Thursday, July 23, 2009
Calling to My Muse
With my edits complete and sent to my agent, I found myself returning to the next book in my series. It had been over a month since I had last worked on it. After a quick read of the hundred or so pages I had written, I sat down to pick up where I had left off.
At first there were no problems. The story came with ease, several pages added. And then it slowly puttered to a stop.
I found myself writing a couple of sentences, and then checking my email. Writing a few more, and then checking facebook. Then AQ Connect (a fantastic site for writers, by the way). Then trying to figure out whether I should make burgers for dinner or a curry. Of course I'd go back, but it was only to tap out a few words here and there. Perhaps a complete sentence, even.
Now, I'm sure this happens to all writers. Their muse goes on holiday and abandons them to the deafening silence in their head. So what do you do? Personally, I force myself to write with hopes of tempting my muse back. And usually it works.
I know part of my problem stems from the fact that I write with no outline. Nothing but a vague idea as to where the story is going. Not that I haven't tried outlines, chapter summaries and character sheets. They just don't work for me. My characters tend to have a mind of their own and refuse to behave themselves. They're so very bad.
However, if my manuscript has gone nowhere in over a week's time despite my best efforts to write, and I'm still in a muse-less hell, then I know I've taken a wrong turn somewhere. I've taken the story down a road it does not want to go down, and I've written myself into a corner.
For me, there is only one thing to be done, an extreme measure to be sure. I look over the storyline and try to find where I took the wrong turn. And then the hard part. I highlight pages and pages of text, and with my heart pounding in my head, feeling as if I might pass out, I hit the delete key.
Okay, so I've got a copy saved. Just in case. But chances are those pages will never get used if the story has gone down a different road. Hours, days, weeks of writing. Useless. *Sigh*
A sacrifice made in my muse's name. She is once again pleased.