The creative process. It’s like magic. Something happens when you sit down to create. I can’t explain it – I don’t suppose any artist can – but something comes from nothing. If you can keep it up, before long you might have a 100K word novel.
Sometimes, when you finish a manuscript, it is good. Not great. And definitely not bad. Just… good. ”Did you like that book?” asks one reader of another. ”Yeah, it was good,” comes the answer. Just… good. You can be proud of that.
Sometimes the story doesn’t turn out like you wanted. For whatever reason maybe the plot doesn’t flow. It feels contrived. Or forced. Perhaps the characters don’t link the plot to the reader like you’d hoped and there’s no emotional connection. Sure, it was a great idea, all your ideas are great, but it just didn’t turn out. You might be proud you finished but it’s more of a learning experience.
And sometimes, not very often, you get a diamond in the rough. You see, an author doesn’t write a great novel in a vacuum. The best he can do (I’m going to say ‘he’ because that’s what I am) is a diamond in the rough. That’s what the Acknowledgements section in the front of a novel is for. The people who took that rough jewel and turned it into the Hope Diamond. This is what’s happening at PlotForge. It’s happening right now and is wondrous to behold.
I ‘finished’ Viridis last year. It was good. It really was. It had a great story, likable characters, a solid connection between characters and plot. The emotionality was there. It had great potential. It was a diamond in the rough. But it was the best I, working alone, could make it.
That was the situation when Terri first saw Viridis. She read it and liked it, said it was “good,” maybe even better than good. She also said, “It has problems.” Then she asked if she could try something with Chapter One. I said, “Sure,” knowing I’d reject whatever she had to say. I mean, this was my novel. And she wasn’t even published. What could she possibly know? Then I read her changes. They were subtle, the touch of a true artist. And beautiful. How could someone else bring tears to my eyes when it was my novel?! You see, Terri is a genius with characters, dialog, and voice. We both knew at that moment that we were meant to work together and that was the genesis of PlotForge.
Terri is now powering her way through Viridis on a full edit and something wonderful is happening. Viridis is becoming what I always wanted it to be. The transformation is delicate, most of the words are still “mine,” but the execution has transcended me. Through her sheer brilliance it is now our novel and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Viridis is becoming great. The facets of that rough gem are being revealed. And when we send it out now, I will no longer have those nagging doubts about this chapter, or that subplot, or some character. It will be truly perfect. Without both of us this would never have happened.
I thought the creative process was when I sat down alone and transferred my imagination into text. I was wrong. The Creative Process is when two or more people, with complimentary talents, sit down and unselfishly merge their brains to create a product that transcends the group. That is the creative process.