What has preparation got to do with creativity?
Preparation is the first of the (click here) seven steps I have recently written about concerning creativity in business. Although you might not think it involves your creative side, preparation is an essential part of the process. If you are looking for a solution or planning a new initiative, you need to understand the question before rushing to an answer. You want to know what research other people have already done on the subject, if you don’t want to reinvent the wheel.
What preparation do I do as a writer?
I research the background. I want to be as authentic as possible. Of course, in fiction you can alter some of the facts to make the story work better, but do it intentionally. I recently took a trip to Cardiff to remind myself of some of the locations I am using in Accounting for Murder, Book II, Old Money. In particular, I visited Castell Coch, where I have set much of the action. I am glad I did so. I will change a few things to make it more realistic but overall I am more certain than ever that I have chosen the right location for the story.
When do I do more preparation?
For historical novels, which I write under a pseudonym, I always need to do more research, so as to be true to the period and to incorporate as many historical facts as I can. They give a framework for the fiction.
Preparation for me includes reading other fiction and other kinds of reading. Studying modern grammar comes into it too. I am amazed how much has changed since I was at school, especially capitalisation.
What if you have begun working on an idea without preparation?
Do not despair. Preparation obviously ought to come before anything else, but your situation, although not ideal, is not necessarily beyond repair. Go back and do it now. Be ready to rethink some of your ideas. It’s only too late once you have gone live. Doing things in the right order usually saves time in the long run, but we live in the real world. Even fiction writers!
Coming soon: the lightbulb moment, aka Inspiration!