Wednesday, July 30, 2014


By JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

I usually don’t think about creativity. I’m a disgustingly practical person—my writing is like a 9 to 5 job. I get up in the morning, exercise a half hour and start in. I don’t expect—and most often don’t get—writer’s block. When I get stuck, I take a day off and a new path opens up for me.

But two months ago, I was on a camping retreat—away from cell phones and appointments. It gave me time to think about creativity and I learned just where creativity kicks in in my writing.

When editing!

I’m a plotter, not a pantzer. I don’t start writing until I have outlined the novel’s structure by chapter and scene, the story question and conflict points, and a roughing out of the dialogue interlaced with a dab of setting. The novel by this point has form, but it doesn’t have life.

Editing to me is like creating sculpture. The beauty is found as the excess parts are chipped away.

Life enters the novel during the multiple times I go over the words on each page. It’s where I find that exact combination of words which look good to the eye and ring true to the ear. Editing seeks the hidden, buried life in the draft, exposes it to the light and makes each novel a breathing, pulsating and unique story.

The first novel I breathed life into was my medieval romantic suspense, MATILDA’S SONG. It took me four years of polishing and re-polishing until I learned enough craft to build a gripping story out of the tribulations of the characters.

I’ve been blessed with finding a creative endeavor that brings me joy. My most recent novel is EXPECT TROUBLE, where the U.S. government recruits psychics to find Nazi spies on the East Coast during WWII. Buy it at discount from OTP’s bookstore.

I found my life purpose. My question to you is:  How and when does creativity express itself in your life
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Robert Richter said...

Interesting post on the writing life, the sculpted work. For me, a particular work is more organic, like an exorcism.

JoAnnAinsworth said...

The differences in writing styles,
Robert, creates our unique voices. I tried a pantzer style, but it wasn't for me.