Creative writing… How do people do it?

Here’s the problem. I’m trying to write a novel for NaNoWriMo. I’ve got an idea. I’ve got my major characters. I’ve got the beginning and the general direction I want the story to take.

What I don’t have is everything else. The actual, word for word, content of the story. The details and the dialogue that fill up the space between the major plot points. In fact, I can’t even figure out how to tackle the detail of the major plot points.

I want to know how people take the movies and ideas that play out in their heads and translate them into words. My brain seems stuck on efficiency mode – a picture’s worth a thousand words. But the beauty of writing from the reader’s perspective is to escape from the shackles of their own mind and their own ways of thinking. At least, that’s the way it is for me. I love being productive and efficient, but sometimes I feel so burdened by it.

I want to know the secret to writing so that I can help others burdened by themselves escape into another person’s world.

Another thing I’m struggling with is making things up. I’ve been writing scenes based on my own life, but I’ve been adding bits in to make it, well, more exciting. My settings are based on places I’ve actually been, like the locker room of my current workplace. I guess it helps that I’ve been to so many places, but this is also a hindrance, as it means that I don’t know any place or culture in significant enough depth to really explore it in my novel. I don’t know every nook and cranny of Oxford, Yokohama, George, Shanghai, etc.

This also makes it difficult to figure out how to portray the characters in my novel. The main character will be of a similar background to myself in so much as she’ll have grown up as an expat kid. But I’ve settled on having the novel take place mainly in the UK. All well and good, except that that means some of the supporting characters will have to be British, and I don’t feel comfortable writing about British people because I don’t want anyone here to read it and be offended that I didn’t portray them in the right way.

What frustrates me more than anything is that I know my brain has the ability to be creative. I have the wildest dreams involving rich characters and zombies or dinosaurs or flying… Let’s just say my dreams are pretty amusing to my friends and family. Why does my conscious brain have to be so shackled while my unconscious brain can clearly have vivid adventures?

My brain is far too controlling of itself. I wish there was a way to stop the filtering for a few hours a time so that I can be free to put the story, which came to me in a dream anyway, into words. 50,000 words, to be precise. And I have several more ideas that are waiting in the back rooms of my psyche.

The funniest bit? I seem to write best on my iPad on the bus. For some reason, words flow a lot better then. I don’t know if it’s because I have fewer distractions in the form of the Internet or tv, or if it’s the time limit. I have always worked better and faster with an immediate deadline. Maybe I should just sit on a bus for hours, going round Oxford in circles.

To be anonymous, or not to be anonymous?

I’ve been trying to decide recently whether or not to reveal my identity on this blog or not.

On the one hand, I have a new project that I’m working on that I would just love to share with you all and connect with the blog, but it reveals my name in a very big way. On the other, I feel I owe it to future employees to keep it anonymous.

I know that several people know who I am regardless, so maybe I should just bite the bullet! Any ideas?

Putting Touchnote to good use.

Thanks to Samsung, this month you can send free postcards, as many as you want. I’ve even sent one to myself here in South Africa.

Touchnote | Instantly send a photo as printed postcard.

Now, if you want to do something really special with this information, then you should hear about Post Pals.

The purpose of Post Pals is to put smiles on the faces of sick children and their families. You’ll find on the site a list of children with various conditions who haven’t been as lucky as you and me. You’ll also find postal addresses for these children, so that you can send a funny joke, a beautiful postcard or even a small gift such as a colouring book.

So why not send them a postcard using Touchnote? You can’t say that you can’t afford to send each and every one of them a postcard this month!