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So Obvious in Hindsight

February 19, 2013

Me again, talking about my revision. This is so big, I just have to share.

I was not expecting much today, because I’m managing a minor Muse meltdown. He is going all Monastery on me, shaved his head and took a vow of silence. He refuses to eat anything but broth, has his wings hanging on a hook next to him in the cellar … and writes only one word at a time on a slate with a piece of chalk.Little black chalkboard, isolated

I know—what a melodramatic pain in the butt. But, he’s worth it.

Only ten minutes into my revision session, (I’ve slowed down to two chapters a night to preserve the Muse’s sanity. The rest of the night will be devoted to downloading new music, watching Jimi Hendrix videos and looking up cool sixties quotes) I asked the HTRYN lesson 19 question: What is the credible problem in this scene?

Let’s just say, the answer knocked my socks off. Turns out, some of my characters have something in common that I didn’t see before. They are living on borrowed time, just like my main character. You’d have to read it to see. But Wow. The best revelations usually seem so obvious in hindsight.

My notes look something like this:Roman Malyshev/Big Stock

BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG

Credible problem: Nick is putting together the pieces of his strange waking dreams.

… (Spoilers ahead, sorry) …

Is this a major Eureka? But I just started writing tonight! What’s next, complete writing nirvana?!

BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG

I love revision.

How do you manage your Muse? What is your writing nirvana? Roman Malyshev/Big Stock

Images courtesy of Marinic Borislav and Roman Malyshev @ BigStock.com

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15 Comments
  1. February 19, 2013 11:22 pm

    So glad you love revision, lol. It makes me feel like jumping off a cliff!!!

    • February 21, 2013 7:19 pm

      It makes me feel that way too. Strangely though, I like jumping off cliffs! Metaphorically anyway. 😉

      • February 21, 2013 8:49 pm

        I am with Jamie. Revision (at least the part about figuring out everything that is wrong with the manuscript — which is about half the work) is ten times harder than the actual writing and makes want to doing less painful — like sleeping on a bed of nails.

  2. February 19, 2013 11:25 pm

    It sounds like its going well, stroppy muse or not!

    • February 21, 2013 7:20 pm

      It is going well, slow but fun most of the time. Muse is settling down too. 🙂

  3. February 19, 2013 11:52 pm

    Yupper, sometimes the Muse can be difficult at best. Mine wants to write new things and totally distaste Revision. She seems to find anything else to do other than work on the Revision. I just wish I was on Lesson 19 :0(

    You have worked really hard on this novel and I can’t wait for you to finish.

    • February 21, 2013 7:22 pm

      Neither can I! I have so many other stories that need my attention.
      I have to agree with you about writing new things. The only way to keep the Muse on board is to write something new on the side–something I learned all over again with ‘his’ latest episode!

  4. February 20, 2013 8:52 am

    I cajole her, then push her, but if she really digs her heals in, I abandon her for relaxation, reading, or even housework. She resents being ignored and usually bursts with ideas before long.

    My writing nirvana is when my typing hands can’t keep up with the lines flowing out of my brain. 🙂

    • February 21, 2013 7:24 pm

      Doing other things really helps me as well! As long as I get back to the keyboard eventually. 🙂

  5. February 20, 2013 11:31 am

    So my muse and I don’t really have a working relationship. I tap on his shoulder, and he flips me off. Then on a random day, he rushes in with this new idea for book, throws all of the notes at me, says “I’m late for another meeting, good luck!” and rushes off.

    As for writing Nirvana, I haven’t been there, but I imagine it has fountain pens that when you write with them, the words appear in your word processor. Also, writing Nirvana has no homonyms, just saying.

    • February 21, 2013 7:30 pm

      Your muse made me smile, what a guy!
      As for homonyms–the funny thing that happens when I’m really cruising on my wordage is that I make language mistakes I would never make in my ‘conscious’ state–their/they’re mistakes.
      Theirs 😉 something to this right brain/left brain stuff IMO.

  6. February 20, 2013 10:28 pm

    Congrats on your exciting discovery…that’s pretty awesome 🙂

    I actually don’t know what my writing nirvana is. I’m just getting started on Lesson 2 on the first of what is a collection of 6 stories, so I feel like I have so much work in front of me. Using a short piece to get through HTRYN for the first time is at least less daunting than it was when I was trying it with my 120k word novel, so there’s that.

    In the meantime I’m also spending some time just writing some stuff based on nothing more but the seed of an idea and discovering what happens next–mostly so I can maintain something like a word count discipline while I revise a piece. So far it’s gotten me what-could-charitably-be-called first drafts of several short stories, and I also have an idea for a first draft of a novella.

    So while I have a lot to do before I have some ready for people to read, I have a growing pile of raw material that seems to feed itself with new ideas. I’m pretty stoked about that. I remember a time when I was thinking about getting back into writing, but I had no idea where to get an idea for a project from. Now I have enough to keep me busy for quite a long time 🙂

    • February 21, 2013 7:42 pm

      Hi Mike,
      There are so many ways to tackle this writing gig, and I love learning about each and every one of them. I didn’t call this blog ‘A Scenic Route’ by accident! 😉

      HTRYN does feel overwhelming for a full length piece, especially for a total newbie like me. I have to remind myself all the time that going through the lessons for the entire first draft, most of which would be sliced out, is good for practice if nothing else. I compare it to playing scales on the piano, repetitive and tedious, but, just like learning an instrument, I notice incremental progress, both in the revision story and the side projects the Muse insisted on to stay happy, as my level of understanding improved.
      You will too, I think, as long as you keep at it!

      And, every so often I get a breakthrough like I had today! 😀

  7. February 21, 2013 7:34 pm

    Great muse news, Kirsten.

    My nirvana is lots of great ideas and the discipline and talent to tell them.

    As for my muse, that bad-boy has yet to step up with a fascinating idea for another novel.
    I may have to beg, grovel, and pester him until he helps me just to shut me up.

    • February 21, 2013 7:47 pm

      He’s a bad-boy, eh? Sounds like he might have a lot in common with my own dark twin.

      Good point about having the ability to tell my stories properly. So often I have an idea that I wish I could turn over to another (more capable!) writer than I am so that it wouldn’t turn into another soggy mess …
      Gotta get up to snuff with this revision process, I suppose.

      Sometimes bribery works wonders with muses. Have you tried chocolate? 😉

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