Creativity is complicated

And now for your amusement, a tour through one of the cluttered creative areas of my mind. Here’s a quick glimpse into the complicated and convoluted fictional narrative that fills my thoughts.

We’ll start with a song with just the right lyric. Sometimes, it’s just a single line. The words being sung evoke an emotional response from me. While I’m caught in the swell of emotion, I start to build a story around the lyric. It’s not enough for me to just feel the sentiment, I need to come up with a context for it.

I think we all do this to some extent when we’re young, putting ourselves into the story as the main character. Luckily, I have a whole stable full of existing and potential imaginary characters that I can plug into these scenarios, so I can stop making it a daydream fantasy about myself. On the other hand, aren’t all my characters just extensions of myself? Maybe it is all about me.

So last week, a song came on and set the creative machine in motion. This time, however, I took it to a new level of  complexity. The story based on the lyric involved 2 as yet unwritten characters, reaching a point of crisis and conflict in their relationship that had been building for several years.

And then I pulled back from that immediate scene and found a way to connect this one story (still about characters that don’t even really exist yet) to 2 other stories, only one of which is currently actually in existence. I was mapping out a multi-story arc plot crossover event where 2 of the 3 story arcs aren’t real, and won’t be real for several years. I had to draw a colour-coded chart to even begin to understand any of this, and I’m still turned around. Complicated!


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