Monday, April 12, 2010

SUBLIMINAL MONDAY: Writing Without a GPS or Where's My Confounded Muse?

This past week has been tough on me as a writer. [Cue violins, sad faces, and crying babies.] As you may know, I've changed my book from 3rd person POV to 1st. For the most part, I've been thrilled with the change. That is, until I got stuck.

During this, the fourth draft, I've done a great deal of rewriting vs editing. In other words, knowing the story from beginning to end, I've taken on rewriting it from the perspective of my main character (mc). I love her to death, but she's one tough cookie. [Writing Tip: Never use cliches in your novels. Only on your blog posts. *grin*]

Turns out, she had other plans for the direction of the story. Not a totally different outcome - I mean she and I were still driving to the same destination - she just decided it would be fun to take a detour. (Some people prefer the back roads to the highways.) Problem was, she didn't give me any warning and I didn't have a GPS. [And, according to my darling husband, I suck at all things electronic.]

My mc grabbed the wheel, turned the car, and left me at the controls.
"Wait!" I screamed, "I don't know where we're going!"
She laughed. "I know. Too bad for you. Guess you better figure it out before we end up hopelessly lost, or worse yet, crash the car!" She laughed again, put her ear buds in, blew a giant bubble, and tuned me out completely.

Damn teenagers.

So, what did I do? [No one cares.] I picked my husband's brain, emailed Awesome Agent, and prayed to My Mysterious Muse. [Twist on Led Zeppelin's THE CRUNGE: I'm just trying to find my muse. Has anybody seen my muse? Have you seen my muse? I ain't seen my muse. Where's my confounded muse?]

What were the results of all my worry? Nothing. Nada. Zip, zero, zilch. I begged my mc [in lieu of Jesus] to take the wheel, but she wasn't talking. Her lips were sealed. If nothing else, she's an expert at keeping secrets. So, I put my faith in the process.

At four o'clock in the morning, I woke up and sat straight up in bed. I had my answer. I clicked on my computer and started writing. I went back through my ms and changed what I needed to in order to make the story work. My Mysterious Muse had come through. [It sure as hell wasn't my bratty, teenage mc! Oh, no, she was having WAY too much fun laughing at me and watching me suffer. Beyotch!]

My point? When you have a problem with your ms, when you hit a wall, run out of steam, want to cash in your chips, etc, [God, I love cliches!] let it simmer. Think about the problem every which way you can, and then let it go. Trust in The Universe - trust in The Process. Most importantly, trust in yourself and your talent.

And to my mc I say, "Sorry, babe, but my maturity trumps your teenageyness every time." [Okay, what I really said was, Neener, neener, neener, you can't catch me!]

30 comments:

Kelly said...

Don't you love it when it finally clicks? When I'm stuck, I put it aside. I just don't have time to sit and look at a blank computer screen (or a troubled manuscript)!
I knew you would triumph over that angsty teen!

Lisa K. said...

You're right...there's a great lesson in there: Trust in the process. That's so hard to do sometimes. Glad it all worked out for you.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kelly, That certain "clicking" sound is magical. And, down w/angsty teens!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Lisa, Sometimes we need to get our brilliant derrieres out of the way and let the magic flow. ;-)

Indigo said...

Bwahahaha! Oh I know it's not that funny. Oh hell it is, I've been there. And never, ever ask the spousal unit. Paul tends to try to take the reins and he loves ninjas (Last I checked there were NO ninjas in my WIP). Honestly, he's not that bad...erm...he's learned to brush off the death dagger glares.

For me it never fails, the answers come when I'm neck deep in something else and can't possibly stop to write it out. Side note, Paul has stopped jumping at the loud exclamations of, "Aha!" rendering his serenity obsolete. (Hugs)Indigo

Debra L. Schubert said...

Indigo, The answers come when you're doing "something else." The thing to remember is, they always do come. Have faith in the process. It's mysteriously perfect! [Or, as Tony the Tiger says, "magically delicious!"]

Carolin Seidenkranz said...

"Trust in the process."

Amen.

I think that's the best advice ever, because I am not a big planner. My best work, is when I just sit down, let it flow and WRITE without thinking about it. And often I don't trust in the process and overthink things, but I think every once in a while, you should just let your obsession with controlling the process take a backseat and just let it happen. I, too, feel that I have my best ideas when I let my thoughts flow freely.

Don't you love those random inspirations, where everything just falls into place? I think it's the best moment of being a writer, when after mulling about a thought for ages, everything becomes so clear to you? *g*

Good luck with the rest of the rewrites. =)

Sybir St. John said...

My answers always come when I'm doing something else, or even out driving on my own. Of course, when I'm driving it's that much harder to remember it all for the page, but some how, some way, it works.

Glad you overcame! We knew you would :)

Laura Marcella said...

Loved this post bc sometimes I don't trust the process. I just don't want to be patient. I want my muse to get me out of a plot hole RIGHT NOW. Unfortunately, demands never work and my muse avoids me like the plague. So I have to wait. And that just sucks! But it always comes through and I accept graciously (with a lot of grumble mumbles and "It's about time" and "what took you so long"). But it's better late than never! (Heehee, I like clich├ęs, too. Never in a MS, but on blogs it's a-ok!)

I'm glad everything worked out for you, Debra!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Carolin, "Don't you love those random inspirations, where everything just falls into place? I think it's the best moment of being a writer..."

YES!!! I love those moments. It's kind of like winning the lottery or getting a hole in one on the golf course - keeps you coming back for more. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Stacia, I tend to wake up in the middle of the night with "the answer." I love when that happens, although I hate dragging myself up to get my thoughts on paper. Thanks for having faith in me - you're a true treasure. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Laura, I think sometimes when we try to force the muse, she tries harder to make our lives miserable. It's like we're playing a shell game, except there's no shell and we don't know it. Then, when she thinks we've suffered enough, she lets us choose the right shell. ;-)

Tawna Fenske said...

Great post! I always hate people who say "just relax, it'll all work itself out" in response to whatever difficulty life throws at them. But I must admit, that's true nearly 100% of the time with writing!

Tawna

Kimberly Franklin said...

My Muse is cracking her whip at me right now, but I just had to show Subliminal Monday some love.

Good luck on your POV change. Those pesky little teens can be so annoying sometimes [all the time] can't they?!

Happy Monday!!

jdcoughlin said...

I hate it when they do that. I mean, just who do they think they are? I mean, who do they think we are? So glad you got the upper hand. Or at least got your hands back on your keys making beautiful music!!

Love the Trust in the Process!!

I know. I should use those exclamation things.
Can't stop!!!

Julie said...

Too funny and more than slightly endearing to know that I'm not the only one with unruly characters who take control of stories. In my rewrite, one character didn't like how I wrote him last time, and he's stepping up... and I like him so much more this way.

Sometimes teenagers (real and fictional) really do have the right ideas. :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Tawna, I'm one of those people you hate. [Yikes!] I'm the ultimate optimist and a hippie at heart. [Just chill, man!];-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kim, Teens, pesky? WHAT? [Sorry, my teenager is in the room.] And, I'm so glad you stopped by - SM wouldn't be the same without you. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Judith, Please remind me to "trust in the process" next time I'm acting like an angsty teenager, I mean author. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Julie, Please don't tell my kids they often have the right ideas. It'll mess up everything we've worked so hard for. [KIDDING!]

Nancy J. Parra said...

Great post- trusting yourself is the hardest part, isn't it? :)Glad it worked out-
Cheers~

Debra L. Schubert said...

Nancy, Yes, trusting yourself [and your imaginary, I mean very real muse] is the hardest part! Cheers to you, too, my friend. ;-)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I love it when a moment of clarity arrives. I'm sunk if i don't have pencil and paper handy. I say, oh I'll remember that. How could I forget it?

Then, just like that pair of scissors I put somewhere never to be found again, so goes my clear solution for my story. Be prepared.

Debra L. Schubert said...

MJ, Be prepared is stellar advice. I always carry a notebook and pen with me in my purse. You never want to lose those fleeting jewels!

Lynsey Newton said...

Fabulous post and I'm now following your blog and on twitter! This made for very interesting and humourous reading ;)

Ruthanne Reid said...

Yessssss. WELL said, all around. Good for you pushing through that plot-knot!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Lynsey, So glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks so much for the follows! Much appreciated. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Ruthanne, Plot Knot - love it! Wish there weren't so darn many of them, though... ;-)

koralee said...

I don't know how you do it??? You amaze me my friend..I have been doing some articles for some magazines ..largest one 800 words and it has taken me sooooo long..I have no writing background at all...just wish they would ask for photographs..that I can do. Thanks for all your encouraging words all the time ...xoxoox

Debra L. Schubert said...

Koralee, Your photographs are absolute masterpieces. Thank you for sharing them with the world. ;-)

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