Friday, December 4, 2009

Fretting with Creativity

We're ringing in the 12 Days of Christmas on Novel Matters. (For full contest rules, click the link.)

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Six Geese a-Laying!

I'll send a signed copy of Latter-day Cipher to the person who can find an author's last name in the phrase: SIX GEESE A-LAYING and name a title by that author OR submit a book title with one of the words from the phrase and the author. Submit your entry using the "Contact" button above. See complete details for the contest on the November 23rd post. Good Luck! The winner will be announced on Monday December 7th.

Now, about this creativity bit. I admit to my past sins of thinking that people who write novels don’t have to work as hard as other writers. I had documentation of my work as a writer of non-fiction: every bibliography, footnote, scriptural citation. But novel writers could just pull things out of the air, I thought.

Once I thought two things were over-rated as to difficulty: childbirth and fiction writing. That was before I experienced labor and delivery. That was before plotting a novel.

All writers work, to some extent, with the same “raw materials.” Either imagination or research skills (or both) are essential. But at a more basic level, all English speakers must use the 26-letter alphabet (plus a few other symbols) to write anything, of any genre. I’ll use words that other people have used millions of time in other contexts. If I use foreign words or even if I make up words, they’ll have some tie to known language.

But the delight is in the insight: the combining of those unadventurous 26 letters and oft-rubbed words to bring that spark of new inner-eyesight.

Here’s a video that shows how a musician, Andy McKee, uses familiar “raw materials” in a fresh and engaging way:

So, enjoy the music. I’m off to write on the neck of my novel, to fret with words, and push them right up to your headstock.


Anonymous said...

Latayne, what a fabulous video. As the daughter of a dad who played guitar in a very unique way, I really appreciate beautiful acoustic guitar music. I just loved watching Andy play.

And you just keep fretting with those 26 letters, because what comes out of your fretting is a beautiful symphony of words.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Woohhhooo! Thank you! I'm so excited!!

Writing a novel definitely isn't easy, but it's one of those things you don't know until you try. Then you realize you were crazy. Only the truly insane keep going after it. Aren't we lucky? :0) Yet it's completely worth it.

Have a great weekend!

Carla Gade said...

That was unique! You've given me much to think about today. Thanks!

Carla Gade said...

BTW, this contest is so hard!

Anonymous said...

Andy makes great music also check out Don Alder

and an xmas tune

he has lots more vids on you tube and full band version of the songs can be heard at

Kathleen Popa said...

Oh Latayne, I loved this. Yes! I love to see artists do new things with old materials. You're one of the best, and now you've inspired me. Again.

Latayne C Scott said...

I love the way the Lord gave us a contagious creativity. I can see this video and write a post. You can read the post and use words in your own writing in a new way. The reader will read your words and have a spark of insight about how to think about a problem he or she is facing.

I love it!!

Deborah M said...

OK - I couldn't figure out the author of the book, but I did come up with a word in the title. I don't know if this will count, but if not that is alright. I've read "A" Family for Luke" by Carolyne Aarsen. That is pretty much all I could do is use the A.
Thanks for racking our brains.
Deborah M.