This week I finished off the latest novel, When the Moon Over Kualina Mountain Comes, incorporating all the first reader comments I received. The novel grew about 6000 words from the draft that the first readers read to the draft I turned into my copyeditor. From the end of the first draft to the version I turned into my copyeditor, the novel grew more than 10,000 words. This is why I always say I’m a “putter-inner” – my first drafts are sparse compared to later drafts.
Last night, I started a new short story that I’m writing for an invite-only anthology.
Two lines of a story actually came to me while I was in the middle of rewrites. My muse had had it with subtly adding things (I didn’t add any new scenes or chapters, despite all those words. It was just more description here, additional dialog there, etc.)
My muse wanted to play and insisted that I start writing this very poetic, literary piece about Irish boys.
Mind you, I did not plan on those first two lines being part of this story for this anthology. I had a completely different story in mind for the anthology.
The theme of the first issue of this anthology? Magical motorcycles.
This story? Strictly literary. Nothing paranormal in the least.
I have an idea for a paranormal motorcycle story. But last night, my muse wasn’t interested at all in writing it. Couldn’t even put a single word down on the page.
She just wanted to go write about those Irish boys.
Instead of trying to force the issue, I said fine. (Okay, maybe I acquiesced less gracefully than that.) My muse promised me that the literary story would have motorcycles in it, and it turns out she wasn’t lying. (She’s done that before.)
Still, I don’t think this is the right story for the anthology.
But it’s a very short story, possibly only 1500-2000 words long. Once my muse finishes playing around with the literary piece, she’s indicated that she’s more than happy to write the other, much more magical, fantasy piece.
So what does this have to do with inspiration?
Sometimes, it’s not about feeding your muse with travel, or music, or other really good stories.
Sometimes it’s about listening to what your inner writer really wants to write, letting her go to the sandbox she wants to play in, instead of trying to make her to do what she “should” be doing.
Instead of trying to force the inspiration, it’s about sitting and letting the inspiration come to you, or working with the inspiration you have.
So what about you? When was a time when you had to listen to your inner writer, really listen?