Saturday, February 12, 2011

On Losing My Muse

I lost my muse about six months ago after suffering a severe bout of depression. Until then I had the ability to see the entire novel, the entire story, in one vision. I could see where changing a word here affected a word fifty pages away. My muse dictated dialogue. Writing was the easiest thing in the world for me to do. It flowed. Yet, when my reading groups read my work, they always found things to fix or improve. And, I have also never been published. Since I've lost my muse, writing is much more difficult, but in some ways I think it's better. When I do manage to write a chapter, or add to a scene, or whatever, it seems much more polished than before. I'm not sure losing my muse has been a totally bad thing. I just have to work harder, but the results seem to be better.


Tanya Reimer said...

Love this post! It's exactly how I feel.

I look at my first drafts and my final drafts (yeah, I still call them drafts) and can't believe the leap. I could actually sell them as two different books! Even names changed. And it's from doing exactly that, changing one word and affecting the next scene without meaning to, yet making it better. There's a kinda magic there!

The piece I'm working on right now, doesn't have that spark. It's going to take about twenty less drafts to make it to the final one. Why? Were those polishing moments ways to reprogram my brain. Maybe that's the muse at work.

I'll let you know.

And I believe, you don't have to be published to be a writer, you just have to write, but I am insane, so really, what do I know?

Richard said...

I don't think you're insane. You sound like one of the most sane people around.

Tanya Reimer said...

Lol. Still think that after reading my seducer kisses demon scene? Crazy stuff.

Thanks for the nice comments, I'm always nervous posting anything.

I'm writing urban fantasies these days in a historical setting (1917). What can I say, I love magic, I love history, and so I brought the two together.
I tried other genres; romance, who done it, and a thriller, but I have to say, the fantasies are my strong suit, and I stumbled onto them in a most unual way... one might say, a magical way. You never know where life will lead you, eh?

What genre do you write?

Richard said...

family saga/historical/mainstream
I'm trying to write with more of a commercial bent now than I used to; I used to be (or thought I was being) literary. There seems to be no market for literary anymore. If you're extremely lucky, you'll be discovered after you're dead. For some reason, that doesn't appeal to me anymore. Right now, I just want to get my work out there, for whatever it's worth, and see what happens. (Don't we all?)

Tanya Reimer said...

An agent wrote on her site, don't query from the grave. I kid you not. "DON'T QUERY FROM THE GRAVE." Still makes me giggle, does that mean we can't get discovered after we die?

I love historicals. (Who am I kiding, I love all genres, but still, historicals are up among my favourites.) What time period do you focus on? The research was my favourite part.

Richard said...

WWI through WWII. The novel I'm trying to finish now opens in 1917 and goes through the end of WWII, so it covers WWI, The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, and WWII. It's hard to believe that time period is considered historical now, but I guess it is. It's more of a family saga covering that time period.
I wish I could say that the research is my favorite part, but I see it as necessary to help make the story believable. I want just enough detail to do the job. Although, I do enjoy learning about history in general.

It sounds like you write paranormal or YA, or some combination of them. Is that your audience?

Tanya Reimer said...

Well, we're writing in the same time, maybe I'll see you around! LOL

Four of my fantasies are based in 1917, one in 1918. I use mythical creatures I invented to explain all the strange things that happened in those years-- (Suffrage, WWI, the Grain Growers, politics, religion, the use of heroin for meds....) it never ends, and it's sooo much fun to offer an alternate reality. What if this is why it happened??

I was aiming for YA when I started writing, but my male characters took over the show, and they brought a more mature attitude to the scene. SO, now it's adult urban fantasy with a historical element.

Yeah. Try marketing that.

Richard said...

Wow, what a genre soup we get ourselves into--an adult urban fantasy with a historical element. But it does sound interesting. Hope it works out for you. Mine also delved into or was influenced by women's suffrage, politics, and religion, but I ended up deleting much of that. People said that part of the book was boring, so I took it out. The book was way too long anyway. It was up around 136,000 words and growing when I decided some of the subplots had to go. They will form the basis of a sequel to the book I'm working on now. We writers never give up, you know.

Tanya Reimer said...

Yup. Insane. Genre soup, I like that, think I should include it in my query? LOL.

All those elements are not subplots, they're just a regular part of their lives, the stories are only about two people with a few problems. Simple. Not their fault all that is going on in the world, well... maybe some of it is...


I like your idea of putting your excess sub-plots into a series, will it have the same characters?

Stop by my blog, I'm passing on a stylish award to you, for all your inspiration and our great discussions.

Richard said...

I think most of them will be in the second book, but different ones will be the main characters.

And, thank you again for the award. I'll have to figure out how to do all the things you said.

Tanya Reimer said...

that's what I did! Five books, same family, different MC's, all new problems. It was fun. Hope you enjoy it. It creates interesting scenes, because you know those other characters so well.

Richard said...

Have any of your books been published yet, that I might read them?

Tanya Reimer said...

Nope, I just accepted my writing addiction in December, and decided I needed an agent to support it.

I've queried 15 agents so far, without luck. To be fair, the first 8 queries sucked, because I was learning what agents want. It's a different side to the business. It's slowly getting better.

I have two books that are ready for representatation, two in final edits, 2 in revisions and one that's a 1st draft. The others suck, call them learning.

I hate rejections. It just reminds me of how much I want this.

How is your hunt going?

Richard said...

My hunt is not going well. I've got perhaps 8 or 10 e-queries I've sent, but heard nothing from. I've had many rejections. I'm not in a big hurry. Even though the book's completely written, my reading groups are still reading it (2nd time around). They won't finish until this summer sometime. If I haven't found an agent by then, I may try self-publishing the novel. I hope it works out for you.

Tanya Reimer said...

I was recently talking to Roland Yeoman, he published a book on kindle. I asked him a million questions and he was very helpful on the entire process. I've added his link in case you want to follow him, see how it goes. I downloaded his book for 4bucks to check it out. Looks awesome.

Don't rejections suck? King got 65 for Carrie- so hey, there's hope, right?

Richard said...

Thank you for Yeoman's blog. I'll check it out. This weekend I published a collection of short stories on I'm making a post about it today.

Rejections suck. But it seems to be a normal part of the process for the vast majority of us.