Tricking the muse.

For the past 2 weeks, I’d been blocked on the climax of Survivor.  I was crawling along, writing maybe 100-200 words a day if that, and it ws painfully slow and difficult.  Something wasn’t gelling.  All of my ideas about what could happen seemed stupid or cliche.  Usually, I’d plow on through, but this time, I took a step back and looked at it in a different way.

There was a barrier keeping me from my muse–or, maybe a barrier keeping me from  my muse’s knowledge.  We talked.  She whispered stuff in my ears.  In the shower, we brainstormed.  But nothing fucking gelled.

At the end of those 2 weeks, I was desperate.  Scared, b/c I couldn’t remember being this blocked.  Testy b/c writing sucked.  And, sleep deprived, due to a new medication.  I’d love to blame it, but I think it might have been a contributing factor, but not the cause.  Anyhoo, drastic action needed to be taken, or I’d stuff the whole thing in a drawer and forget about it.  And after 5 years of working on this puppy, there was no way I was going to abandon it that easily.

Soooooo I remembered something from somewhere (clear as mud, huh?) that said that switching to Notepad makes the writing seem not as serious.  It’s not a Great American Novel.  It’s just fun.  Playing. 

So that was my first step: I switched to Notepad.  I used to use it for poetry drafts, so maybe that connection has always been there. 

Then I thought, hmmmm.  I need to change something about this, to further trick the muse into thinking it was playtime.  I decided to use a POV I use rarely for protagonists AND present tense, which is a bit awkward, but what the hell?  I was desperate for something, anything.

Put on Queensyche on the iPod and went to town.

And….it worked beautifully.  It worked so beautifully that after I was done (in less than an hour), I sat there wondering if I’d dreampt it all.  And didn’t remember writing it all.  It just….poured out of me.  It was as if the story was already there, waiting for me, waiting for something to let it come to the surface.  It was fantastic.

I’m convinced that if I hadn’t done that, many of the cool things I came up with on the spot wouldn’t have come, or maybe would have taken longer to come.  The muse is a funny thing.  Our communication is usually really good, but something just wasn’t right.  And by removing the indicators that it was Serious Fiction, my muse thought she could come out and play. And play she did!

It did take an edit pass to clean up the typos, change the POV, and change the tense.  I ended up adding about 100 words to it in details and such.  It’s not perfect, but it’s words I didn’t have before, and that was good.  Very good.

I highly recommend this.  I don’t know if it will work all the time, but it’s definitely worth a shot.

Also, I wrote a prologue/backstory thing for Soulfire.  Liana, the protagonist, has been whispering to me for a week.  I wanted to get it down before it disappeared.

Soulfire is my next new project, after I’m done with Survivor and Pirouette the Third.  You hear that, muse?  Focus, focus, focus.

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