Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Identity crisis?

10 Comments

It’s mid-week, and we’re on the uphill climb toward seasonable temps. Again. Who likes waking up to temperatures within 10 degrees of freezing a week before Memorial Day? Granted, we do live in MN, and having snow after May Day is not unheard of, but we had a week of “OMG, it feels like summer”, then “OMG, is it fall already?”, to “OMG, it’s too darn hot and sticky for May”, and now “WTF, Memorial Day is a week away and there’s frost warnings? Glad I didn’t plant my tomatoes or peppers yet”.

The cooler weather has been good for walks–not too hot or cold. Walks are always good for communing with the muses, and my Muse. There’s something about the process that fuels creativity and encourages brainstorming. One of my writing sisters calls it “walking meditation”. Today’s walk along a trail took me through a small wooded area resplendent in fresh spring greenery, columbine and violets, Canada geese lounging on a pond shore, and the highlight of my walk: two pairs of geese guarding their broods. There’s nothing quite like a gander hissing at you, and wondering if he feels threatened enough–even though you’re trying to be non-threatening–to charge. Luckily, he didn’t.

During my walk, I brainstormed about my WIP, since I’m working on the first round of revision. Then I realized what my MC was missing. I know her core fear, but the cause of that fear wasn’t as concrete as it needs to be to create a believable character. She needs a change in her backstory, which will change her character. It won’t be a huge change, but the added facet to her backstory will change how she behaves and reacts in certain situations. Sigh. Better now, though, than after half a dozen rounds of revision.

Have you completed a draft with a character, started revising, and discovered the character needs to be a different sort of person than s/he started out to be? Did you make the discovery before you’d gotten too far through the revision process, or did you get to the critique or beta reader stage, then have to go back and revise all over again?

I’ve only gotten through the first few scenes, so it won’t take too much to go back and make sure my MC acts and reacts based on her augmented backstory.

For those who are gardeners, especially in Zones 3 and 4 (you know who you are), Memorial Day weekend marks the safe time to plant the garden without fear of frost (unless you’re in North Dakota or northern MN). Get those seeds and plants in!

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Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen name: 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". Currently I have two polished novels ready for the world and a number of others waiting their turn. I write adult mystery with extrasensory elements, mystery with a touch of romance, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy. 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, one chicken, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our "au natural" hobby farm, and Ma Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

10 thoughts on “Identity crisis?

  1. We’re experiencing that crazy roller coaster weather, too. Got a gloomy, rainy, cold one today. Although we can use the rain. Grass is already starting to brown like it does in July.

    Regarding characters, I recall one in particular who was supposed to be a villain. Halfway through the book he convinced me he wasn’t all that bad and could redeem himself before than end. Since he seemed to know better than me, I gave him the go ahead. Turns out he became one of my favorite characters in the book. He’s not the hero, but he’s convinced me he needs his own story now 🙂

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  2. It’s so interesting when the characters do that! I haven’t come across an antagonist quite like that yet, but one of them has promise. I’m not working on that story right now, though. Maybe that’ll be next in line after my current WIP. So far, my villains have been pretty unrepentant.

    Today and tomorrow are going to be nice, and our 3-day weekend is predicted to be rainy. We’re up for more rain, but I’m hoping it’ll hold off until after I get the weeding done. Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend… 🙂

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  3. I think we’ve got a good weekend on tap, though not as warm as it should be. Still I would rather have that than rain over a holiday stretch. Hope yours clears up. And I have a feeling you’ll be dreaming up story plots and arc while pulling those pesky weeds! 🙂

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  4. Ahhhh, sometimes it’s really difficult to pin down these characters, isn’t it? There’s almost always at least one character who takes me several drafts to understand. I had one character who was a total pendulum, and would swing from being an arrogant jerk to being a complete gentleman. It took a long time to figure out where in the middle he fell.

    Good luck with your gardening! Hope those frosts go away soon!

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  5. I’m still trying to pin down my MC, but now that I know something in particular happened to her, it’s easier to flesh out her character.

    Finished planting last night–figured I’d just put the tomatoes and peppers in and whatever happens, happens. I just need to get those little weeds before they become big ones. They’re right at the size where they’re just big enough to rake out and are less likely to reroot. I feel like Rambo with a hoe!

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  6. I always think walking is a good way of shaking off some of the things you don’t want to be carrying around, at least temporarily, in order to focus on the things you do want to think about. Something about the physicality of walking enables that to happen.

    Our weather has been very variable in the UK lately, but then that’s nothing new! Last Thursday I had a day off work and was able to happily lay out on my lawn in a swimsuit reading, and then two days later I was contemplating getting my winter coat out again!

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