Steps in Creating Something
- Orientation - defining the problem that needs to be solved
- Preparation - gathering relevant information
- Incubation - setting the thing aside and doing other stuff, meanwhile figuring out things in the background
- Illumination - after awhile of incubation, a solution suddenly comes to you
- Verification - you check out the insight you had and make use of it (or else go back to stages 2-3, I guess)
That's a pretty good description of how I write essays or other assignments. Stages 1 & 2 occur when I read the work I need to write about, find out my assignment and then reread what I'd most like to write my essay about. If I don't have an idea right away, I let it simmer a bit and then decide what exactly I want to write about (stages 3 & 4) and then I write it (stage 5). But I also write fantasy stories on my own time, a more creative act than writing an essay, and I don't follow these stages at all in writing fantasy.
Here's my impression of what steps I do follow:
- I have an idea - like, for example, 'imagine if a half-vampire was going around biting people and then pretending to hunt himself down in order to get money?' These ideas can come from reading another story, pondering some problem, having a weird dream, whatever. I don't always know where the idea came from, but often I do.
- I ponder the idea a bit, and maybe combine it with other ideas, let it simmer awhile, and eventually come up with a starting scene and (hopefully) a plot.
- I write the starting scene, and keep on writing along the plot, stopping when I get stuck on something.
- I talk over what I'm stuck on with someone else, or just let it simmer awhile. Then I get another idea, and either keep on writing from where I was before or rewrite part of the story and continue.
- Eventually, I come to a point where I can say that it's done. Usually by then I've had ideas for a sequel, whether or not I write one depends on how good my ideas are.
Anyone else want to share?