Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

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Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby washingtonwriter1968 » 24 Jul 2011, 17:22

:!:
I am so frustrated :!: Oh Muse were have you gone why did you leave me here all alone!!!!!!!!
I am in the process of writing and then just as everyone said I would.... One day I sit here and stare at the blank screen and wonder where all the words went.
I am puzzling and puzzling over some of my plot points. I made a outline. should be easy right? Nope! It seems that the story is trying to have a mind of it's own again. there is a scene so important but it isn't in my outline. I never planned on going here. I keep trying to get back to the outline but I can't seem to. I tried to go back to the outline and now that beautiful muse just disappeared. I think I made her mad!

Please tell me I am not the only one!
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby dios4vida » 24 Jul 2011, 17:42

You're not the only one. :)

Seriously, though, this happens to EVERYONE. It's like I said, writing is like a marriage. Sometimes you're so madly in love you can't stand to be out of arm's reach, and other times you'd wish that guy would just stay on his side of the bed and give you a little bit of the covers, for goodness' sake. We never stop loving the guy but we just need some space for a few days. Sometimes our muse smiles down and we cannot type as fast as the inspiration comes, and other times we beat our heads against the keyboard because that has got to be better than the dribble you've been typing purposefully. We never stop being a writer, we just need some space for a few days.

Just hang in there. It will pass. My suggestion would be to leave your WIP be for a little bit. Get out and clean the house, see some nature, and just generally live like a non-writer (aka a normal human being). Your subconscious will be mulling over the problems and at the moment you least expect it you'll figure out what you need to do. Trust me. I just took two days off to mull something over and I figured out what I needed to do when I was entertaining the cat.

Relax and trust the Muse. If she came once, she'll come again. :D

(Now take a deep breath and get some cookies!)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby dios4vida » 24 Jul 2011, 17:54

One more thing. If you thought of something that you truly believe would benefit your WIP, it doesn't matter if it's in your outline. Work it in. If you're that passionate about it or it's truly making your WIP not flow anymore, throw out the outline. Go with your gut. A lot of times our subconscious (or intuition, whatever you want to call it) knows if something is good or bad better than our minds. It can cause severe writer's block if we ignore it.

It's a tricky thing, deciding whether something is worth rewriting for, but I think you know deep down whether you should or not. Listen to that feeling. It'd probably help the Muse feel more at home within you again.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby Sanderling » 24 Jul 2011, 19:27

What Brenda said. :) When I find myself up against a wall I leave the manuscript for a bit. I often find walking the dogs is great for helping inspiration to flow. I also work out a lot of problems while driving, or showering. Neither are conscious efforts to mull over the problem, it just seems that that's when I'm most often struck by an idea - when the body is occupied but the mind is not. I could be staring up at that spot of mold on the ceiling while I rinse my hair, thinking how I'll need to get out the cleaning supplies as soon as I'm dried and dressed, and that'll be when Muse whispers into my brain that MC needs to go over here and talk to 2C, whereupon they'll fight, and that prompts her to go do THIS, and of course, it all makes sense now! And as often as not the mold spot is forgotten till tomorrow.

My only suggestion is to try to keep a notepad and pen with you or nearby as much as you can, because ideas can strike at the strangest (and usually most inconvenient) moments.
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby polymath » 24 Jul 2011, 20:53

"No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy." — Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke

"According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans." — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

It's okay to deviate from an outline. It's especially important not to follow one off a cliff. — Paraphrase of C.J. Cherryh's Law: "No rule should be followed off a cliff."
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby Watcher55 » 25 Jul 2011, 05:12

What they said, except to say that sometimes when this happens to me, I go back and revisit what I've already written to make sure it's right. I have a tendancy to write myself into deadends and I have to retrace my steps. Sometimes it's a matter of ripping out whole blocks of text. Other times it's a missing element. Sometimes all I have to do is change a word. For example - originally the girl had a "wand", but it was actually a "scepter".

So - yeah, take a short walk-away, spend time painting my kitchen, but first go back and do a read through so you have something to think about. Caveat - Try to write something everyday; even if it has nothing to do with your WIP and even if it's not very good.
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby GKJeyasingham » 25 Jul 2011, 05:32

polymath wrote:"No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy." — Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke

"According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans." — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

It's okay to deviate from an outline. It's especially important not to follow one off a cliff. — Paraphrase of C.J. Cherryh's Law: "No rule should be followed off a cliff."


Great quotations, polymath!

As everyone said, do not be afraid to deviate from (or completely change/ditch) outlines. I always like to start from some sort of outline, but what I end up writing almost always deviates from it. The most important thing for a first draft is just getting stuff on paper.

If you're a panster, don't be afraid to cut stuff out if you know it doesn't work. Sure, be passionate about what you write down, but look at it with a critical eye afterwards and make sure it works. If it doesn't, you can cut it out later during editing.

If you're a planner, don't be afraid to change your outline. Unexpected things sometimes happen, and the road trip you planned ahead of time needs to change if you suddenly find yourself at a dead end or taking a longer route than necessary.
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby washingtonwriter1968 » 25 Jul 2011, 08:02

Well here is the situation maybe I can have some ideas .....

First let me say I wrote the outline a month before the novel ever started when the ideas were totally embryonic. When everyone talked about an outline I went looking for it and said maybe I should try the outline thing and see if it works.

What I have learned........ I am defiantly a pantser! :lol:

In my WIP ...
On my first Chapter I have MC meeting the protagonist and the antagonist at the table. She takes an immediate dislike to my protagonist.( don't worry I intend to fix this first off in second Chapter... It's the whole first impressions are not always accurate formula....anyway this isn't my point)

... So she meets them during lunch period and it is a powerful scene. Problem is I have written on my outline that she has P.E in first Class with my Protagonist, Biology with Antagonist in second period..... and after lunch she has Spanish with Protagonist during 5th period, and last class with Antagonist.

Here is the rub... with what I already have written for this huge scene... she hasn't even met these guys until lunch, and I totally skip over her having class next period with this guy she had gotten Pi**ed off at during lunch [ not likely] So I tried to insert a scene with her and my protagonist You know acknowledging that he was there but purposely ignoring him.

That was when my muse got pissed and up and left. I think that, what a few of you said is right. My instincts are screaming no don't do this this way find another way, yet I keep racking my brains trying to figure out how to fix this. This scene is the perfect inciting incident.... albeit I didn't call it that when I wrote it on paper. With out this initial scene the rest of the novel means nothing. No further action can take place. But....

maybe I should just change the schedule. Anyone else have any other ideas.... GRRRRR!
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby dios4vida » 25 Jul 2011, 08:15

washingtonwriter1968 wrote: In my WIP ...
On my first Chapter I have MC meeting the protagonist and the antagonist at the table. She takes an immediate dislike to my protagonist.( don't worry I intend to fix this first off in second Chapter... It's the whole first impressions are not always accurate formula....anyway this isn't my point)

... So she meets them during lunch period and it is a powerful scene. Problem is I have written on my outline that she has P.E in first Class with my Protagonist, Biology with Antagonist in second period..... and after lunch she has Spanish with Protagonist during 5th period, and last class with Antagonist.

Here is the rub... with what I already have written for this huge scene... she hasn't even met these guys until lunch, and I totally skip over her having class next period with this guy she had gotten Pi**ed off at during lunch [ not likely] So I tried to insert a scene with her and my protagonist You know acknowledging that he was there but purposely ignoring him.


Okay, I have one really big question and then a suggestion.

Question: Why is your main character NOT your protaganist? Normally those two titles are synonymous. Do you just mean to say who you're calling your main character (female) is the protaganist (the person whom we follow throughout the narrative, through whose eyes we view the story) and the one you're calling the protaganist (male) is a love interest or other companion to the main character? It's okay to have two protaganists, as long as we have one whom we follow more closely. The confusion of titles is really throwing me for a loop.

Also, a suggestion. You could easily make it where the girl doesn't get to interact with the boy during the first period - where she sees him (maybe even thinks he's cute) but can't get over to say hi. She goes over to meet him at lunch and finds out he's a jerk. That means she's irritated that he's embarrassed her or whatever happened at lunch and also a little irritated with herself for thinking he was all cute and wow and omg maybe we'll start dating. (This is totally assuming that's how the relationship works, apologies if I've really messed up your plotline.) That means that, depending on her temperament, you have a lot to play with. She could slink away and pretend she (and he) are nobodies in the class - she could try to show him that he didn't hurt her by being overly loud/flirtatious/sarcastic - she could try to smooth things over and be gracious about things - and therefore show a lot of her personality. Put yourself in the girls' shoes and think of how she would react to the fight at lunch and run with that. See if that helps any.

Hope I could help.
Brenda :)

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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby Sanderling » 25 Jul 2011, 08:16

In my high school we had five periods, and depending on what classes you had, any one of second, third or fourth periods could be your lunch period. You could try shifting her lunch period to second period and see if that helps.

And second, remember that you don't have to show every single moment that happens in your character's world. If the only thing that's going to happen in your post-lunch classroom scene that matters to the plot is that the characters ignore each other, this could easily be summarized at the start of the next scene. For instance: "I spent the entire walk home fuming over Georgebob. I couldn't believe he'd said that at lunch, and I couldn't even bring myself to acknowledge him in Biology later in the afternoon. His comments had rankled me, and I was still in a bad mood when I got home. My mom noticed immediately."
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby polymath » 25 Jul 2011, 08:33

I'd suggest taking a closer look at the cast and their roles. A main character is one who's central to the dramatic action, but essentially unchanged by the circumstances. A protagonist is the most proactive character who's not necessarily central but experiences the most change. An antagonist isn't necessarily a villain or a nemesis. An antagonist compels change of the protagonist, and is, in turn, also changed.

In the scenario you've painted, washingtonwriter1968, I see the main character as the reader surrogate and attitude holder. The persona who readers are intended to most identify with, which for the sake of fully satisfying endings means the persona who is most changed by the circumstances. Then the inciting incident is a matter of first impressions gone awry. Since the change or transformation seems to be intended for the main character's perceptions of the protagonist, I see them rolled into one persona, or the main character as a deuteragonist, or vice versa, the protagonist actually the deuteragonist, and the main character the protagonist.

In other words, an ending is a consequence, usually inevitable, of a beginning. Seems to me the underlying message as related to theme is, You can't judge a book by its cover. So the beginning's inciting incident is a matter of mistaken perceptions caused by self-serving, self-gratifying, self-absorbed attitudes. And the dramatic action is resistance to self-sacrificing, compromising attitudes. The action then might unfold as every complicating force pressing in to change that resistance to acceptance. Then the dramatic conflict is resistance contending against acceptance. Theme's unifying power and organizing principle then might be based on that dramatic conflict.

Relevant literary theme's from San José State University website;
http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/patten/theme.html
2. The Individual in Society
a. Society and a person's inner nature are always at war.
b. Social influences determine a person's final destiny.
c. Social influences can only complete inclinations formed by Nature.
d. A person's identity is determined by place in society.
e. In spite of the pressure to be among people, an individual is essentially alone and frightened.
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby washingtonwriter1968 » 25 Jul 2011, 08:35

Question: Why is your main character NOT your protaganist? Normally those two titles are synonymous. Do you just mean to say who you're calling your main character (female) is the protaganist (the person whom we follow throughout the narrative, through whose eyes we view the story) and the one you're calling the protaganist (male) is a love interest or other companion to the main character? It's okay to have two protaganists, as long as we have one whom we follow more closely. The confusion of titles is really throwing me for a loop.


Dios,
to answer your question. My young lady is the Narrator but my protagonist is my young man who is her champion. They story revolves around him and his fight with another boy over her attentions. So yes I guess I have two protagonists.

For instance: "I spent the entire walk home fuming over Georgebob. I couldn't believe he'd said that at lunch, and I couldn't even bring myself to acknowledge him in Biology later in the afternoon. His comments had rankled me, and I was still in a bad mood when I got home. My mom noticed immediately."


Sanderling, I could Kiss you but you may get offended so instead I will say thanks!!!!!

I have the perfect opportunity right before she enters the final period. Doing so would automatically heighten tension for my reader as she is about to see the second boy and show her obvious attraction for him! Of course she would be thinking of the protagonist as he was just in class with him.

As for the earlier classes It would be an easy fix; with both boys just getting into town they were late the first day..... This could work let me stew on it a while ,to work out the particulars. Thanks! maybe I just needed someone outside the problem to see how easy with actually was to fix!
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby washingtonwriter1968 » 25 Jul 2011, 08:44

Poly you have helped me define things so much. Yes she is the one changing but it is so much bigger. She believes that the world can be rationalized placed in order and made to stay there. In essence, these two boys come into her life dump out all her boxes and mix them around. Now she finds none of her boxes working anymore and she has to craft whole new boxes. While the opposing forces = every time she starts to place these boys in a box,they blow away her box she is currently working on.

Without outright saying the book this is the general plot line.
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby Sanderling » 25 Jul 2011, 09:01

washingtonwriter1968 wrote:Sanderling, I could Kiss you but you may get offended so instead I will say thanks!!!!!

I have the perfect opportunity right before she enters the final period. Doing so would automatically heighten tension for my reader as she is about to see the second boy and show her obvious attraction for him! Of course she would be thinking of the protagonist as he was just in class with him.

As for the earlier classes It would be an easy fix; with both boys just getting into town they were late the first day..... This could work let me stew on it a while ,to work out the particulars. Thanks! maybe I just needed someone outside the problem to see how easy with actually was to fix!


Glad it helped! I was terribly guilty of trying to show every single scene in my first and second novel attempts. I still catch myself doing it but I'm at least aware that I'm doing it now (I had /thought/ I was before, too, until I had someone beta the MS and point it out to me). And the funny thing is - it's a whole lot easier than writing out that whole scene, too!

I usually ask myself how many sentences it would require to sum up the main events relevant to the plot; if it only takes a sentence or two I usually skip the scene, unless it's a really key moment, but if it's going to take at least a few sentences then I write it out.

Eg.
"She sees him as she takes her seat and ignores him. Teacher drones on about chemistry, then class finishes." - two boring sentences, skip.
"She sees him as she takes her seat and ignores him. However, teacher has them start a new project with assigned partners, and she's assigned to him. He messes up the experiment, which she thinks was probably on purpose. Since the project counts for 10% of their grade, she's furious. She refuses to speak to him even when he tries to apologize. She stalks out when class finishes." - many sentences! Write it out.
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Re: Dang it! I pissed off my Muse!

Postby polymath » 25 Jul 2011, 09:05

washingtonwriter1968 wrote:Poly you have helped me define things so much. Yes she is the one changing but it is so much bigger. She believes that the world can be rationalized placed in order and made to stay there. In essence, these two boys come into her life dump out all her boxes and mix them around. Now she finds none of her boxes working anymore and she has to craft whole new boxes. While the opposing forces = every time she starts to place these boys in a box,they blow away her box she is currently working on.

Without outright saying the book this is the general plot line.

I've been there, trying to restructure my boxes based on an infinity of moving targets, trying to make everything fit neatly, a place for everything and everything in its place. Life is not so easily packaged that way.

Identity is as much imposed by outside forces as it is self-imposed. We know ourselves most by the way others know us. Seems to me she's the moving target the boys react to because she changes unpredictably according to their perceptions of her. But she follows her internal logic that they can't wrap their minds around. So they keep her off balance too by rummaging in her well-ordered boxes for a grip on her psyche. Of course, they mess it all up and play with the contents like a toy box, like boys are wont to do.

My resolution, if you will, the final outcome, my denouement came to be taking people as they are, their changes as they are, and adjusting accordingly. Something magical happened. Because I stopped trying to pigeon hole my acquaintances and started trying to empathize with their trials and tribulations, stopped trying to fix them the way I thought best for them, I was actually able to work my magics upon them and influence them to change for their own best outcomes on their own. That's the art of rhetoric, persuasion, which is the fundamental principle of fiction.

If any of the above is thematically relevant, then the inciting incident setting's time, place, and situation in my opinion ought best be one where the most dynamic dramatic action can take place. A dynamic school setting would be somewhere least controlled by authorities. A hallway intersection or other sort of peer social gathering location away from the judgemental eyes of chaperones. In my day that was the designated smoking area. But schools anymore prohibit smoking on school grounds altogether. The student parking lot was another dynamic peer interaction place.
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