Radcon Day 1

We left the house at 7am this morning. This from a girl that doesn’t usually wake up till 11am because I work nights, but we needed to get over the pass and into Pasco before my first panel today.

The pass we usually take was closed due to snow so we had to take the longer route. It was also snowing but not as bad as the main route. It will also be better when we drive home because it’s closer to Pasco so it will still be light when we get there. We usually end up driving over the pass in the middle of the night, and that isn’t fun when it’s snowing and you can’t see any lines on the windy roads.

We made great time and got to Pasco just after 2pm. My first panel was at 3:15 on (re)tired genres. It was a good discussion with several other authors. We mostly talked about revitalizeing “tired” genres and making something new from them. The second panel was right afterward concerning how big a fish you need to be. Another good panel with a couple of good authors. Neither panel had very many people in the audience, but it was day one and the majority of the participants get here on Saturday so it wasn’t that surprising.

Still, it was awesome to get to be on the panel this time instead of listening from the audience. And I love that my badge says pro.

After my two panels we had dinner, than headed back to the room where I finished Ghostly Intentions”. That means a new edit when I get home, then I can publish this thing and get back to work on the next Half Blood Sorceress novel! Yes!

Also, Prophecy by Barlight is free this weekend. And if you’re in Pasco I’ll be selling some paperback books and giving away pins.


The Circle of Creativity

There is a wonderful book called “Steal Like an Artist”, and I read it once, a while back.

It seems like such a simple thing. As an artist working in paint and pencil our art teachers started us off by having us replicate other artists work. Musicians start by learning scales and move up to covering some of their favorite musicians, or some of those considered the best in their industry.

In fact if you go back to classic Renascence paintings you will see many with the same theme, or pose. A few are quite clear that the copied another. Van Gogh copied Millet. A large percentage of music all use the same four cords, all the way back to Pachelbel. We won’t even get into all of the movies influenced by other or outright remake them. Then there is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and the thousands of adaptations.

Art, all art no matter the medium, is a flow of thought and action. It is the combined totality of all that we’ve known an experienced. All that we’ve watched, tried, emulated, and retold.

But to learn to produce your own art it usually stars by imitating old art. Writers will try writing fan fic, or write in similar styles to authors they enjoyed reading. Artist will try reproducing techniques, images, and variants that they see in other artists. Musicians will practice their favorite songs before they start writing their own. Even game designers will start by programming simple games before striking out on new adventures.

Yes, there are the occasional creators that come up with their content very shortly out of the gate. But I would say that is more rare then creators who mimic before creating.

Think of it like a child. When you are a baby you don’t blurt out whole sentences. You say sounds, then words, ten mimic people around you. Finally, after months of practice, you start saying whole sentences, then paragraphs and stories of your own. The creative process is much the same.

And then it circles around. The things you create inspire the next generation of artist. The things you create will inspire new creations. Then you’ll consume new art and experiences from new areas and that will influence your continued growth. As long as you are living you are gathering new pieces to add into your canvas of creation.

So don’t be afraid to mimic now and then. I happen to know some great movies that started by making fun of some existing movies. I know a couple of books that came about by mashing up ideas from other books.

And if you’d like some more inspiration, I really suggest reading “Steal Like and Artist“.