Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Got Creativity? by Susan J. Reinhardt

Has God given you an idea for a book? Today, Susan Reinhardt shares her road to creating a "surprise" novel. -- Sandy

Susan: Words don't always appear on paper in a burst of creative energy. Non-fiction is my first love. I wrote not because I was particularly inspired but because a need arose. So, I set about the task of writing a Christmas skit, short pieces for kids, Sunday School materials, and devotionals.

My entry into fiction took me by surprise. During a trip to Gettysburg in December 2004, I "heard" the voices of the forefathers as fading echoes. All efforts to put that experience in written form failed until my late husband one day declared, "That's it! That's your book, and you'll write it in four months and call it Ghosts of the Past."

Yeah, right.

I couldn't shake his words, so I turned on the computer and wrote one sentence after another. While inspiration occasionally flowed, most of the time the story came out in painful spurts. After exactly four months, the manuscript reached 55,000 words, and I typed, "The End." Ahem, we all know that's never, "The End."

True creativity often doesn't reach its zenith until the editing process is complete. Often, I'll be reading through my rough draft and see how I can strengthen a scene or even an entire plot line. As a seat-of-the-pants writer, my theme develops through character interactions and the situations they encounter.

My experience level with fiction was nil, and it took me eight years (minus a two-year hiatus to nurse my husband until his death) to get the manuscript into publishable condition. Along the way, the title changed from Echoes of the Past to The Moses Conspiracy. It went from 55,000 to 90,000-plus words.

While inspiration provided vision, studying the craft gave me the tools to communicate what was in my heart. It's not an either/or scenario, but rather a marriage of both. God's gifts, including writing, come in seed form and must be nurtured to reach their full potential.

Got creativity? Great! Water it with prayer (time spent with the Lord), practice (all those techniques you're learning), patience (publishing is slow), perseverance (stick with it), and punctuality (showing up when it's time to write).

What do you do to grow your creativity? Have you ever had an idea sneak up and surprise you, perhaps from the get-go or maybe during the editing process?


Susan J. Reinhardt's publishing credits include her novels, The Moses Conspiracy, The Christmas Wish, and
The Scent of Fear, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.

Links for Susan:

Blog:  Christian Writer/Reader Connection

Twitter:  @susanjreinhardt

I'm also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.