Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Intrusive Muse

After a two week hiatus from writing I sat down to continue the slogging, tedious process of revising/rewriting/editing my novel - a task involving rephrasing about one sentence out of ten and changing the novel's singular point of view to the more reader-friendly third person.  As I said; tedious, but necessary: I do want to finish this piece once and for all.

So, after getting through another ten or twenty pages, a little idea for a story that had occurred to me while enjoying my breakfast coffee with a blueberry muffin in frigid Portland bubbled to the surface of my mind and demanded that I pay attention.  It was a mosquito bite of irritation; a gnat's itch that would not cease as I struggled to concentrate on the work at hand.  It was an insistent, demanding irritation that intruded into every thought.  I've know this itch before and what it portended.

In a recent interview Stephen King mentioned that he never wrote down his story ideas.  If an idea has merit,  he contended, it will rise for attention when needed.   Itch, itch, itch the little story idea continued to plague me for another page where I finally yielded.  I put the novel aside, brought up a blank screen with the idea of writing an outline, scene sketches as it were that I would put aside for later, after finishing the novel.

Blocking the scenes came so easily that I knew my muse must have been working at the plot, the emotional levels, and the settings without informing the my conscious mind.  That she was active while I was preoccupied became evident as the words, the descriptions, the incidents, people, dialogue, and characterizations rolled so effortlessly onto the screen.  Usually I struggle with plot and wrestle each paragraph to submission before endlessly editing and rewriting until I finally abandon the entire effort to submission.  Only on rare occasions does my muse allow me to write so flawlessly.  

Four hours later I had the entire story mapped out in ten scenes and had written three thousand words leading up to the key scene, where I stopped.  The flow of the narrative and evocation of scenes had been so painless that I could have continued to the end, but I wanted - needed - to do THAT scene with fresh eyes and a clear mind.

Ask me how this happened and I reply that the words flowed like liquid gold, pouring into the plot as the characters, dialogues, scenes, and incidents grew in cascading profusion and without effort.  It was as if someone apart was dictating to give birth to this story.  It is a process I cannot understand, feel exceptionally blessed when it happens, and wish I could evoke every time I sit down to write.

This story will probably be finished by this evening I'm sure and then it is back to the workbench to pound out another few pages, edit unfinished materials that are trying to get my attention, and do the mundane things life demands of us so I can continue to follow my bliss and write.

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