Thursday, March 6, 2008

Listening to my muse . . .



So, I'd thought I was going to give myself a rest, a break. I was going to be, as folks in Hollywood say, on hiatus. I'd just finished a major rewrite of the novel I started in January 2007. I haven't even heard back from my agent about whether or not she deems it "submission ready." My sons will be home for spring break later this month (and one of them is getting his wisdom teeth out, so I'll be wearing my little nurse hat). Then I'm off to the Virginia Festival of the Book. The following weekend my husband and I will be in California celebrating my dad's 80th birthday. We're stretching out the long weekend even more to see Springsteen on April 7.

So, with all of that, it didn't make sense to immerse myself in starting a new novel. I mean, I wouldn't be able to establish any writing rhythm, and I might still have to make changes on the MS I just sent off. Giving myself a clean break would be good. Clear the decks, so to speak, so that on April 9 I could dive in. Spring is the season of new beginnings, after all, and we're still mired in winter here in The Heartland.



But you know what? All week, I've had this woman nagging at me every morning when I'm first waking up (my husband can insert his own joke here). And yesterday, the harping continued throughout the day. She poked at me when I was trying to read the paper. She followed me around the kitchen when I was putting away the groceries and loading the dishwasher. She even bugged me when I was in the shower.

So I opened a new document on my laptop. And I was her steno. I took dictation. She's got quite a story to tell. I'm just trying to record it. And I'm hoping the muse who brought her to me will keep her talking and will also introduce me to some of the other people in her life: her mom; Jim, her husband; and Maggie, her daughter. I figure they'll help me understand how she ended up in a parking lot on a hot June day about to pull the trigger.

13 comments:

kristenspina said...

Great post, Judy!! Hope the muse stays by your side in the busy weeks to come...

Lisa said...

Ooooooh! This new character sounds so intriguing. She follows you into the shower too? My characters are always doing that!

April said...

Wow..that sounds wonderful! I love it when that happens..when the character finds you when you aren't even looking. (I say that like I"m some pro or something! geez!)

Julie Layne said...

If I'm stuck, I take a shower. Or take a nap. Works ALMOST every time.

Sounds like she's got a story to tell, for sure!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Kristen, thanks--and when we're in California we're staying at the same place in Ventura you and your husband stole off to.

Lisa, yup, the shower. It happens all the time.

April, it is fun, isn't it? You never know when they'll track you down.

Julie, you're right, naps work almost as well. And it's in those first waking up minutes that I get so much pre-writing done.

Larramie said...

Yes, Judy, that final part of her dilemma would get my attention too. May she -- and her cast of characters -- follow you everywhere.

Carleen Brice said...

Amazing! Muse or no muse, I'm totally burned out. I'd love to hear from you about how you found energy to start ANOTHER book. Can't wait to see you in VA!

Daisy said...

Wisdom teeth -- oh, the memories. I drove my daughter way across town (took almost 40 minutes) on a day so icy the schools were closed. Her boyfriend came over later to relieve me and feed her popsicles.

debra said...

Sounds like an interesting woman with a story to tell. Can/t wait until you write down her words...

blog49 said...
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barb said...

A few days ago I wrote the following on my blog:

"I have spent so much time creating the characters and their lives that they have become real. So real that I am finding things out about them that I didn’t know. Last night a ‘new voice’ started up. Ha ha not one of those voices telling me to find something sharp!
One of the women started to narrate the story to me and I hadn’t planned that at all.

As I write this I’m wondering if we don’t actually make up stories. Perhaps these people already exist on a quantum level and all we do is observe their actions or grab hold of a passing thought.
Maybe they just allow us to write about them."

Having just read this ... I rest my case.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Larramie, Thanks. From your lips to the muse's ears . . .

Carleen, I think the energy found me rather than the other way around! Yes, it'll be great to spend time with you in VA.

Daisy, let's hope for no ice or snow here for the teeth-pulling.

Debra, thanks, I'm really liking her.

Barb, Very cool idea . . . maybe they just exist on a quantum level. I love it!

Therese said...

You go, author girl!

There's never a bad time to start a great new story.