If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

C.R.E.A.T.E. with Cathy Pickens

This past Saturday, a friend and I drove to Charleston, S.C., to hear Cathy Pickens speak about C.R.E.A.T.E. (Capture, Ramble, Engage, Act, Tweak, Expand). She described her research, discoveries, and methodology about how creativity can he harnessed, developed, and nurtured.

Known in the mystery writing community as a past President of Sisters in Crime and current Secretary of the Mystery Writers of America, Cathy writes the award-winning Southern Fried series, featuring lawyer Avery Andrews who returns to her small upstate South Carolina town to practice law and ends up solving murders. At Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina, Cathy is recognized as an award-winning administrator and professor of business law and ethics.

Into this mix of accomplishment, she has brought her own quest to learn how the creative mind operates and as a result has written a nonfiction book, C.R.E.A.T.E....Your Path. Hopefully, it will be published soon, because what Cathy has to say is important, inspiring, and invigorating for both business and fiction writing pursuits.
Cathy begins her presentation by handing participants a page with twelve circles and asks that they draw as many things with circles as possible as quickly as they can. When she calls time, she has the class compare results. Some draw within each circle, others draw around each circle, and still others combine several circles to create a picture. No answer is wrong. Seeing the variety opens minds to new approaches.

Even though she believes persistence trumps talent, Cathy has discovered that every creative venture is developed in stages. By using the acronym C.R.E.A.T.E., she demonstrates the progression of the creative process. The first stage is to "capture," or observe or recognize the potential of ideas. Cathy recommends using your filing system of preference. She keeps a hand-written notebook handy to record observations, leaving space to categorize entries and provide a rough index when the notebook is full.

The second is to "ramble." At this point, the creator has to venture out of his comfort zone, read and study what he wants to do, test his limits, and confront his fears. Cathy speaks about a childhood experience of telling her grandfather, a man adept at dealing with children, that she was afraid. He gave her comfort by responding, "What's the worst thing that can happen? They may kill you, but they can't eat you." (I think it prophetic that a future mystery author would find that phrase reassuring. After all, isn't it part of the hero's journey to encounter a symbolic death in order to revive and reestablish himself?)

Stage three is to "engage," or encounter "the voice of doom" yet continue on with the task. The fourth stage is to settle down to work, to "act." Stage five is to "tweak," to edit or revise. Cathy cautions to make this fifth stage an internal process at first, then solicit feedback gradually so the creator maintains control in developing the result. Finally, the sixth stage is to "expand," or when you reach the end of one project, be ready to proceed to the next.

Anyone who has heard Cathy speak knows that she brings life experiences and humor to her presentations and that she can distill a concept as well as provide excellent additional resources for participants who wish to delve further into a topic. If you have the opportunity to attend her C.R.E.A.T.E. workshop, I strongly encourage you to go. What you learn will help you approach any task with new eyes and enhanced vision.

What have you done lately to spur your creative juices?


James Montgomery Jackson said...

I'm sorry I wasn't able to attend the meeting. It sounds like Cathy is a great speaker and has an engaging topic.

For me, the issue is not creativity, but selection. I've always said about myself that I am filled with ideas - and sometimes they are even good ones.

In thinking through Cathy's C.R.E.A.T.E. process, I can get most stuck in engaging the voice of doom -- and so realizing it is just one of six steps can be helpful in getting past it.

Thanks for the great summary of Cathy's process.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

Thanks, Jim. I always learn from Cathy. She'll be at Malice Domestic, so I hope you can see her there.

Meanwhile, CONGRATULATIONS on the launch of your new book, Bad Policy. Hope it's a great day for you!

Warren Bull said...

Sounds like an interesting approach. For me reading the paper, listening unobtrusively and meeting people who would make good character are sources of inspiration.

Gloria Alden said...

I've heard Cathy speak often at Malice and find her quite interesting. I love her mystery series, too, and look forward every year to getting the latest at Malice.

I have more ideas than I have time to put down. Like Warren, I get a lot of my ideas from the newspaper.

E. B. Davis said...

Like Jim, I always have ideas, but it is getting an idea to transform into a workable story. What Cathy proposes seems to be applicable to all of the arts, not just writing. Glad you found it helpful, Paula. It is an interesting process.

B.K. Stevens said...

I enjoyed your summary, Paula. Like Cathy, I jot observations and story ideas down in notebooks (and sometimes, depending on time and energy, type them into a master list). Some ideas have hibernated in the notebooks for years or even decades before something wakes them up; sometimes, combining a new idea with an old one leads to a story.

Carla Damron said...

I love this conceptual framework. Cathy is wicked smart. This needs to get published SOON!