The Muse Is A…

The whispering started last Thursday, coming up on evening.  I’d caught up with the various and sundry editorial and proofing jobs that had occupied much of the week, and allowed myself to think about starting a short story set in the Over Where universe.

(This is the setting of my forthcoming novels, Library of the Sapphire Wind and Aurora Borealis Bridge.)

Dinner time was approaching when a possible opening started swirling in my mind, so I grabbed a piece of scrap paper and a fountain pen, and started scribbling.  Then I left it and went off to help with the cooking.

By Friday morning, I realized that while I liked some of my initial idea, I did not want to go where the character I’d designed would take me.  Worse, I really felt that her take on events would not represent the general tone and feel of the series well.  Since the short story is intended to provide a little sample of the series, I needed to rethink.

I did so as I handled various and sundry small jobs, since I’ve found that the only thing that staring at a computer screen when I’m in this particular state of mind does is give me eye strain and make me cranky.

By latish Friday afternoon, a new main character had arisen in the place of the first.  Like the first, she was a cook.  She even lived in the same cottage, but her personality and mindset were completely different.  Even when I’m writing a story that has its genesis in an idea (such as for a theme anthology), what I write is character driven.  This applies as much to third-person as first-person pieces.  What can I say?  Whether as a reader or a writer, I prefer stories where how the characters perceive the world shape how they respond to events.

So, for the rest of Friday afternoon, I wrote, composing a rough draft as I am wont to do, which is not in the least polished, because I’m getting to know the situation right along with my point of view character.

Then dinnertime came around, and Jim (who is a sweetheart who always cooks “date night” on Friday) gave me the ten-minute warning.   I shut down my computer, feeling pleased and hungry.

This lasted all of five minutes.  As Jim was dishing up portions, I was back at my desk, pulling out scrap paper and fountain pen, and scribbling the next bit.  Happily, I went to dinner…

And made it until clean-up time, during which I had to stop long enough to write another scene.  Again, longhand.  And I was content, and after dinner played a computer game with Jim, except that at least once I had to stop and ask him to carry on while I went back to my desk and scribbled some more.

This time the fountain pen went dry.  Since I didn’t want to pause long enough to put in a new cartridge, I grabbed a pen out of my always handy box of Sarasa gel pens, and started scribbling. Then that pen went dry and I grabbed another.

And finally, the Muse said, “Okay.  Go enjoy your weekend, kid.  This is going to need work, but I think we see where it’s going, and it’s going to be fun.”

Saturday morning, I considered starting to transcribe those handwritten bits, but I also know that pushing too hard chases the Muse away. Since I’d really been looking forward to the weekend, I’d better take some downtime.

After all, I owed that to the Muse, right?  Some say she’s a harsh mistress, but I think she’s just unpredictable and, if you listen, very, very kind.

3 Responses to “The Muse Is A…”

  1. James Mendur Says:

    Muses are like the denizens of Faerie. The reason we call them “the Good Folk” is to keep them being helpful instead of malevolent. Treat them well and they’ll (hopefully) treat you well in return.

  2. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    I love the different ink colors. I can picture you getting a surprised look with a slight tilt of the head, then seeing you run off to scribble.

    Good idea to accept the gifts you’re given without asking for more. I tell my dog that all the time.😂 “I’m not going to scratch you all day. Accept the scratches I give you and quit begging for more.” Poor neglected pup🙄😂

  3. Harried Harry Says:

    I recently read an article about the demise of cursive. According to the author (I don’t remember his name, sad to say) it should all be blamed on the development of the ball point pen. The older fountain pen required a very delicate touch of the nib so the ink would flow, the same is somewhat true for a gel pen. The ball point pen, however, requires some pressure which results in the ink flowing.

    How does this relate? Easy, you use a fountain pen which allows your thoughts to flow easily onto paper. For many years I used a Parker fountain pen, then started using the ones with cartridges. Now I use a gel pen if possible or a extra fine ball point. Since I no longer write long research papers or prepare detailed analysis studies I have pretty well stopped carrying about the type of pen I use except I much prefer the .2 mm pens.

    Best wishes dealing with your Muse.

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