Tag Archives: writers

Totally confirming what I already knew…

I adore reading non-fiction about how the brain works, and a couple of days ago I was browsing through a hugely oversized book called “The Human Brain” by Rita Carver.  The pictures were pretty to look at, but I wasn’t truly interested by the book until I came to page 168: “Creativity and Madness”.  Here’s a quote:

Creativity and certain types of insanity share certain features, such as intense imagination, a tendency to link things that may seem unconnected to others, and openess to ideas that others may swiftly discount.  The difference between highly creative people and those who tip into madness is that creative people maintain insight.  They recognize that their imaginings are not real and remain able to control any bizarre symptoms and channel them into their work.

I always knew I don’t think the way ‘normal’ people do – now I know what sort of people I do think like.  I guess I’m not kidding when I say I have an insane brain!

Local Data

Rita Carter continues that: Very creative people score highly on tests for mental disorders but rarely fill the diagnostic criteria for these conditions, so their mental states can be seen as somewhere between normal and insane.

Yup. That is me all over.  Then she includes a cool little graph that shows the results of those test scores.  Insane people, are, as you might imagine right there at the top, in the 90%.  Normal people are at about 30-40%.  Writers (and yes, she did chose writers as her ‘highly creative’) score in at about 65-70%.

All this made me interested enough to do a quick google search.  I came up with this article, called “Creative Genius or Psychotic?”  Here’s a quote from the article:

Those who are gifted with a high level of creativity, are also predisposed to certain forms of psychoses. Indeed, even some of the traits long since considered to be associated with certain forms of mental illness are shared by those who are inherently creative. What follows will be a breakdown of creativity, intelligence and psychoses, and how they all are interrelated.

Is is psychotic of me to think this is deeply cool?

Well, until I’m published…

…and my publishers choose some god-awful cover for my books that make my readers want to rip the covers off, I’ve discovered a new game!

I’m a member of deviantart.com, and while I was browsing other artist’s collections and galleries, I thought: I wonder what a good cover for my books-in-progress would look like? So I started looking for that perfect illustration among the many talented artists of deviantart.

First, for my two book YA series, I found these:

the_stairs_by_jakatta1008

http://jakatta1008.deviantart.com/art/The-Stairs-101484373

It’s not perfect, because of the girl’s dress, but otherwise I really like it.

And for the sequel, I found these two:

girl_with_a_lantern_by_pastoral_insanity

http://pastoral-insanity.deviantart.com/art/Girl-with-a-Lantern-41365151

donning_the_mask_v2_by_darkmaidenofsorrow

http://darkmaidenofsorrow.deviantart.com/art/Donning-the-Mask-v2-42523498

Again, clothing not quite right, and Jossa, my heroine doesn’t have red hair – but the atmosphere is spot-on.

And for the book for which I’m currently writing chapters and posting to goodreads.com, I did find a few. It’s surprisingly hard to find a ‘goddess-type’ girl with red hair in an ancient Roman stola who looks conflicted about her powers, not merely murderous! Also not topless, or completely nude, but for a bit of artfully draped silk. Arassa is not a girl to rule a kingdom while dropping bits of her clothing through the throne room!

douleur____by_kor_malkor

http://kor-malkor.deviantart.com/art/Douleur-52914177

I like this one, but I’m not sure why my heroine Arassa would be so intently staring into a vase. But she does look like she’s struggling with a weighty decision, and though the clothing is a bit skimpy, at least she’s not full-on topless like so many of the deviantart goddesses are!

cassandra_by_michaelo

http://michaelo.deviantart.com/art/Cassandra-34410069

Part of the action in Arassa’s story does happen on a ship, and while I do like her hair and the torn tunic,  I’m pretty sure that Arassa won’t be walking a plank.

goddess_of_the_sky_by_ragnarokfo

http://ragnarokfo.deviantart.com/art/Goddess-of-the-Sky-94967988

So that makes this last piece of illustration the winner to date. Good hair, good costume, suitable conflict and drama…it only lacks a battlefield below the cliff she’s standing on.

Books-in-Progress

As a writer, the most difficult thing about finishing a book is trying to decide which book to write next. I have so many characters and bits and pieces of plot milling around in my head, shoving and jostling for my attention, that I have trouble deciding which I love most. Last night I got to thinking about my future books and books-in-progress, and I decided to make a list.

1) The Mask of Fate/The Mask of Destiny. This is a two book YA series, and I’m currently working on the second revision. Someday, there will be a third volume, because one of the more minor characters is still bouncing around in my head, demanding for the chance to tell her own version of events. What happens to a city that tries to shut away the rest of the world by building upward, not out, until the only the most rich live in the light, and the poor are condemned to a life in darkness? The people live by the guttering dregs of oil in a lantern, too afraid to look outside the walls, while the magic holding the walls together is slowly unraveling, and one girl has to decide for herself whether she’s the one destined to save everything or destroy it completely.

2) Arassa. This one still needs a good title – I’m about two-thirds of the way through this one, maybe a bit further. I started writing this one sort of by mistake. I was watching HBO’s Rome, and reading a lot of non-fiction about ancient Rome, and I started playing around with a couple of characters…just for my own entertainment. Although it’s “set” in ancient Rome, I changed the name of the city to “Itorica”, so I could keep all the good stuff of ancient Rome and add in all the fantastical elements I wanted. When I had about 4 or 5 chapters, I posted them for fun on Goodreads.com. When I received a pm from a stranger begging for more, I decided to keep writing and posting chapters. It’s been interesting doing it this way, because every time I post a chapter I basically lock myself in to what’s happened. I can’t just throw stuff in, knowing I’ll change it later and make it ‘right’.

3) Haunted Venice. No title as yet. This was the book I was supposed to be writing, instead of Arassa. I got the idea of a water-city like Venice – only there are creatures that live in the canals, and the water is constantly rising, forcing the people to abandon and lock up the flooded lower levels of their homes. The ghosts of the dead can be bound into stone and captured in candle flames or songbirds…. I have a few chapters of this one written.

4) Ichabod’s Bridge. A modern-day, realistic story of the friendship between two damaged teenaged boys. It’s also a murder mystery of sorts. I say “of sorts” because the mystery part of the plot is in sad disarray. It needs serious work on the rational, logical parts. But the emotional sections are the most beautiful and raw writing I’ve ever done. Some day, when I can get the plot worked through, I’m going to re-write it. All of my modern-day novels in progress thus far are interconnected through a group called Betticker & Associates. It’s an association of lawyers, who do most of their work outside the courtroom – whatever needs to be fixed, they can do it, whatever it requires. The man who comes to investigate the murder in Ichabod’s Bridge is one of Betticker’s associates.

5) Breathing Ghosts. Another modern-day novel, about a woman who suffers a car accident and wakes up with amnesia. While she’s re-learning her life, her husband, and her family, she starts to realize that she isn’t really that woman at all – a completely different set of memories are slowly coming to light, including a different name. Has her husband been lying to her, or was she lying to him? Who can she trust, if she can’t even trust herself? This one not only has Betticker & Associates in it, it also introduces LABS, Inc, my ruthless organization of scientists who tend to get on the opposite side of Betticker.

6) God’s Wolves. This one is full-on LABS, Inc, as a former employee of theirs gets uncomfortably close to some of their experimentation.

7) Time Travel. No title yet. And nothing written, but this one is seriously haunting me. If you read one of my earlier posts, this is the novel I was talking about. My Revolutionary time-traveling soldier named Flinders. LABS, Inc are probably involved in this as well; it’s the sort of thing they’d have a finger in.

8 ) Fog Ferry. No title. What if you take a ride on a perfectly normal ferry, and the ferry gets lost in the fog? Really lost, as in there’s nothing out there but fog? Shortly after I came up with idea, I took a ferry ride, and the fog really did come in and surround us, blocking out everything. It was a wonderful half hour of recording impressions and scribbling bits of plot! Would the folks who had food in their cars share with the walk-on passengers? Would they work together to survive, or lose all civilization?

9) Maxy. If I don’t have a title, the main character often becomes the working title. This one is for grade-school children. A girl goes to live with her two ‘Old Aunts’ and discovers she’s an Acquisition Odd, someone who can find things that are lost, misplaced, or hidden. The only problem is, the Dark is trying to break into her world, and she needs to find the way to keep it out, while another Acquisition Odd, a man who has never lost anything (he still has all his baby teeth in his mouth) is seeking to find a way to let it in. I’ve got a lot of this written, but I never seem to finish it.

10) Sarn. Fantasy about a prince who travels to a foreign land to marry a woman from a land that enslaves the Fae, and finds out that his new wife’s family were never interested in the marriage, but had a different plan for him and his native country.

11) Malady. A girl grows up in an iron castle. She’s despised by her uncle, and one day he hires a stranger to be her ‘bodyguard’ and possibly, she suspects, to assassinate her. But if he’s been hired to kill her, why does he keep trying to teach her how to defend herself?

12) Star Wars. Okay, there’s a story behind the working title of this one, because it’s not a Star Wars novel. The thing that fascinated me most when I watched “Revenge of the Sith” was its themes of love and betrayal. Spinning off those themes, I came up with my own story of how a man would survive the complete betrayal by someone he loves of everything he holds most sacred. Since (as usual) I have no clue of a good title, I call it by what inspired it. I have quite a lot written of this one.

13) And finally, there’s lucky thirteen: Mia. One of my very earliest attempts at a novel, and really, really bad. The dialogue alone…well, let’s just say I won’t be posting chapters from this anywhere online. However, parts of it are good enough to keep me thinking about it. One day, perhaps, I’ll go back and revise it completely. There’s a good story in there, beneath all the screamingly horrible parts. Or maybe, I’ll just cannibalize it for another novel.