Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Feedback + Brainstorm = Revisions


I open the door to my writing office.

And stop.

Colored index cards cascade across my writing desk atop a collection of notebooks, along with an assortment of writing instruments. Hey, that’s where my purple highlighter went.

The white board has copied itself to another wall, but instead of my plotline, the new board is covered with titled lists for a couple of the characters in my WIP.

Two recliners flank the small refrigerator in the corner, and a wicker basket filled with microwave popcorn and Ghirardelli chocolates occupy a small table nearby. A stuffed Toothless toy dragon guards the basket.

Hoo boy. And my Muse is nowhere in sight. Outside the window the vista morphs into a scene overlooking forested hills with trees just starting to change into their autumn colors. The rolling gurgle of a stream over rocks accompanies the view.

“Will this work for you, love?” My Muse comes up behind me and nudges me the rest of the way into my writing office so he can close the door. He’s wearing his burgundy henley, sleeves shoved to his elbows, and jeans. He smells like apple cider and rain and that indescribable scent men have when they come in from working outside that makes you want to–er, cuddle with them on the couch and watch a movie (That’s what I was going to say. Honest šŸ™‚ ). You know, before they get really sweaty and smelly.

I shake off the distraction. “What the hell?”

He crosses to the corner and pulls a bottle of New Glarus Brewery’s Moon Man from the fridge. “What do you mean, ‘what the hell’? You’ve got a direction, you’ve got a deadline, and I’m not going to let you screw that up. You’re too close.” He wraps me in a warm embrace ending with a hearty pat on my back before he opens the beer and hands it to me. “I’m proud of you, love. You’re almost there.”

I feel like someone set up a surprise party for me but forgot to tell anyone to show up. “Um, o-kay. I still have a good couple months of work to do, so why all this?”

He frowns. “Really? You’re not feeling the creative vibe here?” He moves to the window. The scenery adjusts to show less hills, more green trees with blushes of autumn pink, orange, and gold. A light breeze smells like forest and earth and fall. “Better?”

“Look, this is all great, but I need to map out my edits before this.” I start to return the beer, but hesitate. Why waste good brew? I mean, he went through the trouble of opening it for me. “This is serious.”

“I know it is. You are so close. This is your chance, love. We’re going to get these revisions done, polished, reviewed by beta readers, and sent off by the end of November. This is it. I can feel it.” He tugs me toward the second white board. “Here are your notes. We need to refine the ‘what-if’ scenarios and figure out where to make the changes.” He picks up a marker and starts another list. “I wonder if I should invite Sierra and Quinn back.” He turns to me. “Would that help?”

“No. The feedback is for the victim’s character thread, a little for Sierra’s brother’s thread, and other bits and pieces. I can revise the final confrontation without them. They’d only interfere, anyway. They’re not going to like one of the changes I’m going to make.” I know writing–well, revision–is a ton of work. I can make those changes without screwing up the rest of the story, right?

A dark figure appears. Doubt.

My Muse glares at it. It vanishes with a squeak of protest. “I’m going to lock that damn Doubt up with your Night Fury.” He grabs my shoulders and shakes me until I meet his eyes. “You got this. There’s a reason things happened the other day, remember that. You got this, love.”

I had a wonderful experience this week that equals another step toward my goal. It’s finally hitting me, after a day of surreal shock. I’m really doing this. Back to two- and three-hour sessions after work to get the revisions done. No NaNoWriMo for me this year, breaking my 12-year streak, but I proved to myself last year I can do a NaNo writing marathon any time I want to (take that, 50k words in 28 days–HA!).

Have a great weekend, and WRITE!!




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.

11 thoughts on “Feedback + Brainstorm = Revisions

  1. Wow, Julie you sound like you’re on a roll! With your muse’s encouragement, the wonders of the changing scenery and all your hard work you’re really doing this. You did NaNoWriMo 12 years in a row!!!! Amazing and astonishing. Congratulations – I am humbled and in awe of you. With the revisions/edits ahead you do right to concentrate on these. Always a joy to read your posts. Have a fun happy writing weekend (+garden?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • šŸ˜€ Glad you enjoy them, Annika! Ah, yes, the garden. The sad, sad, end of season hanging on by fingertips garden. This is the time of year I’m gardened out. Except for the tomatoes, beets, and cucumbers, there’s little left, and even the tomatoes are hanging on by their fingertips with whatever fungus or disease is slowly killing them. It’s been raining the past few days, but I’m going to try to get out there tonight after work.

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re skipping NaNo for what really counts. It blows my mind that you did it for 12 years in a row. WOW! I’ve done it 3…”won” the first time then blew the other two. A Thousand Yesteryears came from my first NaNo project.

    I can tell you’re really focused on your goals. You worked hard to get to this point and with the help of your muse you’re going to kick butt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mae! With NaNo, I missed the first year, but hit it every year after. Built up a nice pile of first drafts in the process, two (well, three if you count the one I combined) of which I polished, one of which won a contest a couple years back. My current WIP is the product of my 28 day NaNo (rewritten/revised about a half dozen times šŸ™‚ )

      I need to focus. Too many opportunities for distractions otherwise (curse you, Candy Crush!) Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You had me at the basket of popcorn and chocolate. What a muse!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lots of excitement brewing here, Julie. I can feel it. Good luck with the last stretch. I’m rooting for you. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Humorous post, Julie. You have a lot going on there. šŸ™‚ — Suzanne


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