My muse is on walkabout.
Mental exhaustion I tell myself when this happens.
Too many things to do so I can’t think. Yeah, I haven’t cleaned the oven since the last time I did this. Like yesterday.
I haven’t been lectured by my college roommate that trying to write fiction is useless and degrading. Unless it’s literary fiction.
I start throwing things like teddy bears and boxes of facial tissues, tears streaking my face. I am only allowed to throw things that are unbreakable. And I’m not allowed to cry except when I’m writing the final scenes of a book.
My muse has gone walkabout.
Maybe I need a nap.
“You need to get out of the house!” my dearly beloved exclaims as he begins the process of surgically removing me from the computer. Within minutes he hustles me into the car and we head east toward wilderness.
Eight hours, three hundred twenty-five miles, and three hundred eighty-five dollars’ worth of collectible beer steins later we are within ten miles of home, on Highway 26 coming off of Mt Hood and I’m watching the mist rise up out of the valley below Laurel Hill (the last major obstacle on the old Oregon Trail, that is symbolic) and I wonder what kinds of monsters might hide in that mist…
And it hits me. Eighty pages into an eight hundred page manuscript, my heroine should not be manipulating my villain. He’s not worthy of her.
This was Guardian of the Trust, Merlin’s Descendants #2 where a descendant of Merlin must make certain that King John signs the Magna Carta. An aging and almost respectable Robin Hood shows up later in the book. In every book and movie I know of, King John is always the villain.
Unfortunately I’d done my research. While not the best king, John was an educated and efficient governor. He had his shortcomings to be sure. His biggest problem was that he stayed in England and didn’t allow his barons to engage in endless civil war, grabbing land by might rather than right of law.
I couldn’t cast him as the malicious and murderous villain I needed.
By the time we drove those final ten miles home I had found a suitably shadowy villain who manipulated King John but couldn’t be found or manipulated by my heroine until almost the end of the book.
The next seven-hundred twenty pages nearly wrote themselves.
So, sometimes the muse as well as the author needs a day wandering new territory with no computer in sight and no cellphone or internet signal.