Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere


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Musing Mysteries, Part 2

Okay, so how many of you are ready to attend a writers’ conference? Let’s see hands. C’mon, don’t be shy. I’d love to meet you. Even though I’m giving you a sneak peek at my presentation, it’ll be way more fun in person. Really. Promise.
WI2018 Check out the UW-Madison Writers’ Institute. It’s an amazing three days (four if you count the extra presentations on Thursday) dedicated to writing. Whether you are practicing the craft (we’re always practicing, right?) or starting the quest toward publishing, the Writers’ Institute is a great opportunity to learn, meet other writers, and enrich your creative energies. Here’s a little view into the fun: Writers’ Institute Pathway to Publication.

Eight-ish weeks to go. I’m getting excited–I’ll get to see my Writing Sisters. Can’t wait!

“Are you about ready, love?” My Muse is leaning on my desk in my writing office. He checks his bare wrist as if he kept a Timex there.

“Why, you have an appointment?”

He straightens and crosses the office to the white board. “No, but you do. What’s next on your list of clues to writing mysteries?”

200w_d

I grab a marker and add another entry to the list on the board. “The clock is ticking. A deadline.”

“Okay. What’s your deadline in Book 2?”

Hmm. “My main characters are only in town for three days.” I hold up a hand. “Don’t. Just don’t. I know, I know, three days. How many impossible missions were accomplished in three days?” That has got to be the most common deadline ever. I mean, outside of Kiefer Sutherland’s famous twenty-four hour countdown.

My Muse sighs. “At least it made a little sense. These days a team of geniouses save the world in mere hours every week. In a one-hour show.”

Nothing like the regular usage of the deux ex machina plot device—the oh-my-gawd-how-lucky-that-theory-actually-came-through (a “magical” intervention of some thing) tropeto allow Team Scorpion to stop a tsunami, or prevent an underground explosion that would’ve destroyed L.A., or catch two kids who have to jump out of an airplane at precisely the same time to land in a net (that was a Valentine’s Day episode). Probably not the best example of working against a deadline.

“Anyway. l’ve got a three-day deadline. Next?”

“Doesn’t seem like your main character is in a whole lot of danger.”

I point to the previous entries. Characters and stakes. “We went over the stakes already. And the characters. And the threat to the main characters, remember? The drug boss. The teacher who helped the protagonist after the attack, and who is now suspected of murder.”

“Raise them.”

“Excuse me?”

He adds to the list. “How can you raise the stakes, love?”

Raise them? More? “You heard the part about the drug boss, right? And how she thinks my main character is involved with the victim who was stealing from her.”

“Yes, I remember.” He underlines the entry on the list. “What can you do to the story that will make the main character less likely to quit?”

Hmm. If the main character was related to the suspect, or the victim, that would increase the risk to the main character. That won’t work with this story. There is a connection between the suspect and the protagonist. And a connection between the suspect and the victim.

“The victim is the suspect’s son-in-law.” I call this ‘blood is thicker than water’, because a connection between relatives has more meaning than between strangers.

“Better. Can you do more?”

A connection between the antagonist and the protagonist, or the protagonist and the victim, or the victim and the suspect are solid ways to raise the stakes. So, how can I ratchet things up?

Aha. “The suspect’s son died in an accident, and he learns the victim was involved. Oh, did I mention the suspect and the victim are family–by marriage?”

“Good. Now use that.”

I am. The trick is going to be using that to increase the threat to the protagonist. I’ll have to noodle on that for a bit. Two more down: deadline and raising stakes even more.

In other news, Week 2 word total is 21,816, about 1500 words short of the 23,338 I should’ve hit. It’s been slow, but I’ve gotten past the inciting incident now, so the story should flow faster. I will say that writing 1 to 2 hours every night is helping charge my creative energies.

Keeping my Muse close doesn’t hurt either ­čśÇ

Have a great writing weekend!

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Musing Mysteries, Part 1

I finished erasing the wall-sized whiteboard in my writing office. There. A nice, shiny, white expanse all ready for me.

And I stare at the nice, shiny, white expanse. Without a plan.

Which is my problem. No plan. Well, rather, I have a half-baked plan, but that’s about as tasty as a pancake that’s been pulled off the griddle too soon. You know, when it still has a gooey center.

So here’s the dilemma. I need to work on Book 2–which I’ve sort of drafted already, but the plot needs serious work. I’ve had things tumbling about in my head, and some stuff’s fallen into place, but there’s still a lot of questions.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m thinking too hard about it at this redraft stage. Kinda like Rough Draft, take 2. Or is it take 3 now?

“Why did I know I’d find you staring at a blank slate?” My Muse steps up behind me. He must have come in the back door. He leans on me, resting an elbow on my shoulder, his hand hanging limp. “So, how do you want to do this, love?”

“Well …” Man, he’s a bit distracting, all six-foot-two inches of so-easy-on-the-eyes Aussie complete with a super-cozy, super-soft, super-fuzzy arctic fleece shirt in a blue that complements his eyes. I duck away from him before I succumb. “I’ve got my presentation for the Writers’ Institute in April. Ten Clues to Writing Mysteries. Let’s work through those. Might help me organize the plan.”

He sighs. “You’ve got half of those things figured out already. Focus on what is still fuzzy.”

I press my lips together to make sure I don’t say it out loud. You’re fuzzy. Wuzzy. I had to. C’mon, you thought it, too. ­čÖé

He clears his throat and crosses his arms on his warm, fuzzy chest. “Julie.”

Busted. “Okay.” I grab a marker and start my list, in no particular order. Characters.

“You’ve got that figured out, right?”

“The protagonists, yeah, of course. This is book two. I know them.”

“Antagonist?”

“The cop that didn’t serve the restraining order right away.” He’s mentioned in the first book. “There’s still a lot of unresolved issues with the main character.”

My Muse waits. No foot-tapping yet. “And?”

“I’ve got secondary characters.”

“You need a stronger antagonist, love. You need more conflict with your main character.”

Yep. I know that. “Okay, so there are these brothers that are running …”

“Nope. Try again.”

Er. “There’s the drug boss that thinks the main character is in cahoots with the guy who was skimming from her. She wants her money, but my MC doesn’t know anything about it. Conflict and threat.”

He nods. “Okay, but there has to be more pressure on the antagonist. Is there something besides greed behind the threat?”

“Um…”

He takes a marker and adds a note. “Think about it. Next, what’s your protagonist’s motive? What’s the story goal?”

“Have you been talking to my writing mentor?”

“Focus, love.”

“Her goal is to make sure the man who helped her after the attack is cleared, so she needs to find out who killed the victim.”

“What are the stakes? What does she have to lose if she doesn’t figure it out?”

Dammit. Why did I think this was a good idea? “Her life. The bad guy thinks she was working with the victim, who skimmed from the pot.”

He adds it to the board. “Why does she have to figure this out?”

I know why he’s doing this. He’s walking me through the steps I haven’t thought enough about. (psst–I’m pretty sure he’s been talking to my writing mentor) “Because when she gets sucked into the mess, the man who encouraged her to keep going after the attack is the only suspect, and she has to clear his name. Payback for what he did for her.”

“Good.” He finishes the list. “One down.”

“Actually, that’s two. Character and stakes.”

He snaps the cap onto the marker. “Okay. Think about these for a bit, love. We’ll do some more next time.”

“Wait, what? Next time? Where do you think you’re going? I happen to know Mr. E is not available.”

He settles into one of the recliners, extends the footrest, and laces his fingers behind his head. “Let it simmer a bit. We’ll brainstorm in a few hours.”

I toss my marker onto the little shelf on the whiteboard. Well, okay then. I settle into the other recliner beside him. “You do know I’ve been brainstorming on this for a while. Like, weeks. Right?”

“And you’ve been spinning your wheels. Time to take this step by step.” He closes his eyes. “Think about the stakes. Think about what she risks by getting involved.”

“Did I mention she hated the victim because he was a buddy of the guy who tried to kill her?”

“Good. There’s a reason for her to not want to get involved, but she does because why?”

“Because of what the suspect did for her when she wanted to give up her dream.”

The corners of his mouth turn up in a grin. “Use that. Work on how that plays into the threat to your MC.”

Sometimes I wonder if I’m stuck because I’m trying to address everything I know the story needs before I get into the story. Overthinking it. It’s a first–well, a do-over first–draft, it’s supposed to be a mess because part of the process is working out the story.

So far, I’m doing my Feb NaNo on my rural mystery, and working out the wrinkles in Book 2, because my editor said I can send her the first 50 pages and a synopsis when it’s ready. It’s going to be a while. For those wondering about my NaNo progress, week 1 word count is 16,643.

I’ll walk through the other clues in my presentation over the next few weeks. Maybe this’ll help with Book 2. It should help. If nothing else, I can say I’m working on it, right?

Have a great writing weekend!


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The Write Stuff?

I’m going to do it. I am. I am going to do a self-imposed NaNoWriMo this month.

Yep. Gonna. Not book 2, though. I think I need to let that sit for a bit (as if I’ve touched it much in the past month). I’m going to rewrite my other WIP. And I’m going to get the draft finished before the Writers’ Institute.

You heard me.

“Yes, I heard you, love.”

Gulp. My Muse is standing in front of my writing desk, strong arms crossed on his broad chest. He’s wearing a medium blue sweatshirt proclaiming “Bold North”, the Minnesota theme for Super Bowl 52.

I suppose they wanted to head off the inevitable “Cold North”. Secretly, I’m glad we’re colder than average this week. We should be somewhere in the vicinity of 20 F. We’ve had high temps this week in the single digits. And now:

Capture

Just proves we really are cold in the winter (not that anyone doubted it). Heh. Yes, we live where the air can hurt your face. And we still spend time outside (as evidenced by the St Paul Winter Carnival going on besides all the activities and outdoor concerts for the Super Bowl in Minneapolis).

Back to the “Bold North” sweatshirt. “So, er, did you enjoy the ‘Super Bowl Experience’?” I, on the other hand, was catching up with a bunch of paperwork, including FSA and tax stuff. Ugh.

He looks at his shirt. “Meh. Best part was listening to all those people from warmer climates ‘enjoying’ the weather here.”

“You, ah, do any pub crawls?” Here’s hoping he doesn’t catch on to the fact I’m trying to distract him.

“Actually, yes. Mr. E and I found a new bar. It’s got atmosphere, and no karaoke. I hate karaoke. So, love, when are you planning to start this NaNo February? Which, according to the calendar, you should have started last night.”

“You were apparently at a new bar last night, so I took the opportunity to catch up on some paperwork. Atmosphere, huh? What else did that bar have? Did you guys get in a few rounds of pool? Darts? No bar fights?”

“We never get into bar fights.” He frowns, those piercing blue eyes of his narrowed. “Stop trying to distract me, love. I already told Mr. E no pub crawls for a few weeks. Should be enough time for you to do your ‘NaNo’. Then we’re gong to dig back into Book 2.”

“I haven’t heard back from my editor yet. I’ll have to work on that manuscript first.”

“Of course.” He plants hands on my desk and leans over me. “But until then, you will work on that WIP.”

“Hey, I’ve got some stuff to do for the Writers’ Institute in April, and I’ve got some interview questions I need to answer and send back by next week.”

“Excuses.”

“Legit.” I pull out the sheet of questions from a marketing person at UW-Madison. “See.”

He doesn’t look. “Uh-huh. Don’t think I’m going to go off on any more pub crawls and leave you unsupervised until you hit 50k words on your WIP.”

“Good.” I think. Yep, pretty sure it’s good.

“And no Super Bowl. The Vikings aren’t playing anyway.”

“I’m okay with that.”

He straightens, makes a beeline for one of the recliners in a corner of my writing office, and settles in. “I’ll be watching you.”

Sheesh. At least there’s no bullwhip in sight. indianna-jones-hat-whip

“Looking for this?” My Muse holds up a leather coil.

Hoo-boy.

 

I’ll be writing this weekend. Will you?


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Musing Resolve

I’m resisting the urge to close my notebook and toss my pen across the room. I still can’t focus. My mind keeps bouncing around–I should really start thinking about my garden. I love looking through seed catalogs. I can’t wait for it to warm up. Woo-hoo! It’ll be double digits above zero when I walk down the driveway to get the mail. I’ve got a book review to write. No, I really need to write this scene. I’ve got two chapters of beta reading to do this weekend. I love Christmas lights, but I suppose I should put them away. Am I going to be able to finish that blanket I’ve been crocheting for the past–yikes, that long?–before my daughter graduates? Hey, where’s the cat?

Arrgh. This is my brain on a severe lack of resolve. Or rather, focus. Where is my damn Muse?

Aaaannd . . .

*clock ticks echo in the room*

Um.

I set my notebook down (no, I don’t throw it across the room, as satisfying as that would be) and open the door to my writing office.

Nada. No one in sight.

O-kay. I head to the other door, the one that opens onto the beach/woods/field/–you get the picture. Steel-gray clouds brood over wind-roughened water. The Adirondack chairs at the edge of the beach’s sandy shore are empty.

What the hell?

I close the door, fully expecting my Muse to pop in. Except he doesn’t. “Hey,” I say into the empty office, “where are you?”

Nuthin’.

Remember the Batphone from the old Batman show from the 60s? tenor I’ve got one like it (but way cooler) that’s a direct line to my Muse. I pick it up.

No dial tone.

Oh shit.

This isn’t right. He wouldn’t just leave.

Would he?

A curl of dread twists in my gut. He can’t leave. He’s my Muse. I toggle the cradle button. Still no dial tone. Crap. After hanging up the phone, I pace. Where could he be? “Hey, look, I’m sorry about the last few weeks.” My voice echoes in the room. “C’mon. Where are you?”

A knock at the back door. When I open it, my book dragon’s head fills the doorway, her red eyes glowing like Christmas lights against shiny green scales.

dragon1_cr I scratch her chin. “Thanks for coming, but I’m not looking for you right now. Have you seen my Muse?”

She draws back. *Really? I’m a perfectly good muse, you know.*

“I know. But I’m not working on a fantasy right now. I need my Muse. Have you seen him?”

She rolls her eyes. *Maybe.*

“What do you mean, ‘maybe’? Where is he?”

*He told me not to tell.*

“Are you kidding me? He told you? Why can’t he hear me?”

*Oh, he can hear you just fine.*

“Then why isn’t he here?”

She shrugs, stretches one gold-green wing. *He said something about appreciating the work he does. Oh, and something about how it feels to be ignored.*

Oh. My. Gawd. “Seriously? Tell him I need to talk to him.”

*He said I wasn’t supposed to be a go-between. Talk to him yourself. He can hear you.* With that, she turns and shoves into the air, wings sweeping down and kicking up wind as she climbs toward the low clouds.

What the hell? It’s not like this is the first time I’ve ever been stuck. And I’ve got a few extra weeks before my editor gets my manuscript back to me, so I need to finish the draft of Book 2. The notebook helps, but I’ve been letting myself get distracted. I need my Muse to be here.

I close the door. I’m not ignoring him. I’m just … dammit. I’ve been forgetting stuff, stuff that’s important but not writing-important. Life-important. Family stuff. And I’ve had a few discussions–not heated, but more than casual–with my husband about stuff I was supposed to remember but didn’t. I’ve even started bullet journaling to try and get a handle on it.

“You need to focus, love.”

My lungs stop working for a moment. I turn. My Muse is kicked back in one of the recliners in the corner, hands behind his head, legs crossed at the ankles on the footrest.

“Where the hell have you been?”

“Ignoring you. How does it feel?”

“I haven’t been ignoring you. I’ve been thinking about my books–that’s probably why I keep forgetting other stuff.”

He shakes his head. “If you’ve been thinking about your books, why is it you haven’t done any writing since before Christmas?”

“Because …” I falter. “I’ve started working on my presentation for the Writers’ Institute, and I’m doing a beta read. And I finished–”

“Excuses. Whatever happened to spending one or two hours a night writing, hmm? Tell me that.”

“I …” I’ve been slacking. Badly. And every night I chastise myself for it.

My Muse lowers the footrest and pushes out of the chair. “You need to get your shit together, love.” He waves a finger at me as a fedora appears on his head and a bullwhip materializes on his belt. “You’ve got stuff going on, but if you’re serious about this, you have to figure it out. You’ve done it before, why are you having such a hard time now?”

He’s right. And I think a lot of it boils down to waiting for my editor to get my manuscript back to me, because I know I’ll have to work on that. Which is stupid. I’ve got the time now, before I have any deadlines, to work on stuff, especially Book 2. And my presentation, which I actually do have a soft deadline for.

My Muse nods. “And there it is. You know what you should be doing, love, so do it. Hell, schedule it. You know your husband will hold you to it. He’ll send you off to write.”

He will. He has in the past. “You’ll stay here, right?”

A crooked smile brightens his face. “Me and my whip.”

I think I hear the Indiana Jones theme song in the background.

Another weekend, and dammit, I will work on my draft. Or my presentation. My son is heading back to school, so that’s one distraction out of the way. After a break in routine courtesy of the holidays, it always seems to take extra effort to get back into it. And we might even crack the freezing temperature this week–heat wave!

Have a good weekend all, and get some writing done. I will. Promise.


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No Muse isn’t good Muse

I look up as the door to my writing office opens. My Muse enters, closes the door behind him. He’s wearing a black hoodie with a kangaroo pocket and the MN Vikings logo in bold purple, yellow, and white. His well-worn jeans (in every sense of the word) have a stain on one leg at knee-level. He smells like stale beer, fried food, and that scent of “crowd” you get whenever you walk into an indoor stadium. 2704_minnesota_vikings-primary-2013

“When did you go to a Vikings game?” I ask. “They play tomorrow.”

He looks down at his sweatshirt. “Why do you ask?”

“You smell like a football game. I thought Aussie football was more your speed.”

He drops into the recliner next to mine in a corner of the office. “Of course it is, love, but I can’t very well head home every time I want to watch a game. American football is the next best thing. And maybe I’m caught up a little too much with it; you know the Vikes will probably blow the next game.”

Uh huh. “So, no washing your lucky shirt?” Superstitious much? They’re 10 and 2, but history tells us they choke when they get too close to the playoffs. Whatever. I’ve been feeling like my creative energy is in a holding pattern, there but mostly inaccessible. My stomach bunches up as I ask him the question that’s been bothering me for the past week. “Are you avoiding me?”

He reaches behind the chair to grab a beer out of the mini-fridge. “Why do you ask?”

I slide my mechanical pencil into the spiral binding of my notebook. He didn’t answer my question. “You know I’ve been trying to work on Book 2 since before Nano. I’ve been trying to cobble together act three of the plot thread. I think that’s why I’m stuck.”

The bottletop tings as it hits the desk across the room and bounces off the rim of the trash bin. “You haven’t exactly been begging for my help, love.”

“What do you mean?” I retract the footrest of my recliner, slide to the edge of the seat, and turn toward him, waving my notebook like a baton. “I can’t focus. It’s not like I haven’t been trying. So why have you been AWOL?”

“You’ve been distracted.”

“Like that’s ever stopped you before.” Wait. “Distracted by what?”

He leans forward, elbows on his knees, beer bottle dangling from his fingers. “Real life. Winter. Waiting on your editor’s feedback. Your kids’ non-existent Christmas lists. Procrastination. Pick one.” He tips the beer to his lips.

The room gets warmer all of a sudden. I miss him. Really miss him. And not just because he’s a fine specimen of masculine energy. “Again, that’s never bothered you before. You’re usually on my ass about something. I’ve been trying to work through the plot of Book 2. Where are you? Not on my ass.”

He leans toward me. “Better question, where are you?” He touches my forehead with a finger. “In here. It’s like you’re waiting for something, and everything else has to wait. I can’t shove creative energy into that.” He leans back, hits me with those incredible blue eyes. “You have to let me. It’s my job. You have to keep moving, love, or you’ll stagnate. You know that. That’s why you need to power through. What do you call it? The muddle in the middle.”

“Yeah. It’d help if I had a friggin’ clue what the climax is supposed to be.”

Another sip. “You know how it ends. The good guys win. The bad guys complain about meddling kids.”

“Har, har. There’s more to it. The sorta bad guy needs to redeem himself after giving my protagonist a hard time six years ago. There’s got to be more danger to my protag. My two MCs have to have more conflict.” Sigh. “Maybe I’m writing the wrong story. Maybe I should work on my rural mystery for a while.”

My Muse shakes his head. “Finish this draft. If you don’t do it now, you might not ever do it. Once it’s written, you can go back and fix it.”

That’s the problem. Writing it. “You need to stick around.”

He chuckles, but not like he’s amused, more like he’s patronizing me. “Will you listen to me? Because if you won’t, there’s a rugby match in Adelaide calling my name.”

“What happened to the Indiana Jones fedora and bullwhip? The whole drill sergeant thing?”

“It’s not working for you right now, love. So,” he straightens, “I’m going to try something different.”

Uh-oh. “Like what?”

His slow smile tightens my shoulders with unease. “Oh, I have some ideas. Just have to try a few to see which ones work.”

Oh, boy.

My son’s home from college for the next month. He just turned the big two-oh, so I’ll probably take him on a mom-and-me birthday outing tomorrow. That leaves today to grind through the middle of my WIP. Maybe I’ll toss a bomb into the mix, just to get something moving.

Go forth and write!


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Good intentions gone where? Take 2

In case you were wondering (okay, you weren’t wondering, but I’ll tell you anyway), I’m keeping up with my NaNoWriMo quotas. I’m actually a little ahead, so I’ve got a bit of a cushion.

No thanks to my Muse. Boy, when I see him again …

My writing office door whooshes open, and my Muse makes his entrance complete with Ghirardelli chocolates in one hand and Schell’s Firebrick lager in the other. What? No Moon Man?

He’s wearing the burgundy Henley shirt I so love, sleeves shoved halfway up his forearms. Well-worn jeans–in every sense of the adjective–complete the ensemble. He deposits the treats on my desk and sets a hip on a corner, flashes a lopsided smile. “Before you ask, love, no, I didn’t bring Moon Man. I’m saving that for when you hit fifty thousand words. How’s it going?”

Ahem. “Fine, no thanks to you.”

“Me?” he says, all innocent-like. “You do remember the part where I hit you with a brilliant seed for an urban fantasy, right? Got your creative fires lit.”

I plant fists on my hips, remember the disaster I avoided, and try to stay indignant. “Yeah. You gave me the first five lines. That’s it. And guess what? I managed about 7500 words before I gave up and went back to Book 2.” I’m counting those 7500 words, damn it. “Don’t do that again.”

His eyes widen. “What do you mean?”

I need time to tumble a novel-length idea around in the ol’ noggin. “I told you I hadn’t thought about that story AT ALL. At the very least I need a direction. Hell, I didn’t have a story goal. I didn’t even have a name for my main character when I started. Where was I supposed to take the characters? I had no idea, and day one of NaNo is so not the time to jump into a story like that.”

I’m fired up now. “I tried. For four days I tried to come up with some sort of plot, something besides a character without a name and the first five lines.”

“Yeah, you did. And you wrote scenes for that story for those four days.”

“No. I wrote three versions of the same freaking scene.”

“You wrote five scenes, love. And got some backstory put together.” He waves a finger at me. “You named the main character and her best friend. And you got as far as the mysterious-but-handsome stranger.”

“Not the point.” I have to pace. “I can’t believe I listened to you. I can’t believe you did that to me.”

He stands and blocks my path. “Are you blaming me for getting you fired up to write? What part of Muse with a capital ‘M’ don’t you understand? It’s my job, love.”

“I’ve got two stories to write. One is book 2, the other is my rural mystery.” I shake my head. Frustration tightens my shoulders until the back of my neck aches. “Why couldn’t you hit me with a brainstorm about those stories instead of something completely different? I could’ve spent four more days on the stuff I’ve got some sort of a road map for.”

“Because you were already spinning your wheels on those. I knocked you loose, didn’t I? That’s what you needed.” He rocks on his heels, arms crossed on his oh-so-fine chest. “You’re rolling fine now, aren’t you?”

Grrr. He’s right, but if I tell him, how much worse will he get? I mean, he already thinks pretty highly of himself. Then again, …

“Julie?”

“Yes, fine, I’m rolling.” I throw my hands up. “There. Happy?”

His grin brightens. “Yep.”

“Don’t hurt yourself patting your own back. I’m at the end of the section I’ve got laid out, so you’re going to have to stick around to help me. And no urban fantasy stuff.” Although I will keep that story around. I’ll figure out the rest of it. Eventually.

He drops an arm around my shoulders. “You take all the fun out of it, love, but I’ve got you covered.”

Uh-huh. Anyway …

It’s past halfway for NaNo, and I’m doing okay. Planning for progress this weekend, since next week is Thanksgiving already. Man, I cannot believe how time is flying this year! A long weekend next week, so hopefully I can get within spitting distance of 50k. The book won’t be done–it usually takes me six weeks to complete a draft–but 50k is a pretty solid chunk of it. Then set that aside and work on my other story.

Yep, my Muse got the fire going. Man, that creative burn sure feels good!

Have a great weekend, and keep writing!


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And then it hit me

BAM! A brand new, never-before-imagined idea blasts through my brain.

Oh. My. Gawd.

Seriously? Is this real?

My Muse straightens to his full six foot-two height. If he leans forward, I think our foreheads would collide. “You have a problem with this, love?”

The storm is still rampant in my brain. Quick, I need a notebook. Damn. “Well, yeah. I mean, I should be working on Book 2. It’s NaNo, and my opportunity to re-draft …”

He rests a hand on my shoulder. “And how’s that been working for you?”

“Ahh, not well. I’m still not feeling it, but it’s only the first week.”

“Right. So, here you go.”

I shake my head and retreat to pace my writing office instead. “It’s a whole different genre. I haven’t written urban fantasy before. My agent doesn’t rep urban fantasy; the only fiction she reps is mystery. That’s a whole month of working on something that isn’t a genre my agent could rep. If I’m not working on Book 2, I should at least be working on my rural mystery.”

My Muse leans back against my desk, arms crossed on his oh-so-fine chest. “Uh-huh. You’ve been mulling that one for years. And you wrote that Irish contemporary fantasy. Some would call that urban.”

“Only because it wasn’t epic or traditional fantasy. I’ve still got an epic fantasy book I need to finish.” I can’t believe this. “I can’t spend thirty days writing something I haven’t thought about before. I don’t even know where I’d go with it. I’m not a pantser. At the very least I have to noodle on it for a while before I start writing anything. That’s thirty days I could–should–be working on Book 2, or my other mystery.”

“Other writers who write multiple genres often have multiple agents for the different genres. You know, a romance writer who also writes mysteries or fantasy. They have one agent for the romances and one for mysteries.”

I stop. Stare at him. “Not the point. It’s THIRTY FREAKING DAYS. I need to work on—”

“Don’t raise your voice, love. I’m standing right here.”

“Have you seen the urban fantasy market? You can’t go anywhere without tripping over a book about were-whatevers, or vampires, or gargoyles, or dragon-shifters, or hell, angels and demons. It’s saturated.”

“Uh-huh. And how far can you go before you hit a wall of mysteries? It’s the second biggest genre behind romance.”

“But there’s a ton of subgenres in mystery. Crime, noir, historical, cozy, detective, police procedural, oh my gawd. Lots of people read mysteries.” I start pacing again. “I can’t believe you did this.”

“You feel it though, don’t you? That pull. That burn to write. I know you do, love.”

Damn it. I hate it when he’s right. “That’s THIRTY DAYS I won’t be spending on the stuff I should be writing.”

He raises a finger. “Aha. Did you hear yourself? You said ‘should’ be writing. You should be saying ‘need’ to write. Hear the difference? Which story do you need to write?”

I shake my head. “The big thing now is diverse characters. I don’t write diverse, unless┬á you count strong female protagonists in non-traditional careers.”

“It’s got potential, love.”

I stop again, hands out as if offering my last suggestion. “I don’t even know what the freaking story is. I’ve got the first few lines. That’s it. I have no idea what happens next. I don’t even know who the main character is, much less the supporting actors or even the story goal. And first person POV? What the hell are you doing to me? I’ve got a contract obligation for Book 2.”

“I’m getting you excited for your project.”

I can’t spend thirty days writing something I have never thought about until just now.” Where’s my Night Fury conscience? Wait, no, where’s my book dragon? She can help me push back. Except she’d probably agree with him. “C’mon, I work full-time, plus sub at the library, plus the whole gotta-take-care-of-the-house thing before it turns into a hovel. I can NOT believe you’re doing this to me.”

He chuckles. I suppress an urge to slap that grin off his swoon-worthy face. “It’s my job, love, and you know it. So spend thirty days writing something different. It’s reignited the writing fire in you, right? You can’t wait to get home and get started.”

He’s right. Damn it, he’s right. I want to chase this idea. I want to sit down and start writing this, not help files for software. OMG, I’m going to be distracted by this all day.

“If you’re really good, maybe you can finish the urban fantasy and still work on Book 2 during NaNo.”

“ARE. YOU. INSANE?”

He blocks my path and locks me with his piercing blue gaze. “Are you a writer?”

Sonofabitch.