Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

The Brainstorming Wall


I step back and admire the wall. It’s an expanse that stretches the length of my writing office, but more. It’s bigger than it looks because it’s curved just enough to add a couple feet to the length.

So, what’s on my brainstorming wall? A fresh coat of ideas, put up this morning with the help of some close writing friends. (I actually started writing this post last night, but distractions abound.) I’m trying to sort out my notes, matching them with the colored splashes on the wall. Still looking for that juicy tomato–wait, there it is, under the alfredo splotch.

“What the hell, love?” My Muse appears beside me. “Were you finished with it? The old storm? I thought you were still working on the revision.”

I glance at him. He’s dressed down in black sweatpants and a faded UCLA sweatshirt. “Slumming today?”

He shoves his sleeves to his elbows and crosses his arms on his chest. “You’ve been doing well, young Padawan.”

“Um, yeah, don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“Do ‘Star Wars’ lines. Your Australian accent just doesn’t work with the whole Ewan McGregor thing. Or Liam Neeson. Or whomever.”

He puts a hand over his heart. “That hurts.”

“Har, har. The draft of my WIP is based on the old storm. This here is for the next round of revision.”

He approaches the wall, then swipes a finger against a grape jelly splash. “What’s this one?”

“That’s the one for compressing the FAA investigation timeline. I think it’s a great idea. I just have to figure out how to work that in with how long the victim was dating her current boyfriend, not that it’ll matter in the big picture. It just ups the tension for the main character.”

“So, what you’re telling me is I’d better take my vacation now.” He licks the jelly off his finger.

Um, give me just a moment. *mental side trip*  Sigh. *fans face with hand*

“Why do you need to take a vacation? I’m working on my WIP every day. You haven’t had to kick my ass the past couple weeks. I thought you’d be enjoying this smooth run.”

“Oh, I am, love.” He wraps an arm around my shoulders and squeezes. “You’re doing great. Keep it up.”

If you have close writing friends, use them for sounding boards when you have a story idea or plot knot. I’m fortunate to have my writing sisters. They’ve been instrumental in the plot revisions for my WIP, and their suggestions have made the story far stronger than it started out to be.

Writing friends are also good for reality checks, simply because they’ve had different life experiences than you have. I have a stalker in my WIP. One of my writing sisters had some insight on stalkers/predators, and reminded me how someone would really behave if they had a stalker in their past.

Whew! Caught it before I got too far into revisions.

These days, technology allows us to keep in touch with people all over the globe. I’ve got writing friends I’ve never met in person, but whom I feel I could hang out with at a coffee house or library (well, maybe not library–might get too rowdy 😉 ) for an afternoon and talk writing.

Gotta get back to it. My Muse is starting to pace.

Write on!







Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have 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. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, three 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.

9 thoughts on “The Brainstorming Wall

  1. Brainstorming with other writers is a great way to work through plot holes and walls. And CPs are the best at picking up on things we overlook. I love the fact that technology enables us to communicate with so many others around the globe, making connections we couldn’t have otherwise.

    I can’t wait until your WIP sees the light of day and I discover what it’s all about. As you said–write on! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right! Skype calls are so nice for keeping in touch; I had a conference call with a couple of my writing sisters, and besides hashing through my plot, we were able to see each other.

      I can’t either 🙂 ! I’m about halfway through the first revision of my WIP, and now I’m coming down with the nasty knock-you-on-your-ass cold my hubby’s been fighting for the past few days. Sigh. The worst part is the foggy head that makes thinking a futile exercise. Oh, and the fatigue. I wonder if a couple shots of cinnamon whiskey would help…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s crappy trying to function creatively when you don’t feel well. I’ve been dealing with back pain (even had a side trip to the ER last week) and am on some meds that are fogging my brain. Hopefully, I can kick them to the curb soon. I’ve got too much to do to be down and out.

        Hope you feel better soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So true, Julie. Those writing buddies see things that we all too easily miss because we know the work too well or lack experience. I have two veterans in my writing group, which comes in very handy for the military stuff. Good luck with the WIP. The muse should be happy with all the effort!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so nice when you can connect with sources like that through a writing group. It’s amazing, I think, and so much easier these days with social media.

      My Muse is getting comfortable, I think, since I’ve been trucking along pretty well on my WIP. My writing conference is mid-April, and I’m planning to pitch it, so I need to keep pushing to get it done. Then it’ll be garden time again. Why does time seem to speed up the older I get? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. With your muse and writing friends you sound all set! It’s amazing the ease and relative low cost in keeping in contact with anyone around the globe; before even a short call cost enough to make you gulp. So happy for you with all the support – it makes all the difference. I look forward to learning more about your WIP in due course…but you gave us some tasty titbits today. Have a lovely day, Julie. Sunny and warmish here so I could even enjoy a cup of tea on the bench! Yippee! You’re invited for the next time – though it might have to be virtually! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika! Ooo, tea out on the bench–I could’ve done that a couple days ago when it hit 58 degrees F here (in Feb! OMG!). Now, not so much–back down to a high below freezing. The joys of living in MN!

      It’s so cool–you’re right, it wasn’t that long ago the cost of a long-distance (intercontinental?) phone call was high enough that you thought twice about it. One of my writing sisters is on the West Coast, and one just a state over, and we enjoyed our Skype group call. And to be in contact with writers across the globe is just that easy these days.

      Enjoy your tea, and hope your weather stays nice. Spring is right around the corner 😀 !

      Liked by 1 person

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