Have you ever heard an author complain about her muse abandoning her? Then you get on Facebook and you see some meme about a writer being someone who prefers the people living in her head, and you find all your writer friends laughing and agreeing. After a while, you start wondering if all writers are a little nuts. Well… actually that’s the subject of another post, but you can look up Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison on your own.
For concrete sequential individuals in jobs like accounting, it may seem strange, but as an artist, I don’t feel like I have much control. Do I like to blame the muse? Sure. Do I know why some things “flow” and others don’t? Nope. I’m sure a psychiatrist would talk about subconscious needs and blah, blah, blah.
All I know is some stories flow, and others drag their feet like recalcitrant children.
The story I recently sold which I tentatively named In the Weeds (God I need to change that title), dragged. I had written bits and pieces over about two years. I fought with it. It fought with me. And sadly, a lot of the time, it won. My publisher offered some art to inspire the muse, and I chose the gorgeous piece you see in this post. I loved it, and the tone fit Vin and Dylan perfectly. I had to change the setting a bit to get them into the city, but the tone worked… I loved the bare back, vulnerable to his partner. I loved the white shirt, this pure camouflage for Dylan’s dark needs. I loved all of it.
The story is a dark tale of submission, and people know that is where my muse usually lives.
Dylan is young (19) and just starting to figure out that he really needs more than vanilla sex. He might be a little lost, but he’ll put on his big boy pants and go into the Stonewall to find someone who can hurt him just enough to make it feel good.
Vin is a Dom who has trouble reining in his darker tendencies. He’s overwhelming, powerful, a bundle of dominant energy barely constrained by social niceties.
I adore these two. But man, they don’t adore me. They fought me tooth and nail. Their story ended up at about 112,000 words, but it took years. Years. And more than a few gray hairs.
But then I started this new story: Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts.
Ondry is still dominant, absolutely. But he’s alien… and tailed… and a little arrogant. He’s not my usual. And Liam is lost and hurt and afraid to love again. Okay, so he totally is my usual type, which undermines my point a little.
My point is that their story fell off my fingers. I told people that I couldn’t claim to have written the story as much as I could say I was sitting at the keyboard when it fell out. 30,000 words came out in two days. Two more days for beta readers to get me some edits, and by day five, that puppy is out there looking for a home with a publisher.
Why did one leap out of me and one get dragged out kicking and screaming? Why does one idea hit and another die on the vine? Why do I have at least thirty books in different fragments and bits? Why do I have sequels for Gathering Storm and Insistent Hunger languishing while my muse chases through the fields after a new bit of fluff? And why do some bits of fluff stick more than others?
I don’t know.
It’s not about perceived marketability because I know I write some stuff that not many people are going to like.
I know it’s not about having enough time because I never have time. I have one full-time job, one part-time job, and college classes. I don’t have time to breathe.
I know it’s not about my friends and flist because they are endlessly supportive no matter what I do.
So I’m left blaming the muse. Yep. It’s her fault. I need someone to make me a t-shirt.