Monday, October 1, 2007

Vulcan Mind Melds and story collages

Anybody out there remember pointy-eared Spock from Star Trek? He was a hybrid, part human, part Vulcan and he could put his fingers to a person's head and sense what was in that person's mind. The technique was called the Vulcan Mind Meld.

Spock's technique came to mind today as I was thinking about where my creativity came from. Sometimes my inspiration comes from within, sometimes from without.

Like many writers, I have thoughts and voices (you have them too, you know you do!) in my head that keep after me. My only release is to write them down, which releases them from my brain. Those are the easy creative sparks. They seem to emerge spontaneously when the creative well is flowing.

There are also those other times, the times when it feels like pulling teeth to write a sentence a day. At those times, I seek out other forms of creative expression - like music or arts and crafts. Then the creativity feeds on itself. In fact, I often chose to do this at the beginning of a story - I'll start a story collage.

This involves going through my picture files and through any applicable magazines and collecting images. There are no wrong pictures. I pull out whatever catches my eye. Once I have a stack of images, I start grouping them. For my nudist colony mystery, I realized after the fact that I'd snipped out an entire living room of red furniture and accessories. That was something my subconscious had been working on unbeknownst to me, but it was absolutely perfect for my story.

Once I have the images grouped to suit me, I glue the pictures down and hang the collage from my bulletin board. That way I can refer to it as I compose at the keyboard.

When I'm in Vulcan Mind Meld mode, I absorb people's actions, the cadence of their speech, and observe their daily routines. If I need to know what sort of activities my gardener mother-in-law character would do, I seek out a local gardener and take copious notes.

One other thing I do to jump start my creative well is to walk barefoot on the beach. Something about skimming my toes through the grains of sand that wipes my brain clear of the day-to-day clutter and gets me to that place just over the horizon.

Maggie Toussaint
available now HOUSE OF LIES


Donna Michaels said...

Great post, Maggie!

I completly understand where you're coming from. And I do remember Spock. I love that show. My favorite was with the

I keep my collage on my computer. All I have to do is follow the link or open the file to take a gander.

If I get stuck, I sometimes throw on music that suits the story's mood. That helps bigtime. And if I need to step back, I'll channel my creativity in drawing.

I wish to goodness I had a beach nearby because I love the feel of sand between my toes and can absolutely agree it would wipe away the clutter.

Thanks so much for sharing your tips. I love how your brain picked out that red furniture! Amazing.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Donna! I'm so glad you came over and read my blog! You and I sound like two peas in a pod. Keep on writing! Maggie