Archive for December, 2009

Trusting the Muse

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 | The Writing Life | No Comments

Even though I outline my novels before I sit down to write them, sometimes I can not see exactly how mybook will take me from one plot point to the next. I know the facts of the novel, the events of what will be taking place between the covers of my book, butwhile writingthe first draft, I often stand on the deck of my proverbial ship, and see nothing but waves. No light, no land, no clue as to how to make it to the next island.

That is where Eleanor comes in.

She always knows the next step. I have totrust that she knows her own life and thoughts well enough to be able to convey them to me. I listen, and I wait, and she always has an answer for me, one I never would have been able to come up with on my own, no matter how many books about her I read, or how long I strain my brain to come up with a clever solution to a thorny plotting problem. The character of Eleanor needs no clever solutions. She needs no magic wand. She is the magic wand, I suppose. Her intelligence and insight alway lead me to the next step.

Of course, I have to do the writing myself, and that requires hard work, staying in the chair even when I want to flee for a scone and a cup of tea. I have learned to trust Eleanor, and myself, as I slowly piece together all the beautiful fragments of her life. Like an archaeologist rebuilding a long buried, broken vase, I piece together the beautiful bits of Eleanor’s life, and bind them so that the cracks can not be seen, so thatthe storyis whole again.

The more I trust the Muse,the faster and better the words flow. It is a sacred trust, and one that I am grateful for.

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