Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere


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Whew! Okay, next…

I did it.

Finally.

Whew!

I finished the second first draft of my WIP.

Yep. Wrote the last sentence. The last in-line note.

So why don’t I feel like whooping and hollaring?

“Because you know you aren’t done with it.” My Muse hands me a blue foil-wrapped Mozart chocolate–oooh, the good kind–and a champagne flute not filled with bubbly. I taste it. Moscato. That works for me. “Now you’ve got a manuscript to tweak.”

“Why can’t I take a day off?”

“Because, love, you had a cold and already took a day off. You wandered off on a mental walkabout. That also counts as a day.” He opens the top drawer of my writing desk, retrieves half a ream of paper with printing on it, and drops it with a thud on my desk. “You’ve got a direction with this. You don’t need many changes, just some tweaks. By the time you finish, your WIP should be cooled off. You can start fresh with it.”

“Look, I’ve got chores that I’ve put off for, er, oh boy. I need to catch up with those. I think I saw one of the cats being chased by a monster dust bunny last night. I can’t have monster dust bunnies running loose. Pretty sure that’s what vacuum cleaners are for. And have you see the cobwebs in the bathroom? I think they’re using soap scum to reinforce their ramparts.”

He leans against my desk, arms crossed on his fine chest. “You know, I’m impressed. You’ve been writing for at least an hour, usually two, every day since NaNoWriMo started, except for the holidays, of course. You’ve pulled back from some of your online stuff, and focused on your WIP. You did good, love. You need to keep the momentum going.”

*Grumble* I drop into my chair. He’s right, of course. I, however, know I need a break. Just a day, maybe two. Long enough to switch gears from my WIP back into my manuscript. Long enough to catch up with a few chores, make some pumpkin bread, and take a deep breath or three. “I’m going to take a day. Some of it tonight, some tomorrow. Maybe even all day the next day. Deal with it.”

He frowns. “You are not going to take a break from writing the entire weekend. I’ll give you tonight and part of tomorrow. I’ll even concede to some time on Monday after work. But the whole weekend? No way.”

I lean back in my chair. He’s still wearing the fisherman’s sweater from the coffee meeting. I really like him in a nice sweater; hell, I like him in just about anything. Or noth–stop. Do not go there. “Okay. How about this–I’ve got to get back to my MeetYourMainCharacter crew; I’ve been in radio silence a bit too long. I’ll write up my assigned blog posts for second quarter and set reminders to send them out in a couple months. That’s writing.”

“Splitting hairs, more like. Your April deadline is only two months away. You want to pitch your WIP, you need to keep your head in the game. That means no days off, and no walkabouts. I will be doggin’ your ass at every turn. Capiche?”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it.”

To my blogging friends on the East Coast, stay safe during the snowstorm. We’re going to be within spitting distance of 32 degrees F on Sunday. Woo-hoo! Sure beats the -7 F highs we had last weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Keep writing!

 


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Never Rush ReWrites

As I get closer to starting my own revision, Judith has great tips to remember. Now, where’s my pencil?

Judi Lynn

Unfortunately for you, I tend to blog about whatever I’m doing at the moment.  Right now, I’m pounding out pages to finish my third romance. And yes, a deadline is in my near future. But even though I want those page numbers to grow, I still take time to rewrite as I go.

So that’s what’s on my mind at the moment.  Is it worth it?  Would it be faster, better if I just wrote the damn thing and then went back to tweak it?  Nope.  Because I wish I had patience, but I don’t. Once a book’s finished, I don’t like it as much anymore.  I happily plot the entire story ahead, and that’s all right.  The plot points are just dots on a map:

  1. Ian hires a new assistant chef to make Paula–his head chef’s–work load easier.  Tyne, the new guy, is hot and intense, but Paula’s only interested…

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Coffee with MCs

“Is this the right place?” A young woman checks a sheet of paper before knocking on the door.

The man beside her takes the paper. “I’m pretty sure it is.” He scans the area. “Seems quiet.”

The door opens. A tall man, rougish in looks and dressed in indigo jeans and a fisherman’s sweater greets them. “Glad you made it,” he says, Australian accent calling to mind images of Uluru and the Sydney Opera House. He steps aside and ushers them in. “I’m her Muse. If you have any questions, just ask.” He leads them into an office where a small round table with four chairs is set with mugs, a plate of chocolate chip cookies, and a notebook and pen.

“Hang on.” The man pulls off his gloves and stuffs them into his Minnesota Golden Gophers knit hat. “Why are we here?”

“She needs to get to know you, so I figured I’d invite you here. The rest is up to her. I’ll take your coats.”

The scent of vanilla-macadamia nut Kona coffee permeates the air, melding with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies. The new arrivals hand over their coats to the Muse, who leaves them alone in the office. The woman shrugs. “Coffee and cookies. Not bad.” She sits and pours a mug of coffee for herself and her companion. “He seems nice.”

“Uh-huh. I saw you eyeing him.”

“Hey, a girl can look, can’t she?”

#

“Are you freaking kidding me? What the hell were you thinking?”

“You need to talk to them.”

“I’m almost finished, only a couple more chapters to go. I don’t need to have coffee with them. And I never said you could use my good Hawaiian coffee.”

My Muse plants his hands on my shoulders. “Go and talk to them, love. Trust me.”

I grumble. He’s never done this before. “Fine.” I wave a finger at him. “Don’t ever do this again.” Somehow, I know he won’t listen to me. He does what he thinks will help me the most with my writing, which is his job, after all. I head into my writing office.

My–no, my Muse’s guests are enjoying my treasured Hawaiian coffee and fresh cookies. Quinn’s sitting with his back against the wall in full view of the door, carrying the wariness of a cop. Sierra’s beside him, her white lock of hair even brighter against her almost-auburn hair than I imagined. They both look up as I start to close the door.

My Muse slips in and nudges me toward an empty chair. “This is your writer, Julie. She’s got some questions for you.”

Seriously? I’m guessing the notebook is for me. I open it to the first page. Sure enough, my Muse has written some starter questions for me. I’ve heard of taking your characters to dinner, but come on. I never thought I had that much trouble getting to know my MCs.

“Before we start,” my Muse says, “let me set things up. You,” he points to Quinn, Sierra, then me, “are here to learn about each other. Think of this as a meeting between fellow writers discussing your books.”

Well, this should be interesting.

#

Hope everyone’s staying warm. We’ve got an official National Weather Service Wind Chill Warning for tonight through tomorrow. I went out to get the mail, and felt fortunate I chose to drive rather than bundle up and walk out. Our property is surrounded by fields. As soon as I cleared the grove, it was like those films set in Antarctica, the ones where the wind howls across the white expanse and carries snow like thick fog as far as the eye can see.

In case you’re wondering, the wind chill will be somewhere around 40 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit), with an air temp in the single digits below zero. So, I see hot cocoa in my future. I should be able to finish up my WIP draft tomorrow. Then on to tweaking another manuscript, a break from my WIP before digging into the first revision.

Stay warm and keep writing!


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You okay in there?

Okay, so they’re in the kitchen on opposite sides of the peninsula, and he’s got a good hold of her arm. She’s trying to keep him from pulling her over the top of the counter. No knives in range, and her free arm is in a cast and a sling.

Crap. What can I put in the drawers she can reach that will help her but not sound like I put it there on purpose? Food wrap, check. Those serrated metal edges can be used as weapons. What else? Maybe the junk drawer is here. Hmm. Screwdrivers, tack hammer, pliers, and what else? If her arm’s in a cast, it has to be something she can use without swinging her bad arm.

*knock, knock*

Really? *hits ‘Save’* “What?”

My Muse eases the door to my writing room open. “You okay in here?”

I lean back in my chair and sigh. “No. What can I put in a drawer that a person with an arm in a cast can use as a weapon?”

He leans a hip against my writing desk. Today he’s wearing a burgundy thermal Henley shirt that stretches across his defined chest, and jeans that look like he’s quite at home in them. “Food wrap boxes. They have a serrated metal strip.”

“No. She’d have to swing that. Something else.”

He sets an open bottle of craft beer next to me, and takes a swig from another. “WD-40.”

“Dude, it’s a junk drawer. There’s no room for a can of WD-40 in a junk drawer. Hell, half the junk drawers I ever owned could barely contain the junk much less tools.”

“No, love, I’m talking a pocket-sized can. They sell them at auto parts stores by the checkout, complete with their own little red straws.”

“You mean, those straws that promptly vanish the instant you put the can away? Without the straw, the WD-40 goes everywhere.” I taste my own bottle. It’s nice, with good body, not too hoppy. Reminds me of Schell’s Oktoberfest lager.

“Silly string?”

I look up at him. I have to grin at the sight of his crooked smile. “In a junk drawer? This is the home of a divorced cop with no kids. Why the hell would he have silly string in his junk drawer? A can of silly string wouldn’t even fit in a junk drawer. C’mon, you came in, and you’re the muse. Help me out, here. Once I figure this out, I can get her away from the bad guy.”

He takes another sip. “What would a cop keep in a junk,” he makes air quotes, “drawer? Anything different than anyone else?”

“You know, I hate it when you do that. Just give me a hint.”

“I did, love.” His crooked grin is joined by a mischievous glint in his baby blues.

I grumble. “Not pepper spray, because why would a cop need pepper spray in a junk drawer? Not tear gas, because you can’t just buy that. Not a Taser–again, he wouldn’t just have one in the junk drawer.”

“Why does it have to be a junk drawer?”

“What else would it be? The silverware drawer is in the corner of the peninsula, and the utensil drawer would be there, too.”

“Does he grill?”

“Sure. Doesn’t everyone?”

“Okay. Does he grill at night?”

Oh my gawd. Seriously? I open my mouth to retort, then stop as the creative wheels hit a sweet spot. I think I’ve found my answer. Maybe.

My Muse chuckles. “Got it, now?”

Arrgh. “You know, if you just listed suggestions it’d be easier for me to pick one instead of making me guess.”

“Yes, but it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.” He points the bottle at me. “Finish up. You busted your deadline by a week, and you still aren’t done. Get your ass in gear, love. We’ve got the other manuscript to tweak, and this one to polish. April will be here before you know it.”

“Don’t remind me.”

I’m trying to finish up my WIP draft, and I’m hitting some bumps. I’ve gone radio silent from some of my other groups for a bit, including my MeetYourMainCharacter.com group, for the past couple weeks so I can focus. Not that it’s helped. Still, I can see the finish tape.

Stay warm, everyone! Our temp today is all of one degree above zero, but hey, it’s sunny. Hel-looo, Winter! Don’t feel you have to stick around.