Creative people are awesome. They get their sticky hands of experience in as much as they can. There’s a wonderful lady I know who designs Steampunk costumes who also recently opened a business making and selling hammocks. A fellow author friend also draws and has wonderful images that she has created to be a companion to her stories.
Those other little wonderful creativities are the fuel to help your writing.
For example, I enjoy Magic the Gathering. It’s the original trading card game. The artwork is stunning, and for the most part the mechanics are straightforward.
A couple of years ago, Wizards of the Coast introduced planeswalkers, which added a totally different concept to the game. These characters represented the landscape of a certain location in the game storyline. The cards were instantly popular. Everyone had decks created to support the planeswalkers.
Then, my brain started kicking in: What would the planeswalker of one of my decks look like? There’s the set list of characters that display the traits of a certain area, but each of those areas are a deck of cards to be used in game play, so what about one of my home-brewed decks?
This was at the time when my favorite deck was called sanguine bond, which utilized a card of the same name. Right off the bat it’s dark, cultish, and sadistic, but the deck featured a lot of holy creatures to ensure that I gained a lot of life for others to lose. My brother and I spent the better part of an afternoon putting this character together based on the cards I used to get this deck to the level of efficiency I enjoyed.
Then it was my brother’s turn to pull out a deck and consider the planeswalker that would be its guardian. He is much more straightforward of a player. Where I’ll be all sneaky-boots and manipulate the circumstances of the gameboard, Z will pull out the biggest, meanest critter he can and beat his opponent into submission. His favorite deck pulls out big creatures and somehow bulks them up by the number of land he has in play, then everyone gets a benefit equal to the strength of the strongest creature, and suddenly I’m getting hit with a bazillion creatures with power double or triple the strength needed to win the game. We again created a character based on the parameters of the deck, and came out with a very vivid and complete character. Each time I could have written a novel based on them, and the ideas were flowing to do just that.
Whoo, that was a bit of a nerd-out, wasn’t it?
Anyways, consider the following next time you’re writer’s-block, or even creative-blocked:
1. That one movie you didn’t like, what would you have done to improve it? Add that in and see what else would have to change to accommodate your improvement (One of my NaNoWriMo novels was my changes to the movie 300. The two ended up looking nothing alike)
2. Listen to the radio and grab a random song. Who personifies that song perfectly? What circumstances would have to happen to get the inspiration for that song?
3. Your secret recipe for that one dish that everyone loves, what would the restaurant look like that serves that dish? Think about the silverware, tables if any, the ideal staff if any, and the ambiance that would make it a success.
All of our creativities have the capacity to overlap, and they should. Any idea that comes from that overlap area will be more powerful, since it has the cumulative passion of both subjects backing it. For example, Megan and I collect uranium glass. It actually has uranium in it. Because of that, I’ve been learning a lot about the era that produced it. So when a tiny spark hit that bit of overlap, it created the novel I’ve been working on for almost a year and a half, Critical. It’s been easy to push myself on that project because it’s fueled by both my love of writing and my love of antique glassware.
Give it a shot. The results will be wonderful.