The Fickle Muse...

Oct 15, 2012

It never ceases to happen.  You fall in love.  Then something new and shiny comes along and you leave old faithful in the dust for a whole new set of problems.

I'm not talking about people, although it seems like there are a lot of people out there who jump from ship to ship, I'm referring to a writer's story.  You create your characters, fall in love with them, obsess about their interactions, think of ways to make their lives miserable or glorious.  Then this NaNoWriMo thing comes along and you leave your characters hanging by their pinkies wondering what the hell just happened as you frolic on to create new characters (or in my case resurrect a couple you had hidden in your back pocket) for a new, exciting and completely different journey.

I was giddy.  I practically lobbed all my old notebooks aside, actually "closed" the document I have been working on for the last six months and excitedly went to the library.  On a Saturday.  At 9am when it opened!  I didn't do that when I was in school.

For you non-writers, National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo is an annual event, and it's your mission for the month of November to write 50,000 words of a new story.  Now you can pre-outline, do character work, research, etc., but come November 1, your butt better be in the chair writing 1,667 words per day (and if you don't write every day, then you need to make up the difference on the days you do write, getting to 50k words by last day of November).  And...we are talking quantity, not quality.  You could type the words "This story sucks" over and over again until you reach the total...going back to edit will be a bitch, but you get the idea.  It doesn't have to be good, you just have to get the words out of you.

So, for the first time, EVER, I am working on my outline, characters, sub-plots, research in advance so that November 1st, I can get crackin'.  Usually scenes hit me and I write them down and later I go back and figure it all out.  Not this time, no sir, I'm having a plan of attack.  Because, you see, I gave up the novel I have been working on so easily due to the lack of...what's that thing?  An ending.  I have roughly 50,000 words in that sucker.  I could turn it in day one and shout "Bingo!" and NaNoWriMo would be over for me.  But I'm burned out.  I need a new challenge, I need new focus, and I need to start brainstorming the middle of this sucker.  Because the one I plan to write in November - pretty strong beginning, pretty decent ending, middle parts I'm happy with, but it's not going to be enough to get to the 50k.

So I have been spending the better part of the last couple days reading my resource books (Plot Building for the Empty Headed, Characters That Don't Make You Puke, and The Idiot's Guide to Dialogue...ok maybe those aren't the titles but they're close) and the hardest part of the job of a writer (for me): brainstorming ideas that you can link together that get you to the end.  I hate brainstorming.  But I'm so excited to be working on a new project, I threaten myself by saying I'll have to go back to the other story and finish it if I don't come up with ideas for the new one.  

That's when that fickle muse of mine goes "Hey, I have an idea..." and I get completely sidetracked.