Yes I do imagine my muse to be a tiny Woodstock-sounding thing, buzzing about my shoulders, and she won’t shut up. Just before NJRW’s February writing challenge, she ripped me away from a speculative WIP to write my first contemporary YA since high school. I won’t give specifics now, but I’m feeling very good about this one and thus owe a lot to that buzz in my ear.
Usually, I will take months to plan a book, but with the writing challenge so close and the muse so insistent (swatting the air over my shoulder), I decided to take the plunge and just write. With only two days of intense planning under my belt, I wrote, mapping out scenes as I came upon them and then drafting in earnest. This was how this book wanted to be written and written fast.
My last WIP, in contrast, felt like a long push uphill. For this paranormal romance, I spent a long time mapping out characters, plotting, re-plotting, creating scene cards, etc., so when it came to the actual writing I felt constrained by that structure. I had to tear everything down more than once and even started the manuscript over, dumping 15,000 words in the process. Currently, I feel very good about this quirky paranormal, but it was a long haul.
Lesson learned? Some books will be a push no matter what, but it helps to leave more breathing room than I’ve been as of late. My characters will always find a way to undermine my best-laid plans because they want to drive the plot, and more power to ’em.
How insistent is your muse? Is she monotone or melodic–does she push you in the same manner through every book?
Michelle Joyce Bond