Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Musing over the Battles


Okay, so the title for this week’s blog reflects what is occupying a good portion of my mind the past couple weeks.

The sight of my waning garden inspires green-thumb battle-fatigue. It’s pretty common about now, after canning batches of tomatoes and pickles, and staring at the weeds now holding their seed heads high. The borage and cilantro have reseeded and are starting to sprout again, and I should probably plant my fall crop of spinach. Radishes, too. Yep, I should do that. I’ll get right on it…

Front and center, though, I’m talking Pitch Wars, the name-of-epic-historical-battle-here of writers striving to find an agent and get published. The submission window closed on August 17, and all 1,591 of us mentee hopefuls have been waiting anxiously for the mentor picks to be revealed. We still have days to go–September 2 isn’t coming fast enough. This is another opportunity to move forward on the path for unpublished writers. We each selected 5 out of 100+ mentors to pitch. Each mentor can select only one writer to work with for the next two months, until the agent round.

The odds are daunting, but the community is awesome. Check out the #PitchWars hashtag on Twitter to see what we’ve been up to while we’re waiting. I’ve already connected with a couple potential critique partners. My goal is to have my WIP whipped into shape by the end of NaNo this year, so I can start getting some feedback from them, as well as my writing sisters.

Speaking of my WIP, that particular battle seems daunting right now. I’m revising the first draft, and trying to work in not only the plot changes I decided on before my reunion with my writing sisters, but also the character and plot changes that came from said reunion. They’re all great changes, and will make the story stronger, but sheesh, it’s going to take some time. Kinda like that tiny garden shed and the nearby pile of lumber and nails you need to turn into a nicer, bigger shed. The tools are there, just draw up the blueprints, pull what you need from the tiny shed, and cobble it all together into a nice, shiny new one that you’ll be proud to show off to your friends.

“What is this?”

I jump when the flat of the machete blade hits my desk.Β “Hey, watch out with that thing.”

He’s frowning, hands on hips, dressed in a red and black flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled halfway up his muscular forearms. He’s exchanged his sneakers for hiking boots, and his jeans are a faded indigo. Mmm, the outdoorsman look suits him quite well. My Muse picks up the blade and brandishes it. “What are you planning to use this for?”

“Put that away. I was going to use it on my WIP.”

He slings it toward the floor. A metallic thud echoes in the office when it buries its tip in the wood. “Tell me you’re joking.”

“You didn’t find it in my writing area, did you? That should tell you something. Oh, and did you catch the ‘was’ in the previous statement, oh Mister I’m-Going-To-Ride-Your-Ass-Until-You-Get-Your-Revisions-Done?”

“Not funny, love. This,” he wrenches the blade free, “isΒ not how you revise.”

“It is if I’m cutting half of the first draft.”

“You’re not cutting half of the first draft.” The way he’s twirling the blade makes me a bit nervous.

“Put that down before you hurt someone.”

He pulls a sheath from somewhere and slides the machete into it. I lunge for the knife, but he holds it out of reach. I almost collide with him–he steadies me with a hand to my shoulder. Those blue eyes of his narrow. “It’s mine, now. And you don’t need to cut half the draft.”

He smells like the woods, like evergreen and that outdoor scent that makes me think of autumn. “I realize that now. I can rework some of the scenes to support the new plot and character backstories, but I’ll still have to cut out a big chunk. C’mon, it’s a first draft. It needs to be overhauled.”

“Not with this.” He tosses the sheathed blade aside. “You need to focus. Stop thinking about Pitch Wars for two days. Nothing’s going to happen until next week, and nothing you do on Twitter will change that.”

“You never know. Brenda opened the submission window early. She’s doing a live interview on Tuesday. I need to make sure I’m there. She might end up posting stuff early.” Man, I hate waiting like this. I have to remember it’s just like sending a query off to an agent. Patience is the key.

He presses his finger to my forehead. “Focus. This is what you need to revise your WIP. This,” and he moves his finger to my chest, “and this. Mind and heart.” He waves that finger at me, like he’s scolding. “Now, sit your ass down, get your MP3s going, and write. I’ll be right here when you need me.”

He’s right, as usual. My goal for tonight: get through the next two scenes in my WIP. Maybe even through the blizzard scene.

Oh, a couple things. Check out the Meet Your Main Character blog for the first post by our newest member. Stop by and enjoy!

Secondly, a huge shout-out to my writing sister who just signed the contract for her second MG novel. Congratulations, BB! Check out her debut novel, Canned and Crushed. It’s a great read, and something elementary-aged boys will enjoy.


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.

5 thoughts on “Musing over the Battles

  1. Just a few more days, Julie. September 2nd is almost here! In the meantime, I think your muse has some very sound advice πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He’s right, Julie, carve out some time to focus. Writing can’t be rushed, and if you squeeze it in between the spinach and tomatoes, it doesn’t get enough sunlight to grow. And good luck with the pitch battles! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great advice, and some I try to remember on a regular basis. Been avoiding the garden for a couple days, but it’s been cool, so everything’s slowed down some. Still, this coming week is supposed to be hot again, so things will ramp up in the garden. Thanks! Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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