside when Lisbeth said that I was going back to 1908 Kentucky and writing her and her twin brother, Seton’s story. Poor Jillian will just have to wait for her next case.

  9. I am always willing to step (or leap) out of my comfort zone into an interesting situation. Challenges are fun and keep my mind active. I’ve had a very fascinating life because of it.

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