Friday, July 29, 2016

Knowing When to Stop

I love this week's topic. I'd like to share my thoughts about my muse. Unfortunately, I have a looming deadline. I'm trying to write a short story, and my muse is being a pain in the whatever. Not because she is ignoring my plea for inspiration. I have the opposite problem. She has been and is being entirely too helpful.

It started a few weeks ago. I woke up with the title of the story in my head. No idea where it came from. No idea what it meant. I had to go to the Internet to make sure I understood it. That was where the trouble began. My quick search turned up something that made me go "Wow! This is great!" The only problem was I knew nothing about the "this". Muse said, "No problem. Just do a little research."

I did, and then Muse handed me another idea.  A setting that would work. A closed circle of suspects. The sleuth? "Would I let you down?" Muse asked. "Here she is." Except I knew nothing about my sleuth's occupation. Nothing. Nada. I pointed that out to Muse. She said, "No problem. It's a short story. Do a little research."

Okay. I know how to do research. Off to the university library. Books -- even a couple requested from storage. A couple of dissertations. Some articles. Good. This was working. Good to go.

That was when Muse said, "But you know your problem with descriptions. I always work better when you've actually seen what you're trying to describe." That made sense. A road trip on a lovely summer day. Invite friend to come along. Grab camera and go. Come back with photos -- and a couple of more books.

Open small book and make big discovery.

Days passing. Clock ticking. I point this out to Muse. She says, "Just read this. It might be useful. You know I'm always more helpful when you have lots of information." I say, "I have enough information to write a book." Muse says, "Yes, you do. But we'll get to that after we're done with your story. Keep reading."

Last night, I'd had enough. I said, "This is ridiculous. I've got to get some words down on paper." Muse said, "You've been writing the whole thing in your head. You have all the scenes. You have motives and killer." I said, "But I still need to write. Have you looked at the calendar?" Muse said, "Go to bed. We'll talk about it in the morning."

This morning Muse said, "You have to eat lunch anyway. And I know exactly where we should go. Then you'll have all afternoon to write."

Muse and I are getting ready to go out to lunch. Lunch in a diner that I didn't even know existed before I started all that research Muse insisted I do. There are some pictures on the wall that Muse thinks I should see.

After that, I'm going to write because I am running out of time. No more hanging out with Muse. Sit down. Put hands on keyboard and write.


Irene Bennett Brown said...

Wonderful, accurate, and entertaining description of a tussle with one's muse. Appreciated it, very much.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Thanks, Irene! Glad you could identify with my dilemma.

Lunch at the diner turned out to be a good idea. The place was so busy that I managed to get some writing done while I was waiting for my food. And the lemon creme cake I got as take-out fueled me through the rest of the afternoon.

Victoria Reeve said...

This is perhaps not the best expression to use, but I'd kill for a muse like yours! What a delightful picture you painted for us; thank you!

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

:) I've thought about it, Victoria. But maddening as my muse is, she often turns out to be right . . . if I can ever get what I'm working on finished.

Glad you enjoyed.