Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Attack of the Twin Brains

Okay, so I'm a fan of 1950's sci-fi movies. Actually, my hubby is, but after almost 20 years of marriage, I've learned to become one, too. Some of the old black and white sci-fi's we take quite seriously, but there are a few... In the Mystery Science Theater tradition, we get together with friends a couple of times a year and have what we call "Stupid Movie Night" where we watch a couple of oldies and add our own comments or just get a honk out of pre space-age thinking about taking off your helmet to see if you can breathe the atmosphere on the moon, or some low-budget special effects--like an actor tripping over the carpet and knocking over a tombstone in what's supposed to be a cemetery. We love 'em!

Actually, what I wanted to talk about today was how my brain works (scary!). Right now, I'm working on a book that isn't an Intrigue, and like I've discovered in the past, it really taps into a different part of my brain than what I use when writing my Intrigues. I find that when I'm writing an Intrigue, it's a very intellectual experience for me--the depth of emotion is there in every book I write, I think, at least, it is for me--but when I write for Blaze or a paranormal like I'm working on now, I find it's more of an instinctive journey. Like my Intrigues, I spend a good deal of time thinking through my characters and getting to know them and their backstory, conflicts and goals. But, perhaps it's because of the complex mystery elements that I usually put into my Intrigues, I spend more brain energy thinking about details like clues, red herrings, turning points, juxtaposing conflicts, etc. when I'm writing romantic suspense.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm still pretty much a pantser, no matter what I'm writing. I have scenes or plot points like guide posts in my head. I know I want to include those 4 or 5 things in my story, but I have no idea how I'm getting from point A to point B, etc. But with my Intrigues, I believe I stew over things more. Maybe I edit more as I go along, fine-tuning things. But with a Blaze or paranormal, I really just kind of trust my gut and see where the story will take me.

So, depending on what type of story I'm writing, I find it to be a very different experience. I think that's a good thing, creatively--my brain and creative energies don't get quite so worn out. I love switching up the creative process--it keeps it fresh.

Maybe it's similar to reading tastes. I have to be in the right mood or frame of mind to get into a certain type of book. Usually, I'm in a romantic suspense frame of mind. But sometimes, I'm looking for something else--steam, magic, simplicity, straight mystery, action adventure, non-fiction, a classic, etc.--that's probably appealing to a different part of my brain.

Do other writers and readers have this same dichotomy? Do your brains work differently, depending on what you're writing or reading?

Happy Reading,
Julie Miller

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