Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Have You Seen My Man Muse?

So I'm rounding in on the 20,000 word mark on my current WIP. The thing is, its taken me so long to get here! I feel like I've been struggling with this story for so long its knitted to my bones.

Since June, I have clawed and deleted and guzzled cold coffee at one in the morning...only to snarl at the monitor and slash every paragraph I just wrote. 

I don't know why this seems to happen...EVERY time. I start out all bright-eyed and hopeful and then the image I had in my head seems to come out in a twisted, heaving mess on the paper. No worries, I tell myself. Its part of a process, the sculpting and winnowing, and I keep typing until...

Nothing sounds right, the characters betray me at every turn with their dumb dialogue and pointless action beats. The plot, once so clear and brilliant, disintegrates into a muddled, meandering mess. 

Mr. Vicious
Frustrated, I no longer even try to hide the arguments I am having OUT LOUD with the vicious book reviewer that occupies the dank corner of my mind. ----->

I believe I have reached this sanity-questioning point in my "process" for this book.  I'm a plotter and a planner, so most of my three-ring binder is filled with notes and flow charts and diagrams and the detritus of an uptight mind.  

So much so, that I may have planned myself out of inspiration.  Sometimes too much of a good thing is what gives you the dry heaves...right?

Man Muse
I think I may have to resort to some old fashioned free-writing, seat of my pants, stream of consciousness exercises to get my muse to return...that sadistic, fickle, desperately missed mister. 

<-----You know who you are, Man Muse! *sigh* 

What do you do when your story goes off the rails? Any great advice?  Feel free to commiserate in the comments. I feel you.

Photograph by The Shorts and Longs Photo by gdeantownshende


DEZMOND said...

hope that man muse will take you to a romantic dinner soon :PP

L.G.Smith said...

Well no wonder you can't get anything done. That Ian Somerhalder is WAY too distractingly handsome to be a useful muse. You need someone like Danny DeVito to scream in your ear to get it done. :PP

Seriously, I do think there's some validity to the idea that over planning can take some of the thrill of the chase out of the writing.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Maybe skip that chapter and go on with the next. You can always go back and clean it up in edits later.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Dez - Amen to that!

L.G. - LOL! Danny De'Vito. Not a bad idea.

Susan - Good idea.

Heaven said...

I can't imagine writing a long story because my mind can't hold on for too long to the story line...too many distractions. I think its best to write short or long or whatever strikes your fancy...as you long as you write to keep yourself going. Sometimes I write nonsense until something like sensible comes out...Hope I didn't confuse you some more ~

Laura Marcella said...

Ooo, I hate it when this happens. Freewriting helps! Also writing prompts. Check out my blog's writing workout today! Or some past ones if those don't work for you.

Taking a break from writing helps too; I love to color (it totally frees up the mind!) or read a favorite book when I'm stuck on something with my writing.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Heaven - LOL! Actually you made a lot of sense. :)

Laura - I love your writing exercises. I'll have to stop by and pick one to do.

Dorothy Adamek said...

'the characters betray me at every turn' - lol!! See, it's not really your fault at all.... :)

I would agree with free writing, though. Open the dictionary. Choose the tenth word on whatever page you like. Write for ten minutes using that word as inspiration. Helped me once... It's worth a try.

And I know it sounds lame... but I sometimes mess with the font of my computer. Crazy Aussies... we're upside down all the time anyway!

Hope that desperately missed Mister finds his way home.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Dorothy - That is such a cool idea. I'll do that. I could download and mess with font all day!! Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

Arlee Bird said...

You make it all sound so tortuous and agonizing. My solution is simple: I just give up. Okay, bad advice and not absolutely true. Sometimes I do hang things up and wait to go back to them later. I have so many projects hanging there's hardly any room in my closets for clothes.

Tossing It Out

Raquel Byrnes said...

Arlee - Always a hoot. You know your put it aside idea may work if its for a short time. Maybe I'll start on another project, sort of switch mental gears for a while. :)