Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Muses and Pitches


foggy frosty

Fog + Hoarfrost = muse

I’m not sure if Mother Nature is taking pity on us due to the frigid November we had, feels guilty because of last year’s hideous winter, or is just teasing us. Get this: we’re going to have ABOVE FREEZING temps for more than a day. Actually, the weather geeks are predicting three or four days of (relatively) warm weather today through the weekend. Now, consider I’m in MN, and it’s almost mid-December.

Woo Hoo! Happy dance! Enjoy it while it lasts. No sun, but hey, warm is warm. Less gloomy would be nice, but at least we aren’t getting pounded like the coasts are. A writer friend in CA is hoping the road to town hasn’t washed out. Both my CA writer friends insist the Ark hasn’t floated by, but there are rumors of animals lining up in pairs.

Now that the NaNoWriMo hangover is past, it’s time to start exercising the muse again. The foggy mornings in our area are great for inspiration; hoarfrost-coated trees and the thick silence from the blanket of mist are wonderful muses. Even if you are somewhere less foggy, try writing a short passage about a natural muse that draws out your creative energy.

Imagine stepping out into a clearing at the edge of a creek. Skeletal trees peek through the white curtain, frosted with thick, crystalline needles stacked upon each other like cloaks made from icy hedgehogs. Brown weeds brandish frozen spines left by the ground-level cloud. It’s the silence that really stands out. The fog dampens any sound, and birds seem reluctant to disturb the quiet. Any sound you make is swallowed by the mist. Every breath is heavy with moisture. The clean taste of the fog brings to mind tranquil ponds and fine waterfall spray.

For those of us who are working on garnering representation for our book(s), anyone participating in the various pitch contests (Twitter and others)? It’s tough enough to try and boil down your precious novel into a query of couple short paragraphs that give enough information about the story in such a way that an agent feels compelled to request a partial—ideally a full–manuscript. Now try shrinking that into 140 characters (minus the 9 characters in, say, the #PitchMAS tag). That leaves 131 characters to lure an agent into asking for more. That’s characters, mind you, including spaces. Still haven’t found that genie lamp. Note to self: use one wish to write a super-intriguing 131 character pitch for Daughter of Pele that will have agents clamoring for my mss.

There’s another pitch party I just tossed into in which the pitches are restricted to 35 words. Even that is a challenge. With a cross-genre book (detective mystery with psychic elements and just a dash of sci-fi), it gets even more tricky. As a writer of adult fiction, I stare at the prevalence of YA on wishlists posted by the agents who participate in these parties, and wonder if I could possibly bring myself to write YA.

Er, nope. New adult, maybe. My epic fantasy’s main character is about 18 or 19 years old. Time to pull that out, dust it off, and hit the Revise button.


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.

2 thoughts on “Muses and Pitches

  1. THERE’S A REVISE BUTTON!? [Desperately searches keyboard, flips it over, searches again ]


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