Stirring the Creativity Pot

The Hyatt Embassy CD was full on Sunday afternoon with people wanting to know the secrets of creating fresh ideas for plots and characters from some highly creative people. The panel, moderated by Bill Fawcett, consisted of Chris A. Jackson, Janny Wurts, Jim Butcher, and Chelsea Quinn Yarboro.

This Q&A session brought out some interesting points on how each writer works with their characters. Yarboro and Jackson stated that their characters talk to them. The characters will be loud until you do something about it. If you ignore your characters, however, they may shut up and you will no longer be creative. Pay attention to what the characters tell you. They are right; you are wrong. Everyone laughed, but everyone wrote that gem down.

Butcher had a somewhat different approach. Yes, he listens to his characters, but he is in charge. At the end of the day, they work for him. He wants them all on the same page. There is a valid point to that.

Granted, there is no perfect way to write with characters. Go with what works for you, as long as you are producing.

The entire panel agreed that other authors motivated them. Read a lot of authors and read a variety of authors. This is what helped them create their first works. Jackson was drawn to the gaming industry, Wurts doodled and daydreamed about stories and art, wanting to make her own, Butcher wrote his first story in the third grade and kept going, and Yarboro was only six years old when she wrote her first short story. It was 18 pages long.

Fawcett also took some questions from the audience. The questions varied from specific writing techniques to “which author would you be if they could be someone else.” The answer to the latter question was interesting in the fact that no one on the panel chose people in the sci-fi and fantasy genre. The audience realized that you should read across the genres. These authors did, and are successes in their fields. It does make a difference.

The session ended too soon. Lots of notes were taken, ideas started percolating, and there may a trip or two to the library.

Author of the article

Award-winning author Amanda Faith may have been raised in Dayton, but her heart and home is in the South. With a lifelong love of teaching and writing, she had plenty of encouragement from teachers and friends along the way. Loving a good puzzle has always been a fascination, and writing gives her the outlet to put all the pieces together. Being adventurous and loving to try new things, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves in unusual situations. She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how they interact, taking them on journeys they would never have normally experienced. Her current adventure working as a high school English professor turned Media Specialist, writing, and doing paranormal investigations doesn’t slow her down from having a great time with a plethora of hobbies. Her published credits include several short stories, poetry, several journal articles, her doctoral dissertation, and her award-winning book Strength of Spirit. With multiple degrees, she has a passion for learning and exploring new venues. She is a staff writer for The Daily Dragon at Dragon Con. Check out her new website ( or on Instagram (@dramandafaith)