Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Break the Tape!



It’s here! The last day of NaNoWriMo 2014. I crossed the finish line a couple days ago, but I’m still working on the project. For those of you still typing madly toward the 50k-word mark, GO! GO! WRITE! WRITE! You can do it! Get another cup of coffee and keep going!

I found this year’s NaNo to be tougher than in years past, mostly due to real life interrupting my writing time, space, and mind. Partially due to my failure to fully outline and connect with my project this year. My muse spent a lot of time in the shadows of all things real life. When I say “outline”, I mean a road map, a path from start to finish, but I don’t restrict my characters to the path. If they want to take detours, I’ll let them.

There is something, though, about the connection to your characters. If I can’t connect to the character, anything I write feels stiff and wooden, like the acting in some of those old B-movies. And some newer ones, like Liam Hemsworth as Gale in Mockingjay Part 1, which I saw last weekend with my daughter. OMG, talk about a stiff, wooden delivery of any lines or actions. Granted, Gale is kinda pissed at Katniss, but Liam doesn’t seem to be comfortable with the role at all.

Needless to say, I’m still trying to connect to my characters in this current project. It’s coming, but I might have to set them aside for a bit. Still, I’d like to at least get to the end before I set it aside. (NOTE: No one said you had to finish the book in 30 days, just write 50,000 words. And since most adult novels are around 80k-90k words in length, I’m good with not finishing the story by 11/30 this year.)

Now the holi-daze begins. Baking, band concerts, snowstorms, and shopping all work to keep the muse away. Now, though, is the time to keep up the habit you’ve developed over the past 30 days: Write Every Day. Even if it’s a blog post. Even if it’s only one more page in your novel. Even if all you can think to write is “I don’t know what to write”, just do it. So you don’t know what to write, that’s fine. Then try to describe the blinking holiday lights without using the words “blink” or “flashing”. Try to describe the smell of the Christmas tree without using the word “pine”.

Any little thing you can do to write will keep your muse at your side, ready to jump in and keep the creative energy rolling.

Write on!


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.

4 thoughts on “Break the Tape!

  1. Congratulations on another NaNoWriMo victory!


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