I think my muse hates me.

At the very least, she takes pleasure in tormenting me – taunting, teasing, coaxing me into territory where angels fear to tread.  Well, okay, maybe the angels would be comfortable here, but it’s a stretch for me.

“Could we please just write something straightforward and not too challenging?  I went along with that whole arduous rewrite – tore the last novel apart to make you happy.”

She gives me a LOOK. “I’m still not happy. You’re in a hurry to put it aside.  It needs polish.  There are pages where the writing is clunky and utilitarian.  Look at this moment, where you tell what you could be showing -”

“Right.  I see.  It still needs work.  But, you still want me to start querying it, AND you’ve got these outrageous ideas for what to do with Swimming North. What do you want from me?”

“I want everything – your mind, your soul, that stupid logical streak that always shuts me down.”

“This is beginning to sound like Mephistopheles.  Do I need an exorcist?”

“Too late.”  

And now she smiles, and I know that I have lost this war.  Muse gets what Muse wants.  Swimming North has given me enough trouble already.  As my Beta readers will probably tell you, it has some good moments.  I accede that point.  But the thing has always twisted in my hands, evolving just on the edges of my understanding and my skill level.  For the last couple of months it has been blissfully out of my mind while my Beta readers have been reading it, and I’ve been working on rewriting the WIP.

As my edits are coming to a close on Filling in the Blanks I made the dangerous decision to open my mind to the contemplation of what to do with SN.  And then my muse got involved, and the question turned into ‘what is SN going to do with me?’

I sat down with a pen and notebook to get some structure in place.  What is the Armature, per McDonald’s so excellent advice? And then the Maass questions:  What does Vivian want more than anything else in the world, and what does she hate?  What are her heroic qualities? Where is her major conflict?  What about the other characters, some of whom are on the flat side.  What motivates them?

Which is when the Muse got involved.  “Think bigger” she says.  “Give George a POV and a history.  While you’re at it, give your other characters early POVs.  You’re not using them effectively.  The book isn’t about Vivian – sure she’s the protagonist, she’s critical, but that doesn’t make her necessarily the focal point.  And while you’re at it, give the poor girl a cat – why does she not have a cat?”

And so on.  It’s not that I don’t think these are good ideas, it’s just that I was already struggling a little with the shifts in reality and the surreality, so the idea of throwing even more into the mix is alarming.  I know that there is no point fighting, though.  I will follow blindly where my muse drags me, albeit with some struggling and screaming from time to time.  Sooner or later we will arrive at something resembling a completed novel, and then we shall see whether this was madness or not.

Vivian’s cat is black with golden eyes, in case anybody was wondering.  It doesn’t have a name yet, but I predict that by nightfall it will.