The Muses and Me

Yeah, another writing rant/post. Aren’t you lucky?

I wondered again about this writing process and how much control I have. Writing today, I reached a scene where I stopped writing to say, “I don’t want this to happen.”

The muses answered, “Okay, we appreciate your opinion. Now write the scene.”

“But — ”

“You’re wasting time,” a muse said. “Pitter patter, get ‘er at ‘er.”

Jaw clenching, I put my hands on my lap and glared at the computer screen. “I’m the writer here. You’re not the boss of me.”

“Yeah, we are,” the muses said with hooting laughter. As their laughing mounted, one shouted, “He thinks we’re not the bosses of him.” That fired their laughter into higher mocking tones.

Saving my work, I locked my computer and went for a walk to shut them up and think.

I couldn’t appreciate their case for what they wanted to happen. I didn’t have an impressive alternative, either. Hard to argue with them when they have a plan and I don’t.

Dismissing that for the moment, I reflected on the epiphany that I’d had, that, ah-hah, I need something else at the beginning, “something else” being mental shorthand for a more involved and complete opening scene (or chapter) that properly sets up the story and consequences, a piece that gives the reader more reason to be invested with the main character, along with the supporting protagonists.

As many writers before me have said, the first draft is the writer learning the story, and you can’t write the beginning until you’ve finished writing the end. All this seems especially true with this novel in progress.

Returning to my writing, I sat down and did as the muses decreed. It was the best thing to do because, at this point, I was wasting precious writing time, analyzing what they were telling me to write and my reasons for not wanting to write that. Besides, this is just a draft. I can always edit and revise this part later, right? I can even delete it.

That cracked the muses up. “Sure,” they said. “Of course you can. You’re the author.”

Sometimes, I’m not fond of the muses. They can be so mean.

The coffee cup is empty except for a cold, bitter dribble. Time to stop writing like crazy, at least one more time.

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