Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Muse-ing revisions #amwriting #amediting #amrevising


Mr. Snow Miser

I open the door to warm air hitting my face like the breath of a sauna. Just my luck my writer lives in Minnesota, the land of ten thousand lakes and fecking cold winters. Ice crystals melt from my eyelashes.

“Shut the fricking door!”

The door swings shut with a thud. I might be a Muse, but when it’s so cold it hurts to breathe, I start thinking about tropical getaways and surfing. My writer is not at her desk, so she must be in one of the recliners. I peel off layers, slip my feet into toasty slippers, and make my way around to the alcove.

“Cold enough for you?” My writer looks up from her laptop. She has the footrest extended, a crocheted afghan on her legs, and who knows how many layers of socks she’s wearing inside those bootie slippers. A fuzzy gray hoodie give me the distinct impression she’s cold. That, and the afghan. Oh, hell, she’s always cold. A steaming mug of something sits on the small table between the recliners. Smells like apple cider, but not quite. Tea?

“Why don’t you live someplace warmer, like Hawaii?”

“Do you have any idea how many times my hubs and I have said that?” She sips her tea. “And then we remember how expensive it is to live there.” A strand of too-long bangs slips from her barrette into her face. She brushes it back. “Why do you bother going out? It’s not like you have to actually walk anywhere. Can’t you just teleport or whatever?”

Or whatever. “It’s for the experience, love.” I check out the wall-sized whiteboard before snagging a lager from the mini-fridge and dropping into the other recliner. “I thought you were trying to cross stuff off the list. I see more notes.”

She leans her head back and sighs. “Reminders. I’ve sat in on some good webinars lately. I’m going to have to do another round of revision after this one.”

I could have told her that a long time ago, but it’s better for her to figure it out for herself. “You were still fine-tuning the plot on this round.”

“Well, right, but I sat in on a revising webinar that made me realize I need a round of revision just for that.”

“That’s good, love.” I flip up the footrest. “Care to share?” I know what she wants to focus on, but if she says it, she’ll remember better.

“Scenes. I have to think in scenes.”

“Isn’t that what you do?”

“I mean, I need to look at each scene again and ask what the character wants, why they want it, and what’s stopping them. The scene goal. Oh, man, I can hear my writing teacher’s voice.”

“That’s a good thing, right?”

“Yes, always. Definitely better than hearing someone with a Mickey Mouse voice say it.” She turns her head toward me. “You could say it. I could listen to that baritone Aussie voice of yours anytime.”

I chuckle. “You don’t get tired of listening to me badger you about all those things you need to do and don’t?”

She sighs. “No. Well, yes … it’s like listening to Sam Elliott, but better. ”

I can’t help grinning. “Not Barry White?” I tease, doing my best impression.

Her breath whooshes out. She clears her throat, tugs the afghan off her legs, and shoves her sleeves to her elbows. “Stop that. The point is, I thought this round was my ‘check the scene goal’ round. I had to fix some plot stuff, so I didn’t pay as close attention to that. I’ve got to go through it again, and look for the stuff I learned from the webinar. That’s what the new notes on the board are for.”

Some days I’m really proud of my writer. “What’s your plan?”

“Look at each scene, make sure there is a scene goal, and check for action, relationship, information, suspense, and emotion–reader emotion.” She bounces her head against the recliner back. “So much to learn! So much to remember. I feel like I’ll never finish it.”

“You will, love. Then you get to move on to the next project.”

She gives me a sideways glance. “You’re sticking around, right? No pub crawls with E.”

“I’ll be here. I think E is busy with Mae after that nor’easter went through.”

shivering smiley

Nothing like a week of double-digit, sub-zero windchills to give a writer an excuse to stay inside. Hope everyone is staying warm and safe!

Happy 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.

14 thoughts on “Muse-ing revisions #amwriting #amediting #amrevising

  1. I think in scenes, too, Julie! And that’s how I go back and revise. I look at each scene and figure out what it needs. Then I get to the smaller (but just as important) things that link the scenes together. That way of revising just works for me. Oh, and about climates? You’re so right about how expensive a warm climate it. Trust me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never really thought about my revision by scenes, more like by chapters, but I tend to have one scene per chapter. It’s a matter of thinking about revision specifically by scene for me, but it seems to be working okay.

      Have a great writing week, Margot!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thinking in scenes is a good way to edit. Looking at the whole story would overwhelm. My husband talks about living in Hawaii too:) Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, looking at the whole story is a lot! I do tend to look at the whole story, though, but from a high level: does the sequence of events make sense overall? Usually I’ll figure that out when I do a timeline (my version of an outline. Sort of.), but sometimes, like with this book, I don’t see the issues until I get through the draft.

      Hubs and I keep saying we should move to Hawaii, but I think we’ll settle for a vacation ๐Ÿ™‚

      Have a great writing week, Denise!


  3. I like the focus on editing by scenes. It helps to break a story into manageable chunks. And Hawaii? Sounds nice. My brother moved there in October for 3 years (with the Navy). Very expensive! But great for me to have someone to visit for weeks at a time. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I outline in scenes. Helps me visualize.

    Sounds like you’re staying warm. (And maybe having some help?) I’m tired of clearing snow and cursing the groundhog. This is the time of year I start wondering why I wanted to move back to Pennsylvania.

    Have a great (and warm) week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like to “outline” with a timeline, which I suppose is sort of like scenes. One of my webinars got me thinking maybe outlining by scene would work for me. I’ll probably end up with some sort of hybrid.

      And yikes! You guys got all the winter snow/storm stuff (I have to admit I felt relief at escaping all that). Now the effing cold. We usually get a few days of cold like this, below zero or single digits with negative windchills, but not for a week or more straight. ON the bright side, we’re in the home stretch of winter, rather than looking down the barrel at another three months of cold and snow.

      Stay warm! Have a great writing week, Staci!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Zoey looks like she’s doing her best to snuggle for warmth.
    “Teleport or something.” Ha! But even better, this part: Her breath whooshes out. She clears her throat, tugs the afghan off her legs, and shoves her sleeves to her elbows. โ€œStop that.”
    Ah, brilliant. And funny.
    Happy writing, Julie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so funny how she hunts down a warm lap when it’s cold, but in the summer she spends her time outside and good luck convincing her to tolerate some petting!

      ON the bright side, we get to kitten-sit this weekend! Yay for cuddly kitties!

      Have a great writing week, Betsy!


  6. I’ve noticed that the neighbor’s cat who adopted us only wants to be pet at certain times, and if you get those times mixed up…. Well, just don’t get those times mixed up! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy kitty petting and writing to you too!

    Liked by 1 person

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