I've recently been asked a question about my process when creating a story. Answering this is not easy, I have to admit. I usually have a general idea of the direction I want to go in, but that's about it. Whether it's a rough idea for a plot, an intriguing character, or even a melody for a piece of music, the final product is often revealed at the end of the journey, which makes the creative process exciting and unpredictable.
The path from initial concept to final result is rarely linear. It's an adventure filled with many trials and tribulations that ultimately shape the final piece. For me, each creation is a testament to that journey, an embodiment of the challenges faced and overcome. As creators, we often notice the imperfections in our creations, tempting us to endlessly tweak and polish them. But it's important to know when it's time to put a project aside and start a new one, assessing whether further editing would really improve the quality.
Over the past few years, my creative process has undergone a significant change. I used to plan my stories meticulously from top to bottom, detailing every scene, every character and every plot point. I was a planner and enjoyed the process of examining the story from every possible angle.
However, I soon realised that I was spending more time preparing than actually writing. The intricate planning process began to take me away from the joy of storytelling. To get away from this, I experimented with writing without a plan, letting the story unfold spontaneously. While this brought back the joy of writing, it felt somewhat aimless and the story lacked coherence and direction.
The turning point came during the pandemic, when I was looking for new ways to immerse myself in fantasy worlds and recharge my creative batteries. I discovered the Mythic Game Master Emulator, a role-playing game tool that helped me both advance the story and simulate the world's reactions to character actions. This tool allowed me to experience adventures in a new light and significantly influenced my storytelling process.
The game involved progressing through scenes, each with a beginning, a goal and an end. I found this process remarkably similar to writing a story. I knew the end goal and the steps necessary to advance the plot, but the story had plenty of room to evolve and take unexpected turns. This approach struck the perfect balance between planning and spontaneous storytelling.
In terms of writing, my process has evolved into a mixture of plotting and pantsing, a technique commonly referred to as 'plantsing'. I have a rough plan, but also leave room for surprises and improvisation as the story unfolds.
I'm still refining this approach, and many of the stories I publish here are products of this new method. I'm curious about your creative processes. How do you approach your work, and how has it evolved over time? Leave a comment below; I'd love to hear from you!