Posts Tagged ‘muse’

The other morning, I had worked at getting several hundred words into the fifth White Dragon Black novel, which, alas, still has no name. ~looks pointedly in Muse’s direction~ I decided to use some of my time in the afternoon to finish up the first draft of a short story. I opened the file and began to skim it, to re-familiarize myself with what already existed.

That didn’t take long, because there was only a couple of paragraphs – short ones at that. I felt my stomach drop, even as my mind went into wild bird in glass box mode. My brain bounced from one thought to another as it tried to reconcile the fact that it was sure there was a lot more to this work than was on the screen. My gut said I had somehow lost all the work.

I searched the computer, opened files incase it had been saved under a different name somehow, I stuck my thumb-drives in to make sure it wasn’t there. I even opened my email to see if it ad magically moved itself. All for naught.

Then I looked to my left and saw the small pile of pages ripped out of a notebook which had been sitting there for well over a month. I opened the fold over pages and read the first line.

Yeah. It was the majority of the story. Soon as I read it I remembered I had written it in the summer, waiting in my parents van for the delivery truck to bring the baby chickens. I just never got around to transcribing it. I honestly had no recollection of writing it that way until I unfolded the paper.

I have no idea what I thought those pages were but I do have note pages of all sizes, all over my tiny desk- story idea’s, quotes to put in current projects when I get there, jotted down interesting facts I might be able to insert in a story, all the usual writer’s stuff. Still, I felt pretty damn silly.

Now I’m putting the chicken scratch of my writing into the computer, so I can try and wrap this one up before working on the other two calling out for my attention. Because writing three short stories and a novel would be silly, two on the other hand…

Fall means many things to me… not many of them good.

First it means that soon my brain will be cycling up. That my mental health issues will become more insistent. My bipolar will start its month long stressing of my coherent thoughts. And I will become less able to handle- well… just about anything. My need for routine will become more important as will the need to have stress removed.

Fall also means winter is right around the corner. Cold reaching deep into my bones and not letting go until some time in May. Snow banks up to my waist to tromp thru two or three times a day to feed wood to the furnace to keep the worst of the cold away. Fingers too cold to type coherent words and shoulders hunched up to my ears causing stiff neck muscles and back pain.

It is the time I catalogue all the projects I failed to do over the summer, while also listing all the things that must happen despite the cold and wet, before ice covers everything. This part, obviously, working directly agains the whole, follow routine and reduce stress aspect.

The only good thing about all this, is that my routine, my coping mechanism, the one thing my brain -even crazy as it gets – allows for me to do, is write (and edit).

These hell months that are descending, like a pack of harpies, at least allow for my Muse to channel into me and use me for greater lengths and purposes.

I wrote some more in the fifth novel this morning. Several short snippets of scenes ranging across the time line of the manuscript, now exist.  I put # tags on either end of these snippets, and hit the return button a few times. This works for me because I can see generally where in the progress of the novel they will fall, but keeps them self contained. I can add to the scene within the # and when two scenes finally mesh up, join each other in the time line, I simply remove the #.

However to assume that this means I know the plot in it’s entirety would be a mistake. I know the general flow. I know–at this stage in the manuscript–the main plot points. I know the over all how and why but the vast majority of the details simply are not there. Tat’s what the snippets contained in the # are—the small moments of detail shown to me by my Muse.

These scenes, these little details, begin to give me a wider view, as more moments happen, I can beginning to understand how the story must travel to get from A to B. Eventually I can see it all, but still the words, dialogue, conflicts, they can be sheathed in secrecy until I actually write them.

I trust it to all work out in the end because this is just how I write. Now, if I keep getting unwieldy manuscripts that are, in the end, too incoherent and leave my editors with headaches and stacks of empty red pens, I may have to reign this in, but until that happens I trust and write and enjoy.

With all the edits that I had in my lap completed, and waiting for the next round to come from my beta-reader, I had the choice of doing nothing, or getting back to writing the fifth novel.

As I am a writer, I chose the second option. I had already been a bit disappointed in myself for allowing it to fall to the side of my attention. Continuing to allow it to wallow in activity would simply be wrong. I would very much like to see it finished this year, though I realize it will probably take longer than that – especially with all the edits yet awaiting me.

So, with putting it off not really an option, I turned my mind back to it. It had been awhile since I wrote in it however. Could I really just plunk myself back in? I figured I might have to take the time to reread what I had done- not the first time I’ve had to do that with a novel.

There was one scene though, that I knew – that I had seen in my mind – right at the start of this project which I hadn’t written yet. I decided to just write it. It didn’t matter if it was in chronological order. I already had scenes written out of order. In fact, it seems I am almost completely incapable of writing any other way now.

I jumped in and, with just over a thousand words, wrote the scene. It already has grounded me into what this novel is about. It sparked a lead-in scene, and I think I can continue to flow int the work from here.

Too many distraction are about to come my way, I really must anchor myself in this story and release bits every morning. Dedication to my goal might just counter distractions from my routine… I hope.


I’m sure was I was smoking some serious drugs when I wrote the second novel, Bindings & Spines. There is just so much… rambling. So much that needs to be cutdown to size. It makes the going tedious. Trying to sift through the gravel to retain the nuggets of gold, dump the rest, then integrate those nuggets int one flowing chain – then repeat. These edits are taking more time than I expected, which means my dedication to doing them is being tested. I’m trying to stay resolute and confident that the end result will be worth it.

I continue to add a few hundred words to the fifth novel, pushing it slowly to a conclusion. Yet while I do, the fear that I am making the same mistakes in it as I did Bindings & Sines haunts me. I have no other way of working though. I don’t edit or censor myself as I write – I simple release the words. Hopefully, it will be purer than B&S.

The new short story is also coming along. I am not in the least bit worried about word count with this one. I’m calling it a short story but if it turns out closer to a novella – so be it. If this one works, it will have a special place all of it’s own and won’t have to fit any guidelines. Which is good , because I’m finding it harder and harder to keep Jonathan Alvey’s stories under seven thousand words.

I’m basically done with the edits for Charon’s Obol – the White Dragon Black short for Xchyler Publishing’s fall release paranormal anthology. It’s sort of cool to be in this one, as it feels like a cycle coming round. Jonathan’s  first time in print was last years anthology – Shades and Shadows, ShadesAndShadows_Cover_full-reswhich lead to Tomorrow Wendell being published and now, Charon’s Obol, sees his return to print in another short story.TomorrowWendell_Spread What is also satisfying is that, in a way, this short story is a follow up to the novel.

On a completely separate note, I’m think I’m going to start trying to make attending Toronto’s Ad Astra Con an annual event. I haven’t gone to even one yet, but it is a con for writers and fans of sci-fi and fantasy, that is as close to my back yard as I’m going to get. And it does have a good reputation and has been running for a good number of years.