Monday, March 12, 2007

SUM3 WEEK

Joyce Ellen Armond loves sappy love songs and face-eating monsters with equal enthusiasm. Her personal passion is melding the genres of romance and horror. From her home base in rural Pennsylvania, waiting for the zombie apocalypse, she edits the Speculative Romance Online website and newsletter.

You can read more of her short romantic speculative fiction at Quantum Kiss (www.quantumkiss.com) and her debut novel BONDS OF DARKNESS at Liquid Silver Books (www.liquidsilverbooks.com). You can visit her website at www.joyceellenarmond.com.

Armond's contribution to SUM3 is the contemporary paranormal....or is it an urban fantasy....or science fiction story entitled "Attraction of Otherness”, wherein the vampire legend is revised in a very extraterrestrial way. For the story behind this story, visit Joyce's note to readers here. For an excerpt click here.


A few people have commented on my vision of vampire in "Attraction of Otherness," employing descriptors like creative, new or different. Truth is, it isn't anything new at all. I just gathered interesting, otherwise unrelated items and tidbits and scrambled them together. That's why it feels new and different, and that's what creativity is. It's scrambling unrelated ideas into a personal vision.

Speculative fiction authors feel undue pressure to come up with "new" ideas. This fear of doing what's already been done haunted me for years. I hated to finish one project, because I feared I'd never have an idea good enough again. The books I loved would mock me: you'll never be this creative, give up, be an accountant!

Now I know that such fears are just so much self-defeating bullshit. I don't have to experience a startlingly new Eureka moment, pulling an entirely new concept from the air like Athena out of Zeus's head. (It was Athena, right? Minerva? Athena? The chick with the owl. You get the point.)

Creativity isn't really creation, as in poof abracadabra from darkness comes light. Creativity is synergy: taking unrelated ideas and scrambling them into a personal vision. So all I need, to be creative, is to gather lots of interesting tidbits and facts and opinion and, well, stuff, and know my personal vision.

That's what the News 2 Use feature in the blog and newsletter is about: tidbit gathering. Idea grazing. In this instance, gluttony is a virtue. (Too bad it can't translate to potato chips.)

Knowing personal vision, that's a little more difficult. I fear that a large swath of humans on the planet today can't stand being alone in the room without the television on. How can they perform the introspective, sometimes creepy, sometimes humbling task of getting to know what makes them tick well enough to translate it into storytelling decisions? But…that feels like another blog topic.

In "Attraction of Otherness," I poured a vampire concept I read in a book about monster-hunting, the pervasive cultural conviction of a government alien cover-up, my constant creative coveting of the Clarice Starling-Hannibal Lechter relationship and erotic kissing into the idea blender. The resulting purée I poured through the cheesecloth of my personal vision (creepiness, suspense, distrust of authority, challenging relationships, and loving evil), and voila: a tasty vampire smoothie that feels new and different.

Do you fear hitting the bottom of your idea well? Then I pose two important questions. If you answer no to either or both, I'd suggest that's your problem(s).

Do you gather tidbits and graze ideas? If no, go to the Specrom website. On the News 2 Use page, I've compiled a buffet of links. Feed often.

Do you know your personal vision? If no, shut off American Idol (that shit will rot your brain, anyway) and shake hands with your expectations, your prejudices, your dreams and your dark sides.

I am of course a fan of your dark sides. Because that's my personal vision.

-Joyce Ellen Armond


SUM3 at Amazon

SUM3 at Fictionwise

SUM3 Website Extravaganza

1 comment:

Meankitty Says... said...

I don't think I saw the word SYNERGY in here more than once? What's up with that? :)