One can't just pound out words for eight hours a day, five days a week. Well, maybe some people can, but I sure can't. So what else do I do to chum the creative waters?
For me, and I know this is going to be a real shocker-- it's worldbuilding work, especially maps.
Now, I'm sure a lot of writers just build the world for the stories, or craft a world around a story idea. Which is probably the smarter thing to do. I mean, if you're doing all that worldbuilding work, it should be for a purpose, right?
And for each of these, maybe there will be a purpose somewhere down the
line. But when I'm-- I don't want to say stuck or blocked, because I
don't think that's accurate, but let's say conceptual brewing,
and my brain needs to mull on where things are going or how to do a
certain bit, then doing some map-drawing or other worldbuilding activity
(like figuring out biomes and then connecting rise of agriculture to
said biomes, and thus determining where those Fertile Centers of Origin
are going to be that civilization arises in) or micromanaging a pair of
linked villages for what sort of setting might be there. Or the rise of
multiple interstellar empires.
is probably the sort of thing that other sf/fantasy writers dread.
And I get that. But for me, it's a lot of fun. And dorky. I will
fully admit to compiling spreadsheets filled with just raw data of
animal domestication or tech development of number of planets for
hundreds of stars or regions or whatever else. That gets the processing
and analytical part of my brain in gear, and lets the writing brain
churn and simmer, and then, hey... a thousand words show up.
Plus, maps are fun. I can't draw very well, but I can do maps.
That's all for now. I'll be at OryCon this weekend, and if you're in the area, I hope to see you there.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Creative Outlets That Aren't Writing
Posted by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Marshall Ryan Maresca is a Fantasy and Science Fiction Novelist, as well as a playwright, living in South Austin with his wife and son. He is the author of the Maradaine Novels:
The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages , The Alchemy of Chaos, An Import of Intrigue , The Holver Alley Crew, The Imposters of Aventil and Lady Henterman's Wardrobe (Forthcoming).
His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced.
Visit his website at mrmaresca.com