For a couple of days I've been working on a short story that I'm going to submit as part of a vampire-themed anthology to Sekhmet Press. I found out about their call for submission recently and given the fact that their due-date is the fifth...needless to say, time is of the essence.
I had a story in mind that I've been wanting to write for awhile so I thought, why not? And I started to write it down. About six or seven hundred words in, the muse begins to act up. And when the muse acts up, frustration ensues. Now in my experience, there are about four things you can do when your muse is acting up.
(3) Consume chocolate
(4) take a break
So what did I do? All four. Sadly, this time none of them worked. I had to think long and hard about why my usual methods of soothing the muse weren't working and still, nothing came up. I took a piece of paper and began to write down what I wanted to write and see if I could brainstorm my way through it.
I remember thinking back to when I was working on The Descending Darkness that I didn't have this problem. The story came out exactly as I had originally envisioned it without any issues. Then I realized that I was wrong. There had been a few occasions in which I was stuck in a rut and I needed to go a different route in order to continue.
BAM! That's when it hit me.
My problem was that I wasn't listening to my muse. I've heard tons of writers talking about this and I always thought that I got what they meant. I didn't...but now I do. I actually listened to my muse and characters and figured out where the story was taking me. It wasn't where I had originally planned, but it was just as good-if not better.
So the point of this whole blog post is that sometimes as a writer you just need to shut up and listen to the voices inside your head. Not your own voice, but the voices of your characters. They know where they need to go and they won't steer you wrong.
So say it with me. When your muse is speaking:
SHUT UP AND LISTEN!