A Swarm of Lightning


“You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

In an amazing turn of events, the above quote, which I posted a few weeks ago, has never felt truer.

I’ve been busy the last couple of weeks.  Good busy.  Happy busy.  Writing busy.

My new project, tentatively titled DEVIOUS, has been humming along.  I’m a big plotter, so while I’ve done a bit of drafting here and there, I’ve mostly been working on the finer points of the story and making sure I’m bringing the most vibrant, memorable, real characters to the page as possible.

And while I’ve been busy, it seems that my imagination has been, too.  I guess the more ideas I come up with for this story, the more ideas I have.  And, even more importantly, the better those ideas become.  Creativity isn’t a finite well, it’s a stream.  Follow the stream, you find a river.  Follow the river, you get to the ocean.  Follow the ocean… the Earth is flat?? (idk.)

Either way, I feel like I’ve reached the ocean.

As I was sitting at my favorite coffee shop last Friday, making my way through my second cup of coffee, it happened.  It started as a small, what if? in the back of my mind.  A small lightning bolt – a boltlet, perhaps.  Something that hammered home the theme of the book through a revelation about a minor character.

With a smile, I happily began typing up my boltlet thoughts (read: pounding on my keyboard like a gorilla).  Then it happened again.  A full-fledged strike this time.  Electrified, I started typing faster, but the revelations just kept coming.  It was so overwhelming that I had to sit back and let the thoughts simply play out.  I’d be able to write down the relevant parts when my mind reached the logical conclusion.

By the end of the day the entire story had transformed.  Not in a way that forced me to throw everything I’d already created away, but in a way that shifted the axis just a bit.  In a way that made everything better.

It all worked.  The project had now come together in a way I had never thought was possible.  And damn it’s going to be a hell of a ride to write (and hopefully read!).

And even better – for the first time, I was actually more excited about this story than the one I’d just finished.  I could finally see it.  I could finally envision how it could be even better than what I’d just written (something I’d been struggling with for a while).

I guess the lesson to myself is this – don’t stop, no matter how repetitive or excruciating the work you’re doing may seem (i.e. figuring out the exact timelines of the plot, the backstories of the minor characters, etc.).

Creative lightning is never more than a breath away.

15 comments on “A Swarm of Lightning”

  1. Thanks David. I feel inspired. Simultaneously, procrastinating by reading email and other’s blogposts. The story is waiting! I’m making progress. At the same time, waiting for that boltlet to strike me with the overarching conflict to be resolved. It’s flickering like heat-lightning.

  2. All the hard parts of writing are worth it when you hit this point 😀 I feel like I’m on the cusp of this lightning as well! Let’s both keep going and ride this storm!!

  3. I wrote my first book in 4 1/2 months and wrote the first chapter of my first fiction during that time…words fell from my fingers like water from a rockfall. During this time, I also wrote my nutrition book and had it (and the other 2 books) completed upon graduation from graduate school. Maya was right – she usually was. Kudos on your ‘jolts’ of inspiration! Gorgeous pic, btw – I’ve always loved thunderstorms.

  4. “Creativity isn’t a finite well, it’s a stream. Follow the stream, you find a river. Follow the river, you get to the ocean. Follow the ocean… the Earth is flat?? (idk.)” Nope, the world is round, so this is an infinite circle. Yes, at times you’ll end up back in a stream, but now you know the ocean is somewhere ahead of you, so keep swimming.

    Isn’t it fun when you finally ‘get’ the story? I wrote a lot of little one-shot fan fiction stories that are all part of a greater Chronicle (I think you read the one about the bench). For a time, I didn’t write anything about this one character. I knew it was a male child of the two main characters, but I didn’t have a sense of who he was to really do anything with him. When I finally did get a handle on him, I had great fun bringing him to life on paper. And he proved to be one of the favorites of my readers.

    Sounds like you’re experiencing that with the new story. You just met, you weren’t sure about them, but then you really got to know them and, yeah, you really like this story! Congrats!

    1. So fun once it finally clicks.

      And yes – just like what happened with your character, it was all about a huge realization for one of the most important people in the story that ended up changing the whole narrative for the better. And now I can’t wait to bring him/her to life! Hopefully he/she will be a reader favorite too

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