Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why Is the Muse So Annoying?

The other day, I bumped into a woman from the writer's group I used to attend. She has a fantastic novel, a modern ghost story written in the some of the most beautiful prose I've seen since Jason.

We spent a few moments commiserating on the absolute inability to find someone to take on our stories.

My sob story is the same old one: Every agent who has commented on my novel says they love it, but can't sell it.

I think I would be happier if someone just said, "Listen, this sucks donkey ass, dump it and write something else."

Because then I could DO something.

My friend had a similar story. She did find an agent who sent the manuscript out to several publishers.

The response she got was (paraphrased) that while commercial in content, it was literary in the writing.

Huh? What? What does that MEAN?

A few nights after this, I awoke in the middle of the night with the Muse telling me I must pull out and re-read the second draft of my very bad first novel, a sad little thing I called Jericho Redemption.

So I did. We writers tend to do whatever our Muses tell us to do whether it makes sense or not.

Here is where my head is at. The novel that I am currently shopping (+4 years now) for an agent, Garden of Weeds (or Since I've Been Loving You the name I really want but don't use because "they" never let you use your working title, I've been told), writing it was a very intense emotional experience. While not autobiographical in plot, the emotions the storyteller expresses are all emotions I had experienced. It is told in first person and that was a very personal, intimate way to write.

The novel I am currently working on, Once Upon a Time on Pierpont Avenue, is a more emotionally cool novel. It's told from several viewpoints and requires a lot of strategic layering of events and dovetailing of story lines.

And like a junkie, I'm finding it hard to live with the orderliness of it. I'm missing that flying off into the unknown of diving into some serious hardcore negative emotions and coming out on the other side, shaking and somehow cleansed.

So I read not only the 2nd draft, but the cringe worthy horrible mess that was the first draft of Jericho Redemption. And I realized a couple things. I really miss one of the main characters, Tina, who was so much fun to write. I miss the crazy church lady who popped up everywhere. I liked the two main characters. It was my first (and only) attempt to write a romance. (It's harder than you'd think. Just try to write a kiss scene, go ahead.)

Now the Muse has set all these people free in my mind to tell me how I got it all wrong, how they have another story. A funny sort of chick lit-y, romance-y, slice of small town life, bit of a mystery story to tell.

They are giving me a headache.

The boyz say: As long as the Muse reminds you when dinner time is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It took me a long time to find a publisher......then they chose me because I had extensive media experience......however they did nothing for me......I sked every newspaper, tv and radio interview .....I hoped for more help.....my contract runs out at the end of this year and I hope to start over again.
Pam, South Bend