Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Creative energies–welcome back! #amwriting #amrevising


Author doubts never go away. I think that’s been why I’ve been struggling with–what do they call it? Second book blues? The book two curse? Fear of book two not being as good as book one?

After seven first drafts, I think I have it figured out. Oh, and taking a novel-writing class helps, too. Especially my latest assignment: a set-piece scene. A set-piece scene is one that sets the tone, and includes conflict, emotion, and the senses. It’s a memorable scene that might be the midpoint crisis, or the climax, or at any point in the book.

The class example of a set-piece scene was the circus scene from Water for Elephants, where all hell breaks loose, the animals start stampeding, and the ringmaster gets … well, no spoilers.

I wanted to get something to my writing teacher before she left on vacation, so I tried to figure out what scene in my WIP would be considered a set-piece scene, or rather, what scene could I write that could be considered a set-piece scene.

I took a walk to ponder the possibilities, and came up with something I thought would work. It’s near the midpoint of the story, and puts my main character in danger.

Here’s the weird part: I drafted the scene, looked at it the next morning and tweaked it a bit, then submitted it. The verdict? Yes, it was a set-piece scene, and it was pretty good, too. I can feel the creative energy coming back.

“Because you listened to me, love.” My Muse, who has been keeping one of the recliners in a corner of my writing office warm, sets his crossword puzzle aside. Apparently his pub crawl buddies are all busy.

“I’m writing, and you’re doing crosswords? Seriously?”

He taps a temple with his pen. “Keeps the mind sharp.”

“Oh? American or Australian crosswords?”

“British. I like a challenge.”

Which is probably why he hasn’t given up on me yet.

He levers himself out of the chair and crosses my office, shoving the cuffs of his long-sleeved t-shirt to his elbows. The royal blue of the t-shirt almost coordinates with his purple Vikings helmet-covered lounge pants. I feel like I should microwave some popcorn and put in a movie, ala slumber party.

“I won’t give up on you, love. And after you went through the feedback from your Writing Sisters again, you’ve been much more receptive to my suggestions. You’re starting the revisions now, right?” He shakes a finger at me to emphasize his point. “Don’t get hung up on the revisions. You know better. Revise what you need to and keep going.”

“My next homework is an outline. I want to have that done by the time my teacher is back from vacation. And I have another bookstore signing tomorrow.”

He wraps an arm around my shoulders. “Don’t worry about the outline. That’s a piece of cake. You’re getting your momentum back.” He squeezes, and plants a kiss on my forehead. “Keep it up, love. You’re doing good.”

I feel better about the story. That set-piece scene kicked off some other ideas that for some reason hadn’t been apparent to me before. And the changes will give a stronger motive to one of the characters; it’ll make his actions much more believable.

This is the part about writing I really like, the creative energy that makes me want to find a nice quiet place and do nothing but write without worrying about anything else.

Enjoy one of the last weekends of summer!

zoey chair mine
What? You got up, so it’s mine now.

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, six 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.

29 thoughts on “Creative energies–welcome back! #amwriting #amrevising

  1. I’d leave a congratulatory and encouraging reply here, but I’m too busy packing. I’ve GOT to go find me a Muse like yours! I’m pretty sure he’d solve all my writing problems–and if not, who cares? I’d have a sexy, t-shirt and lounge pants-wearing Muse hanging around all day. Be still, my heart! πŸ˜€ ❀ πŸ˜€

    Seriously, sounds like you're improving your approach to your WIP every day and I am absolutely confident you'll soon whip it into place, Muse or no Muse. (But WITH a Muse would be better. Much better.)

    Good luck going forward, and as usual, great post! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Definitely better with a Muse πŸ˜€ Oh, man. I do not envy packing for a move. We just moved our daughter to her apartment for school. Ugh. Luckily our son and his girlfriend were available to help unload.

      Thank you so much for the encouragement, Marcia! And good luck with your packing–may your travels be safe πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooops, sorry. It was only metaphorical packing for my Grand Muse Search. (I’d throw myself off a tall building if I had to pack for a full-on, real life move! ACK!!) I’m just wandering off in the clouds, poking here and there to see if there are any unemployed Muses I bribe into coming home with me, especially if they resemble yours in any way whatsoever. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aha! I’ll see if my Muse knows of any others looking for a writer. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m really glad you’re feeling that energy flow, Julie. Isn’t it a great feeling? And sometimes it really is just a matter of readjusting a scene or two, and all of the ideas start coming. I’m glad for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good for you Julie, it is a wonderful feel when the flow is back again. You go girl and produce
    a stunning piece. With Mr Hunk about you should be o.k. 😊 .


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember the second book in my thriller series. Luckily I was inspired so I just had to fill in the blanks but that third book–I struggled until that too found its direction. Now, I can’t wait to get back to it (gotta finish my Man vs. Nature saga first!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you about wanting to get back to an earlier project. I have another project I want to work on, but I need to get this WIP done first. Love the wave of creative energy I’m hitting right now. So if I could put my day job on hold….. πŸ˜€

      Have a great week, Jacqui!


  5. In many ways, I think second novels might be harder than the first. I’m glad your novel-writing instructor (and your muse) are helping you through it.

    Too bad you lost your seat, though. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! As soon as I get up to get a drink of water or go to the bathroom, Zoey races to my chair, jumps in, and dares me to take it back. Needless to say, she knows I’m bigger and will squish her if she doesn’t move. Never stops her from playing the game, though πŸ˜€

      I’m so glad I decided to take the class to help me with book 2. And my writing teacher is fantastic! (So is my Muse, but I don’t want to stoke his ego too much πŸ˜€ )

      Have a great writing week, Staci!


  6. It’s good when we get our mojo back.

    Writing ain’t easy. See ya!


    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s great when the words begin to flow again. Whoever said writing is easy…lied!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Looks to me like Zoey is getting ready to leap into my arms.
    So glad the writing exercise lodged something loose in your brain. It’s all going to come together. Don’t you worry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! She thinks she’s so sneaky. She waits until I get up to get a drink of water, then races to my chair, jumps in, and waits for me to return so she can show me how much she enjoys my spot! Then I tell her I’ll sit on her if she doesn’t leave. She usually vacates my chair before I sit πŸ˜€

      Yes, the writing exercise seems to stir things up. Now to utilize that energy πŸ˜€

      Have a wonderful week, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Those who do not write have no inkling what the process entails or the emotional trials that hover and nag. I rely on my critique partner and writing group to keep the WIP on track and wait for the books that aren’t a struggle, the rare ones where the brain sails along on inspiration and it all comes pouring out in a gush.
    Know that we all suffer from doubt and the better for it. I get leery when I feel too confident about what I’ve put on the page. The trick is figuring out if it’s working or not, because after 20 books, the process gets easier. And scarier in another way. The writer’s brain is a curious thing. That’s some Muse you have!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love those books that seem to flow so easily! However, I find those are the stories I’ve been writing in my head for a long time before I put them on paper. My WIP is the first book I’ve worked on in which that isn’t the case, which I think is one reason I’ve been struggling with it. And yes, those who do not write have no idea what it takes to put all those words together into some semblance of an engaging story.

      Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Glad things are flowing for you, Julie! The class sounds very helpful and inspiring. Sure helps when the muse is around, too. Have a fantastic week:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it certainly helps when my Muse is around! Even if he is doing crossword puzzles–in pen! I am sooo glad I decided to take the class to help me with this book. I feel so much better about the story than I did when I started.

      Have a great week, Denise!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Second novels are tough, but they can really surprise you. The second book of my Point Pleasant series ended up being m favorite of the three.

    It sounds like you have plenty of motivation and inspiration between your writing sisters, your muse, and your teacher. Wishing you plenty more of that creative energy and mojo. Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I feel your pain with the book #2 curse. I keep second guessing myself as well. Good to feel that I’m not alone. Thanks for sharing, Julie. All the best with the second book.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This post made me want to go back and evaluate my books for the set-piece scene. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’re feeling the creative energy returning, Julie. It’s a great feeling. πŸ™‚ Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s