Mark Terry

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How Does Creativity Work?

July 17, 2012
Although I'm working on a novel at the moment (it's a tech thriller), and I've sort of planned out my next couple books (after this book, then the 2nd Austin Davis novel), I'm aware that the Derek Stillwater novels are pretty much my franchise. Or at least, they're my best sellers.

Anyway, I hope to publish 3 or 4 books a year and I want one of those to be a Derek Stillwater novel, pretty much to be published in the late spring, early summer. [And yes, Natasha, I've decided to finish CHINA FIRE some time next year.]

So, I've got a title for the next Derek Stillwater. That's pretty much it. I have a situation. A situation isn't a plot. It's sort of a premise. After having Derek working for Homeland Security, and then being on loan to the State Department, and in DIRE STRAITS having him working for the CIA, I was considering Derek going into business with some folks as a private intelligence contractor. So there. That's my premise.

That, my friends, is not a book. Nor is it even a story. Or a plot. Or much of anything. That isn't to say I couldn't start writing it and have things come together, but it's better - far better - if I at least have some notion of what the hell's going to happen. At least in the first scene.

I was channel surfing the other day and the John Travolta movie, BASIC, came on. And it starts in Panama. And something in my head went CLICK!, and I started to have more than a premise. I've always been fascinated with the Panama Canal, and the fact that billions and billions of dollars of cargo from every country on the planet go through there, and that after turning loose of our control there, the Chinese got extremely involved. So yeah, there's a lot of potential there for the likes of Derek Stillwater.

And that's how creativity works.

How does it work for you?


Blogger Eric said...

I have no idea how creativity works. The example you give would probably apply to me, which is to say, for whatever reason, I notice connections between things, and after a while enough connections begin to form a story. Although I don't know how it works, I do know that, unfortunately, my mind has to be fairly unimpeded for it to work. If I am concentrating hard on a legal article I guess my brain becomes too engaged with that to wander around and start creating stuff.

You're going to publish 3 or 4 novels a year! Wow. planning to write fiction full time?

9:53 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I would say the one-thing-caught-my-attention followed by another-thing-caught-my-attention and I then tried to connect-the-damned-things pretty much describes my creative "process." And if I'm busy stressing about things like sales and promotion and whether or not people like agents or editors might like what's going on in my head, it doesn't work as well.

As for the number of books, well, we'll see. When things go smoothly I can write one in 3 or 4 months. So it's a goal. It's more along the lines of: when I finish them, I'll publish them. Maybe that'll be 3 to 4 a year.

10:01 AM  

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