Wednesday, November 7, 2018

For the November IWSG I'm talking about the importance of improv as a component to creativity.

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group day. If you aren't signed up for the blog fest, you can go HERE and sign up for it. Looking over my notes for this monthly event, I see that the co-hosts for the November 7 posting of the IWSG are Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman. If any of you happen to visit here during the event, then please make yourself at home :) Now...onto housekeeping. 

The November Insecure Writer's Support Group question is this: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

Well, I'm more aware of how "pantsing" plays a role in just about anything and how stories can come together by assimilating a lot of different ideas into a pot, kind of like a good chili can have lots of different ingredients. And what I mean by "pantsing" is simply "writing by the seat of your pants." Normally, I'm a plotter, tediously doing so on paper, and then trying to find a direction to take characters. But willfully following inspiration points on the spur of the moment can lead to some really weird and creative areas of a story. And I actually think I've gotten kind of good at spotting when other authors are doing this kind of thing.

For example, (and I say this full well knowing it can never be proven) J.K. Rowling has said that she planned the snake Nagini being a maledictus and having this huge backstory of once being human (that is coming to light in the new Fantastic Beasts movie) all the way back when she was writing the Sorcerer's Stone. However, I'm skeptical of this. I think she came up with the idea much later and thought...hey...this is a thing that I didn't have planned but it totally could fit into this narrative and people will hail me as a genius. You know what? I'll just claim that it happened since the beginning. Yup...I planned it all.

And my response to that is an eye roll and something along the lines of, "Ooookay...yeah...sure you did." And we'll just leave it at that. Who knows? Maybe she actually did have it all planned out. I'm just sayin' seems unlikely.

Anyway...pantsing and improvisation is as important a part of creativity as just about anything else. And that's what has evolved in me since I began writing.


  1. I like what you say about plotting away but then impulsively following an inspiration. I try to lay down a plot, but I've found time and again that when my characters are really alive they take over the story and do and say things I hadn't planned. Sounds kinda schizophrenic, but it works for me.

  2. "But willfully following inspiration points on the spur of the moment can lead to some really weird and creative areas of a story." <---I couldn't agree more with this. I love my storyboards and plans, but I do try to follow those spur-of-the-moment ideas that crop up out of nowhere. It doesn't always lead somewhere good, but the moments when it does are just great.

    I'm NaNo-ing this month, which means there's a lot more improv going into my writing than usual. I'll have to wait and see what happens to it all in December. :)

  3. Some people do plan like that. But considering she didn't know the first story was going to grow into so much, I rather doubt she planned it from the beginning.

  4. George Lucas said stuff like that about Star Wars and I also think it's 🐃💩. Really I think it's like a quarterback in football has a play in the huddle but if he sees an opportunity at the line he can run a different play instead.

  5. Very much a plotter myself (but you know that), but I do leave enough room for sudden detours to occur should they occur. Something the unexpected keeps things rolling. :)

  6. There is something to be said for going the way something takes you, even if you planned something different. As for Rowling, I totally believe that many things she says she planned from the beginning were planned from the beginning. They might not have been completely fleshed out, but the germ of the idea was there. Of course, that's just speculation.

  7. I'm also a plotter, but some of my best ideas come into the story midstream. It's like the characters start talking for themselves and that's when the story gets real good. Or at least fun to write. I'll leave the decision of quality up to the readers.