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January 31st, 2008

Night Writing

One way I know the muse is hitting on all cylinders is to give her free reign whenever inspiration strikes -- and then cut her off before she runs out of gas. Basically, I cut the story off at the point where I know what happens next so I've got a starting point the next day so I can see whether "inspiration" holds and wasn't just the result of a long day and the pre-sleep direction my mind followed at the time.

Wrangling the muse is tricky. Some ideas falter and die. Either because the tone is wrong, the story is wrong. Or it's the character or the setting or the genre. Some take root, though, and I think most of those are the ones I start in the dark hours of the night. The family has gone to bed, and the house is quiet except for the ubiquitous creaks and rattles you hear when you're the only person awake.

I've flirted with this particular short story for a few weeks now as I figure out what long-term project I want to tackle next. I'd driven across town for a writing meeting three weeks ago and the muse geeked to my past experiences with traffic on Stadium as I curves toward Michigan Stadium and PiHi. I hate that road. I've had so many near misses on that stretch of four-lane I avoid it. Of course, the muse decides I need to write about that feeling and those experiences. Except, all I could develop were false starts. I didn't know what kind of story I was trying to write. First person, second person, third? Present or past tense? And let's not even talk about genre yet.

Until last night. I don't know what other people experience when the voice you need rises from your subconscious. All I know is that groove is sweet. It doesn't let you sleep. It won't settle for a scribbled note on a sheet of paper. It demands a beginning. It demands work. Demands being started. Demands life.

After seeing the recent post about Eclipse Two opening for submissions tomorrow, I wanted to write something for Jonathan Strahan. I wanted to write something "unique and wonderful" and sell it to him.

So ... about 400 words of night writing. Enough to let the story take root. I'm going to like this one.

Lost Is Going To Be Good

"I'm one of the Oceanic 6."

What a way to start. I'll take the 8 episodes lock, stock and barrel.

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