Because I've been in no less than three baking and pastry courses, two of which allow a fair amount of artistic freedom, a lot of my observations on creativity lately have related to the culinary field. It's not so unrelated to my writing as I originally assumed, though, and I've found a lot of parallels and similarities.
Dessert plating, which takes into account color, shape, texture and taste, and includes at minimum a main component, a sauce and a garnish. (I suppose you could stretch the metaphor and say that ... no, you couldn't, because I'm reluctant to say that "plot" is automatically the main component, or relegate "setting" to the garnish. But I digress.) As I've progressed through my coursework, I've learned some things about my plating style:
I don't like overly complex, cluttered plating with multiple elements that serve only a decorative purpose. (Read: purple prose. ;-) See also: stories that go out of their way to be clever and experimental. No, I am not bashing either of these things in themselves, but I have read stories where it seems like the author's only purpose is to be "weird," and everything else has gotten lost. The experiment should serve the story, not the other way around.)
I don't like plate design to be overly regimented or organized. A little chaos / messiness / randomness is very appealing to me. (Stories, especially in the shorter category, can be *too* neat and tidy. Life is messy, and fantastic worlds reflect this.)
I like abstract designs and odd shapes. (I wouldn't call myself an experimental writer, but I definitely trend to tackling odd topics and dealing with them faithfully.)
I have trouble conceptualizing the design of a plate in my head. To really discern what I want to do, I need to have all the potential elements laid out, where I can physically play with them a bit before plating. (This is also how I write: I create in-depth character and world profiles so I have all the pieces developed in technicolor, but I do very little plotting in advance.)
You can never have enough sorbet or ice cream. (In fiction, I ...
Nope, I got nothing.)