Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Percolating stories


Remember those old percolating coffee pots? You know, the white ones with the little blue flowers on them and the wide bottom (not the tapered-bottomed ones)? Corningware, I think. My mom had one. Or maybe it belonged to my grandmother. I have no idea what happened to it.

Anyway, I always think of it when I’m working on a story, whether I’m trying to work through revisions or generating a fresh plot. I’ve learned that once I have an idea, I need to let it tumble about in my had for a bit before it really seems to take shape (I guess I could’ve used a rock tumbler for an example, but come on—coffee). It’s like watching the coffee perk in the glass knob on the coffee pot lid. At first it’s really pale, then it gets darker, more coffee-like as the flavor is infused into the water.

I like to think of it as my subconscious working the idea through in the background while I work on other stuff, like my day job. When my brain jams up on the story, a walk outside seems to knock it loose and help with the process.

Now that I’ve finished the revisions my agent suggested, I’ll let my WIP sit for a few days to let it rest before I do another read-through. By the way, don’t skip that part if you can help it. The time away gives you a bit of distance from the story so when you go back to it, it’s easier to be more objective because you don’t have that immediate familiarity with the story. Weeks or a month away from the story is even better, but sometimes you don’t have that luxury.

So, while I’m letting my manuscript chill for a bit, what should I do? I’m reading, but it seems like I should be working on stuff I know I’ll need to do in the future, like figuring out a marketing plan, even though I haven’t sent my revised manuscript to my agent yet. (My agent. Love saying that 🙂 )

Ugh. I’m doing some research on that. A number of my blogging friends have been writing posts about marketing and book promotion lately, so I’ll go through those and take some notes.

I see procrastination in my future…

At one point my agent suggested I come up with some ideas for more stories involving the characters from my book, since publishers often want more than one book (following the theory of when the third book is published books 1 and 2 sell better). I’m good with that; I like the characters from my book, and somehow playing around with new story ideas sounds like way more fun than putting together a marketing plan.

I’ve got a couple ideas, and I’ve let them percolate just long enough to get a rough idea of the story. Maybe now is the time to stick those ideas back into the pot and let them simmer some more. Maybe I’ll do some free-writing of the ideas, like a walk-through of the story, to get the ol’ creative energies fired up.

If my lap-warmer will let me. It never fails. If I’m not doing anything in particular, she just wanders around like a bored kid. As soon as I try to start anything …

This is her “I’m here so pet me” face. Or better yet, the “I’m going to sit here until you pay attention to me if I have to sit here all day and don’t bother pushing me off because I’ll be back and it might take me a bit to get comfortable so deal with it” face.

If I want to actually work, she decides it’s time for a nap in apparently the most comfortable spot she can find in the whole house: my lap.zoey2


Sometimes I’m grumpy enough to shove her off anyway before she gets comfy, but usually I relent because who doesn’t like having a cat sleep on them?

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for 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, seven 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.

19 thoughts on “Percolating stories

  1. Hooray for new ideas! I’ve had one simmering the past little while, and it’s fun to let them come into shape. Good luck with your marketing research…. Every writer’s favorite part. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the comparison of percolating ideas to those old coffee pots. We had one when I was a kid, and I used to like to watch the coffee jump around in that little glass bubble.

    I have to percolate my ideas too. I’m doing that right now with my newest WIP, because I’ve hit a few spots that need reworked, possibly with the introduction of a new character. All stuff I have to kick around in my head for a few days.

    Wishing you the best with all of your ideas and your marketing plans. Promo takes so much time, but is soooo necessary!

    And I love the cat photos, but surely you knew I would, LOL. Makes me want to go hug Raven 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mae! Yep, it seems promo and marketing stuff takes a lot of time away from actually writing, but you’re right, it is necessary.

      Wish I knew what happened to that coffee pot. My grandmother had an auction a few years back and sold a bunch of stuff. I kick myself for not “rescuing” some of the things I remember from my childhood. Oh well. Today’s nasty cold, but it’s supposed to warm up this weekend, so I’m hoping to go for a walk or two to help the percolation. Ideas seem to come so much easier for some reason when I walk.

      Go hug Raven. Go on, you know you want to 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I wouldn’t want to move the cat either…so sweet and cuddly. I love the coffe percolator of ideas image…firstly it reminded me of the one my mother had when I was young and the sound of it working away. Here’s to letting new ideas simmer, bubble around, free-writing and having creative fun. See what what your agent says to your new suggestions!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She is, but don’t tell her. She’s got enough cat ego already 😀 Yep, I remember listening to it and watching the coffee bubble into the knob and the smell of fresh coffee. Coffee smells so much better than it tastes 🙂

      I think she’ll like my ideas. I’ve got one figured out more than the other, but I think she’ll like them both. Have a great weekend, Annika, and stay off that ankle 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your lap warmer looks just like mine! Ha ha. Have fun percolating those ideas, Julie. And enjoy saying “my agent.” Why not? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And it’s an ORANGE cat no less. I love the orange kitties. Did you already know that? You’ll be proud to know I actually read through everything before scrolling for the cat pics. Percolating. blah blah blah. My agent. Yeah yeah. Third book makes the first two sell better. Blah… Well, actually, that’s cool info to know. And then FINALLY the cat! You made me work for it. But it was worth it. If he bothers you too much, feel free to ship him to me, so long as he doesn’t have a taste for hamster.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have one of those lap warmers – he can also be a very discerning editor at times.

    Liked by 1 person

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