Friday, October 06, 2006

Where Creativity and Technology Meet

I’m giving a short (as in three minutes) talk tomorrow and the topic is on how technology has most impacted your creative process.

Boy, let me count the ways! Because there are tons.

1. Putting me in touch with the vast community of other writers out there.

I have met some of my closest and dearest writing buddies through online writing forums and e-groups. We talk writing craft like lunatics, wrestling with plot, pov, pacing, character, conflict, pretty much any aspect of craft or the writing process you can name. And in the act of wallowing in all these different processes, my own becomes richer, I get to try new things, and even if they don’t work in the long run, they almost always jiggle something loose or spark an aha! moment, which makes them worth their weight in gold.

2. The World of Publishing at my fingertips

Never before has information on agents and editors and different publishing houses been so plentiful. If there’s an agent or editor you’re interested in, chances are you can find out much about him or her through the internet; who they represent or publish, what types of books they like, which conferences they’ll be attending. Some are very accessible and will often offer advice on how to make your work stand out or what common problems they see with first novels, offering you a chance to do some much needed polishing before submitting your work. Being closely in touch with the industry fuels my creativity in a big way, reminds me I’m part of this amazing process of getting books in front of readers.

3. Research

Okay, first I have to confess right up front that I’m a major research geek. But the truth is, there are books I couldn’t have written if not for the internet and the research I had access to. The most striking example of this is my May 2007 book, Theodosia Throckmorton and the Serpents of Chaos. This book takes place in Edwardian London, a place I certainly have never been. It also jaunts off to Egypt at the turn of the century, another place (and time) I have yet to visit. The beauty of the internet is that I found everything I needed to research this book, from maps of London around the turn of the century, to diagrams of the layout of pharaoh’s tombs in the Valley of the Kings, information on Egyptian gods and goddesses, archaeology, to the logistics of Edwardian life, such as transportation, lighting, and even the political climate. I was like a kid in a candy shop!

4. Connecting with my readers

The internet allows writers to connect with their readers like never before. From websites and email to blogs, writers have all sorts of way to communicate with their audience. I adore hearing from my readers, knowing what they thought about a book, even the parts that weren’t their favorite and I love having even more ways to connect with them. (But I don’t have to convince you guys, do I!)

Hah! It just occurred to me; the question was, What ways has technology impacted your creativity? Notice how I kind equated technology with the internet!

Pretty obvious which technology has had the greatest impact on me!



life just a good

Katy Cooper said...

The PC made the first big impact on my creativity. All of a sudden, revision didn't also mean mammoth retyping--I could (and can) quickly and easily fix things are wrong, and I can get myself back on the story's true path when I go astray. (I started writing with a typewriter, lo, these many years ago.)

And then everything you said about the internet ;).

Sheri said...

WKS--wholeheartedly! I used to write on "Ol' Ironsides", my affectionate nickname for this enormously heavy typewriter my mom brought home from the post office where she worked. Portable it was NOT!! LOL! I pounded out many a term paper and short story on that beast over the years. I still miss it sometimes...

However, I love the versatility that I get from using a PC. Errors are easily corrected and storage is compact--no more pages and pages of story laying around to sort through and scribble notes on!!

The internet--omg, how could I live without it? If I didn't have the internet I would have never met all of these great people who have helped me SO much with my writing and taught me about the craft itself... I lean towards the research part of it also--can't believe all the stuff I have learned over the years from it!

What about cell phones? Digital voice recorders? I use my recorder to record ideas as I am working because I can't write them down while driving my bus!! And I can't live without my cell phone--I don't know how that has anything to do with MY creativity, but I get a LOT of calling done while going to and from work or running errands because of my cell phone.