Stalking the Wild Muse

Written by larry on April 1st, 2014

Being an engineering left-brain kind of guy, the whole realm of artistic inspiration and how to cultivate it is a bit foreign to me. The best advice I’ve ever heard, though, was to identify the time and circumstances when you muse is present, and try to replicate those conditions.

Your mileage may vary, but for me, it’s oh-dark thirty, first thing in the morning. There are no distractions, my mind is fresh (if not a bit foggy), and if there’s a flow of ideas to be had, that’s when it will happen. So, being blocked on a story that was about 90% done, I’ve been trying to get some traction on it on and off for the last few weeks.

And you know something? If you put your mind to it, you can still be distracted at six AM. Email, that news site you wanted to get a peek at, the client project that’s behind schedule and could use some extra hours… and so forth.

One of the things I have not seen mentioned in articles about creativity is the idea of traction. On this particular story, I was very happy with how it began, the characters, their tribulations, and how the story was flowing. Only one problem – I didn’t have the foggiest idea of how it would end. So I spent each night, as I was falling asleep, thinking about the final scene, where the protagonist, the Big Boss, and a few other had to resolve the core conflict of the story.


So I passed the first third to my writers’ group. The feedback was quite positive, and I got some good suggestions for improvements. I also now had an implied contact to finish the damn thing.

But one thing that also came out of the review was that Rebecca, a minor character, was a good one, and I realized I wanted her to play a bigger role. So I wrote her into the final scene… and all of a sudden, the scene congealed.


The last three thousand words almost write themselves. Sure there’s some fine tuning to be done, but I actually like the way it ends. And having reread it a bunch of times (a habit of mine with new works), I’m still happy with it.

It will be interesting to see how the writers’ group feels about it. But whether it stands as it is or experiences a major overhaul, the logjam is broken.




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