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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Process

Normally I would be writing my new book at this time of day, especially after being lashed by my Muse all night in my attempt at world building.  Most people see Muses as beneficent, benign, inspiratory things.  Evidently they were all out of those the day I decided I wanted to write the stories in my head down.  No, I got the overweight, grumpy, smoking, ill-tempered dominatrix who rides me like a Harley when she wants to inspire me.  I'm looking to trade up with the next book, but I may be upside down on my Muse payments.

Most people have this vision of writers as either tortured souls, hunkered over an ancient Smith-Corona manual typewriter, sweating out each word.  Or we are seen as some ethereal, other-world thing that just sits back and the words automagically appear on the printed page.  (Nora Roberts, I'm looking at you.)  So, other than Nora Roberts, I don't know of any writers in either category.  Most are a lot like me, living a lot in their heads and finding moments to type it all out in between laundry loads and barking dogs chasing mischief minded kittens.  Creation is Chaos, Kitten.  Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something.

See what I did there?

I love my favorite authors who also blog.  Kat Richardson, Faith Hunter and Nalini Singh have been saviours to me.  Kat Richardson has personally saved my latest project when I could not proceed with my story where it was.  The magic of her advice was that it was so simple and did not require me re-writing three chapters.  Reading their blogs helps me to know that I'm not out at Club Crazy all by myself.  They've shown me that it's perfectly OK to get so wrapped up in your characters and your story for days at a time, and it's really quite necessary to get the story on the page.  Perhaps you can see why I pre-order their books as soon as they're available.

I have a running joke with my as yet un-official editor about my Muse and how my characters are always mugging me or hijacking my story.  I was lamenting that with my latest, I am so far off my outline that I tossed it and I'm just flying by the seat of my pants right now.  She suggested that perhaps I'm not the story outline kinda gal.  It's great as a starting point, but, as with battles, the designs are no good after the first shot is fired or the first word is written.  It arranges your story, but as long as you get to your original end point, you can change your flight plans anywhere along the journey.  For that alone, I will adore my un-official editor until the day I die.

I can go for days at a time not writing my story, blogging and doing other "writey" things.  It's important to write every day, whether it's a grocery list or just a rant on a blog or a Tweet.  But for the most part, while my Muse is riding me I will constantly be thinking about my story, my characters and where they need to go next.  I've ruined more recipes in the past month because of this.  But then again, I've created some new kitchen miracles at the same time.  It's a process.

I tend to visualize pretty heavily so when I'm creating my characters I create a character outline, complete with pictures.  I think if anyone saw them they would think I was doing some kind of investigatory profile, but it truly helps me keep that character cemented in my imagination.  Looks, personality quirks, they are all there.

Also, like many writers, I am heavily inspired by the music I listen to. Someone once looked at my iPod and figured that I had ADD and just added whatever I clicked on. I have varied tastes and have everything from 15th century chamber music to the latest club sounds on my playlist.  I make up playlists for scenes for which I am inspired by the music.  I think I broke my iTunes Genius, it just went insane and said, "Fuck this, you're crazy!"  Yes.  Yes, I am.  Thank you for recognizing my genius.

Anyone out there who wants to write, go for it!  People love to read.  I love to read.  More books and stories are always appreciated.  Word of caution, however, watch which Muse you get.  Just, you know, FYI. <winky thing>

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