Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How the heck did you come up with that?


Dora Machado

How the heck did you come up with that? 

People ask me this question all the time, in various ways and regarding different parts and scenes in my books. I suspect that stretching concepts and ideas is innate to the fantasy writer. It feels very comfortable to me. My imagination never quits. My mind is always generating ideas. Awake or asleep, whatever mysterious spot in my brain is accountable for the creative function is constantly firing shots. Call it a blessing. Call it a curse. It’s just the way my brain works.

Coming up with distinct concepts or original adaptations has to do with asking questions. What if I changed this? What if this happened? What if this other thing happened? I think an author has to be ruthless about asking questions, even when those questions test our comfort zones and make us feel uncomfortable.

Yielding to the imagination means exploring the darkness, embracing the odd and probing the strange. Unleashing the creative process entails rejecting the easy answers and accepting not only your characters’ contradictions but also our world and our experiences. There’s got to be fearlessness to the creative process, a courage requirement; because when we challenge ourselves to ask beyond the obvious, then we can begin to tell original and meaningful stories.

Dora Machado is the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and three very opinionated cats.

When she is not writing fiction, Dora also writes features for Murder By Four, an award winning blog for people interested in reading and writing, and Savvy Authors, where writers help writers.


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

I love talking about the creative process, Dora! Especially about how stories end up in our brains, twisted with endless variations, and come spewing out onto the screen (paper). Fascinating stuff! Thank you for sharing your thoughts today!

Sheila Deeth said...

The scariest books are the ones where you're reading and suddenly think, no, it can't go there... and of course, it does. So maybe the scariest writers are the ones wise enough not to tell their imagination you can't go there.

Unknown said...

I love learning about your processes. Thank you so much for this!

Unknown said...

I love talking about the creative process too, guys! God knows,it's one of my favorite topics, Aaron. Sheila, you are absolutely right. I still get e-mail from readers who didn't see some of my twists coming. I tell them I didn't see them coming either! LOL. Marsha, it was my pleasure to share. That's what MB4 is all about!