November 17, 2007

A good deal of my writing time today was spent traveling to Peterborough for my mother’s birthday. I find driving is a great use of creative time. In fact, it’s one of my favourite ways to write. Because the creative process is largely a right-brain activity, I can let that side of me wander while the other side is occupied with navigating. (Of course, you have to stay alert. It's a little like daydreaming about something while putting your laundry in the washer.)

I often make startling discoveries about characters and their motivations while driving. In fact, the third scene in this new book, Lake on the Mountain, came about while I was coming home from a friend’s house two hours outside of Toronto. I was playing a Dizzy Gillespie CD, thinking about the differences between Gillespie’s playing and that of Miles Davis, when a conversation took shape between two people discussing the differing playing styles. That conversation was so potent it spawned an entire character, Donny, who, as the protagonist's best friend, is now a major player in the book. Up till that point I had had no sense of this character’s being involved in the story.

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