Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Muses and Mondays

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Welcome to Monday and the first day of the work week!

You may notice that your muse heads out early and stay out late on Sunday nights. Whether it is the prospect of being set aside for the work day or mental realignment for non-fiction instructional writing versus fiction telling-a-story writing, it seems like my muse abandons me for a bit. I was inspired until evening, and then poof! I was itching to write, but didn’t really feel I could focus on yet another revision of my contemporary fantasy novel. I needed my Muse’s help for that, and he was enjoying Happy Hour somewhere without me.

Instead I turned to critiquing a book passed to me by a family member. This self-published book (well, printed and bound at least) was written by a friend of his, and he wants honest feedback. It can be a great learning experience when you go through someone else’s writing and notice things that lead you to examine your own writing.

This book, however, is a bit of a challenge to critique in a way that will help the writer improve and yet not damage the core of the story. I hate to say it, but I wanted to throw the book across the room when I finally found out what sort of creature the main character was. I had been led on a merry journey with actions and activities that made little sense–until put into the context of the type of creature at the center of the story. Had I known up front what the main character was, my impression of the story would have been different. Note to other writers: tell the reader what the main character is up front if it isn’t a person. Please.

There are a lot of little things in the book that add up to big things that need revision to the point where the entire book really needs to be rewritten. How do I politely tell the author to overhaul his story? This was about the time my Muse decided to reappear, toss an arm around my shoulders, and remind me I was a more-experienced fiction writer who needed to provide guidance to a less-experienced fiction writer. I told him to sit his ass down and help me. He gave me a dirty look that said ‘Be nice’, but he stuck around.

And now it’s back-to-the-grind Monday. Don’t let the start of the work week put your inspiration or creativity on hold. Take five minutes here and there to generate ideas and let them percolate for the day. Even if you aren’t actively thinking about the creative process, somewhere your muse is juggling and shuffling those bits around. Especially if you have a commute, you have that time to check in with your muse to see the progress. Who knows, by the end of the day, when you’re crossing the threshold of your home and tossing your keys onto the counter, you may have the outline of your next awesome short story, poem, or novel.


Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

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