Fighting Your Muse.

Inspiration

I’m writing this blog post on Sunday. And my brain is all over the place. It’s hard to find peace and joy when the world seems chaotic and filled with pain.  And writing a holiday novella seems almost impossible.

Though, that is not the topic of this post.

I wanted to talk about fighting your muse. Something I don’t recommend, and something I frequently do as a pantser.

My muse likes to dump ideas on me constantly at inconvenient times and places.

In the middle of writing a story?

My bastard of a muse: “here’s a brilliant and completely unrelated idea.”

Falling asleep?

My muse: “Have you considered….”

In the shower?”

My Muse: “I am a genius.”

So when do you fight the muse?

It can be dangerous to ignore good ideas. I mean, they’re good. You want to write them.

Some ideas I have to let go because I don’t think they’re mine to write. Others I jot down in my idea notebook (I start a new one every year.) And some, I start immediately because my brain won’t quit.

The key is to know when to battle your muse into submission–like when you have a deadline and don’t have time for a new idea.

And when to go with the flow.

How about you?

Does your muse flood you with ideas at the worst moments?

 

 

 

Writing Villains.

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There are groups of villains in Here Comes The Son, my urban fantasy. I tried quite hard to ensure none of them came off as caricatures of a baddie. Voldemort comes to mind when I think of over the top villains.

For me, some of the most fascinating baddies, are ones who righteously believe in their actions. They don’t see themselves as bad or evil. They wholeheartedly think they’re doing the right thing.

The *insert spoiler* were fun to write. They genuinely believe they’re doing God’s work in their own twisted way. They’ve separated from others to follow their own path.

And gone horribly wrong as a result.

They believe their motivation is correct.

For me, motivation is both fascinating and essential. Why is the villain doing what they’re….doing? I don’t know if other authors are as interested in it. I am.

Backstory I think goes hand in hand with motivation. One leads into the other. Some characters personal histories never make it onto the page, but having that in my mind helps me tell their side of the story.

And I’m also always fascinated when others pick up on those little hints in a story.

 

 

 

Writing is Hard.

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The alternate title to this post would be: Five ways Here Comes The Son surprised me while writing it.

‘Writing is hard’ is accurate as fuck, though.

1. Level of Difficulty.

Of all the novels I’ve written, Here Comes The Son, is at the top of the list for being the most difficult. I struggled. My publisher had to push my editing deadline multiple times. I hit writer’s block for the first time, really, in my writing career. I loved the story, the characters, the city…everything, but I still had to fight for each word.

2. Side Characters.

I hadn’t actually intended the cast of characters in the story to become so large and varied.

3. The Bad Peeps.

*spoilers*

4. Research.

I’ve done a lot of varied and interest researching for my books. Here Comes The Son probably stretched my googling skills to the max.

5. The Ending.

This actually coincides with the first on this list. The ending changed a bit over the course of writing the novel. In fact, at one point, I almost gave up on trying to put it together.

I’m glad I didn’t.

I adore Iggy and Lalo.

And their story.

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter To Myself

….well, a letter to twenty-year-old me.

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Dear Self,

First, you’re going to be okay. Divorce is scary, but it’s not the end of the world.

Second, you’re autistic. I know you think you have some terminal illness because you get so tired after being around people. It’s okay. You’re autistic. And you’re going to be so relieved when you find out.

Third, you will fall in love again.

Fourth, the divorce was about him…not you. He’s been divorced three more times since you.

Fifth, you’re brilliant. And you can write. You just have to believe enough in yourself to try.

Now, stop crying into the ice cream.

He’s not worth it.

You’re going to be fine.

Love,

Me

 

Fear is the mind killer.

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I don’t know about other authors, but I tend to give my characters traits and background stories that never make it into the novel. A prime example would be the fact most of my characters have phobias.

And of all my main characters, I think only one or two of them had their phobias actually show up on the page.

BC from The Wanderer with his fear of spiders, for example. Or, Bishan who hates cotton wool and would happily set all of it on fire.

And has.

I am a pantser of sorts. While I rarely fully plot out a story and I never have an outline, I do attempt to flesh out my characters fully. I want to know who they are since it helps me write.

How can you tell someone’s story if you don’t know who they are?

So, I keep book bibles on all my stories. At the moment, I use slender A5 individual notebooks from Muji. They’re the perfect size for keeping track of everything related to a story.

The first thing I do is to begin a sort of profile of my two main characters.

What do they look like?

Do they have tattoos?

Who are their friends, family, enemies?

What are their dreams, hopes, fears, etc?

Now, a lot of the time, most of the information will never make an appearance in the pages of their story. But, it makes them real to me. I’m not a visual person–I can’t conjure up their face in my mind’s eye, yet all the written details make them more real than if I had a photo of them.

I believe phobias tell you a lot about a person.

Maybe not a lot, but a little. Some fears are rational–some not so much. Cotton wool, for example.

Toshiro from One Last Heist has two great phobias that are connected–the Ocean…and drowning in it. His beloved Mack is afraid of darkness.

How about you? What are you afraid? I have quite a few phobias–heights, spiders, bugs in general. lol

Own Your Shit. Dump The Rest.

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The gif has nothing to do with this post aside from the fact that I’m writing it on a Thursday morning when not even coffee is enough to get my brain in gear.

So, buckle up.

The other day I was playing a video game. It’s a multiplayer game. Now, I turn off the open chat because I’ve no interest in listening to the misogynistic nonsense that is prevalent in the gaming world.

While standing around waiting for an in-game event to start, another gamer began harassing my character.

This is how it started.

My character is literally just standing still playing a lute. (It’s a game emote you can do to kill time.) My character is female. Another gamer comes over and begins trying to engage me.

He swings his weapon at my character.

I keep playing my lute.

He gets tired of being annoyed, so he runs over toward a group of enemies nearby and uses one of his powers to drag the enemy over to my character which forces me to engage with the creature to avoid being killed.

I kill the enemy then go back to playing the lute.

This happened four times.

And I’m starting to get pissed off. Why does this always happen? I just want to play my lute and wait for the in-game event. Being pissed off causes me to also be stressed out, which is terrible for my blood pressure issues.

And that’s when it hits me.

You know, this jackass is just doing this to get a reaction.

So, I leave.

Own your shit. I can only control myself. No matter how annoyed another person makes me, I can’t force them to change. So? Controlling my shit means leaving an area to find somewhere else to play. It’s a massive game, I easily found another event without the annoying asshole.

And that’s the dump the rest part.

That dickhead? Not my responsibility. I shook off my annoyance and continued to enjoy the game.

Why should I let a perfect stranger ruin my enjoyment?

I owned my shit. And dumped the rest.

Can you relate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a name?

Or a book title.

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Here Comes the Son went through a series of titles before I hit on the punny goodness of the perfect one.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the rejects.

1. Not the Devil

2. Devil on My Shoulder

3. Wicked Satisfaction

4. Morning Son

5. Son of the Morning

6. Son Set

7. Devilish

8. Kingdom Come

9. Wicked Saint

10. Wicked Inheritance