1. Yitz
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    Yitz Member

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    Handling the Muse with care

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Yitz, May 26, 2010.

    hey folks,



    I've been reading "Plot and Structure" by James Scott Bell, and it is a fantastic book (and quite possibly almost necessary) for those writing fiction.
    Bell discusses outlining, which I do in a mental fashion and quite loosely at that. A friend of mine on here is also working on a large piece, and she outlined with 3x5 cards of different scenes and played with the order of the cards. She came up with a vastly different plot than what she first imagined, and she was quite pleased with her revised plot and structure of her story.

    Now as for me, I have a muse like she does. But mine keeps me on a short leash--a very short leash. If I did that, (and believe me, I'd love to) I would have "let my muse out." I cannot ever discuss specifics about my story with anyone..or it will not get written. I cannot write something about it in a detailed fashion or it's gone.
    Why?
    Because I expressed the story in some form or fashion.
    For me, the fastest way to kill a story or an article is simply to talk about it
    as an article, or story (discussing concepts is something else.)
    Talking about it is simple story execution: one bullet, back of the head.

    Is anyone else like this?
     
  2. Delphinus
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    Delphinus Senior Member

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    Totally, always, and it's meant my lack of self-control has stopped me writing anything much beyond 10,000 words. It does seem to have become less severe as I've aged and developed as a writer, though; it used to be that I could rarely write more than 1,000 words before sort of collapsing and dying on the floor with my creativity drained. Looking back, I'm wondering if that was because, on a subconscious level, I didn't quite believe in the strength of my writing, despite what others - yes! even experts! - might say.

    I think as I've improved a lot of that creative angst has drained away. But take hope! The angst is the same thing that drives you, if you're like me, to develop your writing skills. It's likely said angst will never entirely go away, but I'm certain that it will eventually be so minuscule, so ineffectual, that I'm able to write articles, stories short and long, poetry to a grand scale.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'm not sure I have a muse yet. Sure I have very brief periods but they don't last more than five minutes.
     
  4. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah, definitely! It's so wondrous and magical before it's been birthed, crackling with energy and potentiality. When it's dragged kicking and screaming into time-space, it begins to whither almost immediately. I never create a physical outline, just spit it out as fast as I can so its heart's still beating by the time it's fully born.
     
  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I think that's what I do. I have a spark of interest but instead of writing it down, I want to examine the plot, the characters, see if it all makes sense and...the thing withers away. :/

    I'm just to orderly sometimes.

    EDIT: It's in my head, still. I just have to get the spark going again and I don't really know how to. Knowing my luck, if I get that spark going, it'll be right where I can't get to my laptop.
     
  6. Roby
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    Roby New Member

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    My muse is my best friend and also my worst enemy. We spend plenty of time arguing who is the smarter of the two and who is more important. My argument is that the muse would not of existed without me, while the muse keeps telling me that existence meant nothing until the muse itself came around.

    One day unexpectedly 'The Fluse' showed up. The fluse is like the muse, only it's there to act as a mediator and keeps our ego's in check. He reminds us there are more important and noble things to pursue than our petty arguing. Although the fluse now is saying his the most important. So much, the fluse is now making final decisions on the novel.

    In a last ditch attpemt to rescue the novel, I've approached the muse and we are now going to find away to make sure the fluse does not boss us around. Surely the muse will come up with something. Although nothing has happened as of yet and now I do not trust the wily muse.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    An unusual dilemma, that.

    I tend to have the reverse problem. My muse visits me at the worst of times. Out and about, in the car, in the middle of a conversation with someone. Rarely does he (yes he) sit himself down next to me as I focus with intent on the computer screen, fingers at the ready.

    If I don't write things down, life gets in my way and they are lost forever. Worse, I know there are things I have forgotten. Secular epiphanies of plot and characterization that never made it to a notepad leave their shadows to haunt me.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That is EXACTLY how I feel, Wreybies. EXACTLY! My muse loves to visit me when I absolutely cannot get to a computer, or if I am in a computer, I don't have a thumbdrive with me.

    He is my bitter enemy as well. :(
     
  9. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Wow, well put.


    I used to be like that, but the pattern only ever seemed to inhibit me in retrospect. Of course the grand outline in my head is inevitably better than the one on my laptop, but that doesn't stop me from jotting down ideas & the like.

    I think some people don't feel like they can easily revise what they write - that there is some form of irreversable imperfection imbued within the written word. By manifesting thought in writing, thought is corrupted, or at least inevitably poorly caricaturized when compared to our authorial omniscience.

    But when it comes down to it, I know what i know, what i intend to mean, & that i can always go back & revise endlessly without restraint or deadline. This is a mentality i've had to condition myself to personally, it wasn't natural originally.

    My outline on paper will never be as good as in my head, but that doesn't mean i can't try to translate it from the metaphysical to the profane - flaws, caricaturizations & all. And i above all don't avoid hashing out ideas for sake of preserving their ethereal virginity.

    That & i tend to have bursts of creativity when i'm taking the time to write stuff down. So, whatever works for you i guess. I'd just try to be sure you're not dampening your creativity with a self-imposed restraint. Goes for anyone.

    In summary, my muse is my b*tch.
    interestin OP
     
  10. Jakv6
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    Jakv6 Member

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    Your imagery is quite visceral.
     
  11. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    I don't really have this problem. The more I talk about an idea the more alive it becomes for me and the more likely I am to sit down and write it. Keeping something a secret is the hardest ever and it stunts my creativity.

    BTW, I read the book mentioned in the OP just a week ago. It is good for double checking your plot to make sure it hits all the right notes before plunging into a story. But I don't have the problem of still births. In fact my current WIP is a storyline I'd had bouncing around in my mind for over 2yrs already, just constantly tinkering and refining etc.

    I don't think I've ever had a muse. What is that?
     
  12. jaebird
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    jaebird Active Member

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    I used to never let anybody read anything I wrote. I'd actually hide my writing from people, until I took a creative writing class and I had to let other people see it. Now I still don't usually discuss in depth about my stories to people except my sister. I've found if I talk about it, many of its flaws pop out without her having to make a comment. I also can get good advice or ideas from talking about it with her. Somehow it puts the story in a new light for me.
     

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