Freelance writer Dale Mayer lives in Kelowna, BC, Canada. She’s multi-pubbed in nonfiction but her true love is the stories that weave through her mind. For the past nine years, she’s written around the daily responsibilities of being a single mother of four and still squeezes in time to produce new fiction manuscripts each year. She writes both adult and young adult fiction focusing on taut psychological suspense with romance and paranormal elements. She is a finalist in Brava’s Writing for the Stars contest. The voting for the first round started on the 11th and goes to the 24th
(Karin here, go vote for Dale! Now!!!)
The Fickle Muse and You
Most writers are comfortable writing in a certain genre. Most of us have picked an area that we love to read, feel comfortable with creating, and stick with it. Some stretch a little further down the road such as travelling from romance to erotica or from suspense into full on mystery. The thing is, just because we write what we write today, doesn’t mean that’s what we’ll still be writing tomorrow.
When the muse hits, she can be a frightfully hard to ignore. That’s actually a good thing. If I had ignored my muse when she slammed me about two months ago, I’d be sitting here with an empty page wondering what to write next.
Instead, I listened. At the time, I thought she was nuts. My writing has always followed the same pattern. I get a glimmer of an idea and I write the book. Sometimes I revise that book immediately, if I can, I let it sit for a bit and work on a new project. This way I always have something to work on. But I never have an unfinished project. I’m not one of those people with a half dozen unfinished manuscripts, a dozen half formed ideas waiting there for a chance to bloom. Even if I believe the manuscript is the worst I’ve ever written, I finish it. I know other writers out there are shaking their heads and saying, “Why waste your time?”
For me, the answer is that if the idea was strong enough for me to sit down and start a manuscript – then that same idea is worth me finishing. Honestly, I think every book I finish is junk. That’s normal. Not just for me, but I think Stephen King actually threw his manuscript ‘Carrie’ into the garbage – it was his wife who retrieved it. Thank heavens for her.
So now that I’ve digressed – what was it the muse was telling me? On Monday, about two months ago, it told me to start something I’d never written before, something I swore I never would write – a vampire book. Now I laughed when I started it, because this was a YA paranormal suspense. Like who’d have thought. Then on Tuesday, I opened up the same ms and my fickle muse wouldn’t let me work on it. No I had to start a second new book. Another YA, only this one was a mystery series. I shook my head and spent the day on that book. After I ran out of juice on with those characters, I went and added to the vampire book. That made sense to me in a way. Now I’d write two books at the same time. As a prolific writer, I thought that was a natural progress ensuring that I always had something to write. Wednesday, I got up and went to work on the mystery series, nope, couldn’t do it. Opened the vampire book, and you guessed it, I wasn’t allowed to work on that one either. I opened up yet another blank page and didn’t I start yet another new YA book. This time an urban fantasy. After I ran out of ideas on that one, I went and added to both of the other books. Cool, now I had three to work on.
Thursday I got up and couldn’t believe it when once again I couldn’t work on any of the already started manuscripts and was forced to once again start a new one. This time a fantasy. When I went to bed on Thursday night I was quite perturbed as I had struggled to write on all four books that day. I awoke on Friday and told my muse to ‘shut up!’ Why? Because there were angels and demons on my mind for a fifth book.
I politely told everyone involved that their time would come but not until I finished all the stories I’d started already. Now 8 weeks later, I’m over half done the fourth book that I started that crazy week. And the angels and demons are stirring…waiting for their chance.
How does your muse work? For or against you? Does she run you around in circles? Or lead you in down a straight and narrow path? Do you listen?
Thanks Karin for the opportunity to be here!
Writing for the Stars Finalist
Thank, you Dale for being my guest today!