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The Joys of Mental Sex: Lesson IV

November 27, 2009

The Creative Process & the Flow Army

  • The Imaginative Phase

The Scout: This is our Discoverer, our Inner-child. She is filled with wonder and everything is a mystery and a delight. She is not logical, practical or staid. She wants to know all and loves to play. She is always looking for a new experiences and thrills in discovery. Her favorite questions are “Why?” and “Why not?”

 This is our role for searching out new information & resources.

 The Strategist: This is our Virtuoso or Muse-Minder, poet, artist, story-crafter. She accompanies the scout on expeditions with pad and pencil to capture discoveries. Her favorite question is “What if?” She plays with metaphors, ambiguities and paradoxes. She takes the fruits of discovery and weaves one thought to another until she develops an attack plan or story idea/structure. She finds ways around obstacles. She crosses mountains, fords streams. She takes the hero and heroine on an adventure and their happily-ever-after is her reward.

 Caution: Once the Strategist starts crafting, she needs some alone time, unless she gets absolutely stuck on a plot point and cannot move onward without asking for help. Don’t let the Scout run out to discover something like the color of the Macrae clan plaid, unless it’s vital to the plot. Your Scout has so many “Why” and “Why not” questions that she’ll try to put you in perpetual research mode if you’re not careful. All non-plot related questions can be discovered later. Don’t let the Commander evaluate until the story structure is finished. What seems pointless or unnecessary during mid-planning may make more sense when the Strategist is through. If the Commander is needed for advice, bring him in as a jester. (We’ll talk more about that later). NEVER let your Soldier jump in and start writing without a letting your Strategist complete the battle plan (or whatever prelims are necessary if you are a pantzer), otherwise your troops may end up in disarray. You could end up with 3 nice opening chapters and no end for your story.

 Let your Strategist do her job and apply the craft before you write. This is our role for turning resources into ideas.

  •  The Practical Phase

The Commander: This is our judge, adjudicator, internal-editor and advisor) She evaluates the plans of the strategist, determine the feasibility of execution, and dispatch the plans to the Soldier after answering the question: will this story work? Then after the entire rough draft is written, the Commander want to know: Did this story work?

This is our role for evaluating & enhancing plans.

 Note: The Commander is what some people will tell you is an analytical left brain function… The letters BS come to mind. Analysis, logic, patterns, etc. are all part of the creative process. Never forget that and editors will like you more.

 Another Note: The Commander is also your critique partner’s best friend. Your job when critiquing isn’t to write someone else’s story. It’s to evaluate what’s working and what’s not working. To point out where the craft is slipping or the characters don’t make sense, etc. Never overlook the importance of the Commander, but like all commanders, don’t let her try to control the other creative phases. Let her do her job when needed and not interfere when she should be taking a break from the war room.

 The Soldier: This is our virago (or if you are male, warrior), our champion. She acts on information from the other three to implement the ideas and put our masterpiece together. She takes the battle plan and implements it with ruthless determination. She writes. And writes. And writes. Sometimes the story takes an unexpected twist. She may get help from the Commander or Strategist. Then she goes back to writing and writes through to the end. This is our role for carrying ideas into action

 These are the four mindsets within the creative process. They apply whether you are writing a book or planning a backyard garden. Knowing what mindset you are in and what mindset you should be in will help you master creative flow. These mindsets in proper mode will not only help you write, they will help you set goals and meet goals.

 Sometimes they work together. Sometimes they work alone. Whether you think of them as analytical or creative, they are all vital to victory.

 Assignment for next Lesson: Look outside and tell me the color of the sky.

 Happy Holidays and Happy Writing!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2009 6:49 pm

    The sky over Memphis today was light blue with a few clouds.

  2. February 5, 2010 6:55 pm

    It looks like you are a true specialist. Did you study about the matter? hrhr

    • February 19, 2010 8:50 am

      Hi Dideneish: So sorry, I just saw this. It somehow went to my spam filter.
      Before my wreck, I used to do creativity trainig seminars for corporations, writers, actors, or anyone else who wanted them. I had a very good trainer, during the “years of excellence.”

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