Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Ee-nee-mee-nee-mi-nee-Muse #amrevising #amreading

24 Comments

I dusted off a project I pitched a few years ago. It’s an old friend, a story I worked on for months–years. I won a contest with it, workshopped it, and almost signed a contract for it (it was a small publisher I had a few doubts about).

Funny thing about writing (any craft, I suppose): the more you do it, the more you learn, and the more you look at old projects and see all the “issues” you recognize now.

Do I revise the project and try again or set it aside and focus on something fresh? It’s not like I have a shortage of projects to work on. It’s more a matter of which one I can polish in the least amount of time before I go back to Book 2.

Then again, switching genres for a while might be nice. I have a traditional fantasy that I never did finish. There’s that urban fantasy I started. I like the tone of that one, a touch of snark (has nothing to do with the snarky urban fantasies I’ve been reading lately as I’m waiting impatiently for Jim Butcher’s newest Harry Dresden book. Really.).

Thick tropical heat and humidity invade my writing office. I look up from my computer. “Shut that damn door. Leave the mosquitoes outside.”

My Muse pushes the door shut and arches an eyebrow. “Nice to see you too, love.” His short blond hair is bleached on the top, a contrast to his sun-bronzed skin. His weathered red muscle shirt shows a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle–Michaelangelo, I think–on a surfboard, with “Cowabunga!” emblazoned below. Bright green board shorts and flip-flops complete the outfit.

“Surfing?”

He flashes a wide grin. “The beaches are almost deserted. I had the waves to myself.”

“So glad you were able to take a break.” I can’t help the sarcasm. Well, I could, but hey, he was off somewhere surfing, and I’m at home being a good author. “I could have used your help this week.”

He saunters to my desk. “You did fine this week, love. Finished your class–nice revision of your last assignment, by the way, submitted to your writing sisters for your retreat, and registered for another class.” He ruffles my hair. “You done good.”

He drags a chair around to sit beside me and slings an arm around my shoulders, giving me a whiff of coconut-scented sunscreen and a nice view of his broad chest, surfer turtle and all. “Ready for the second round of revision on Book 2?”

“No. I’m letting that sit for another week. I’m going back to this one.”

He peers at the screen, a crooked grin stretching across his face. “Again? You know I really like this one.”

Only because one of the main characters is an Australian ex-pat. “I know. I’m reading through it again. It’s been awhile.” I didn’t realize how much I’ve learned since I last revised it. “It needs a little work.”

“Maybe.” He shoves back and puts his feet on my desk. Grains of sand sift from his feet like salt. “Your new class hasn’t started, your virtual retreat is a few weeks away, and you’ve been wanting to revise it. So jump in.”

But urban fantasy is calling. I really like the voice in that one, even if it’s only the first few chapters.

My Muse sighs. “No.”

“Hey, you were the one who got me started on that story. I was even going to model one of the characters after you.” Snide comments and all.

“Flattered, but no.” His feet land on the floor and he leans forward. “Focus on one thing at a time, especially since you have an agent who works with mysteries. No fantasy genres until you get the other projects finished and sent off. Got it?”

He’s right. “Got it.” Hasn’t stopped me from reading urban fantasy lately, which is disturbingly addicting. Maybe it’s the snark inherent in so many urban fantasy stories. Laugh out loud snark.

“Good.”

This weekend will be my first “running errands” weekend since mid-March (hubs did the last one). Got my face mask, got my hand sanitizer, I’m ready.

Stay cool! Keep writing!

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.

24 thoughts on “Ee-nee-mee-nee-mi-nee-Muse #amrevising #amreading

  1. Your Muse has a point. It’s more productive to finish what you’re working on than it is to flit to something else, tempting as that is. And you make such a good point, Julie, about coming back to old manuscripts with fresh eyes. I’ve done that, too, and, looking back, I’m very glad I didn’t submit that old work. Some of it’s good, but really does need work that I didn’t see the first time. So, there’s the optimism (‘Hey, that’s a good story!’) along with the feeling of ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do…’ Enjoy the weekend Julie!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is definitely more productive to finish something partially done than start from scratch. And some of the things I find in my old stuff make me cringe, but the best part is I can see what needs to be “fixed” now, when then I didn’t have the experience or knowledge I do now.

      Have a great week, Margot!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds like you are doing well, Julie. Good luck with the shopping trip.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s fun to revisit old stories with a fresh more trained eye. I like to explore more genres in short stories. Urban fantasy is fun you could always throw a mystery in it:) Have a great weekend and week. Julie:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice place to be, where you’re deciding on the next project. And the shopping trip–I don’t go out much either but if I did, I’d probably have to buy a better mask.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure if having to pick is a good thing (sooo many choices) or a not-so-good thing (gotta finish this one project first, then something new). The shopping trip was okay. I hate shopping to begin with, but since we haven’t done a restock run (groceries we do every week or so), I knew it would be a big trip. At least now we don’t have to do another for a month or two 😀

      Have a great week, Jacqui!

      Like

  5. The Muse. 🙂 My heart wants to start on other stories but I promised my brain to finish the one I said I would finish. Good luck with the shopping. I still only go out once every 10 days or so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you stopped by! I try to promise my brain to finish one, but then my heart sits in a corner and pouts until I go back to the one it wants to do. So it’s a good thing my Muse keeps me in line 😀 Shopping, ugh. We do small grocery runs about once a week or so for the essentials. After this run, I hope it’ll be another month or two before I’ll have to go again 😀

      Have a great week, Marquessa!

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  6. I enjoy your updates on your muse. He certainly has a strong personality. Have fun running errands. I guess running errands isn’t all that fun, but you can turn the radio station to whatever you want and sing at the top of your lungs . . . actually, that IS fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Strong personality about covers it 😀 And yes, I did turn up the radio 🙂 Best part about running errands! On the bright side, it seems the stores are less crowded than they used to be.

      Have a great week, Priscilla!

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  7. We’re having trouble staying cool here too. Nice you have so many different writing projects to choose from!
    Sleep on, little kitty kitty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even though we’ve been getting some thunderstorms, things don’t cool down much after. This week we are getting a little reprieve from the humidity, so that’s nice. All except for the hordes of mosquitoes now. It sounds like a high-pitched buzzsaw when you walk outside (no wind, so they can amass in peace).

      Zoey has been sleeping on my lap when she catches me without my computer. Nice, but warm. And then if she is startled, the claws dig in.

      Have a great week, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. His advice is probably good, Julie, but it is fun to dive into something different for a while. It’s nice to have a backlog, though! Enjoy your errands, and your garden, and Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ugh. I hate it when they’re right. They can be so smug about it.

    Wishing you all the best with your project!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. When you’re creative it’s easy to start many projects. And it’s amazing when you chose the one you finish first!

    Liked by 1 person

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