Saturday, January 06, 2007

What to write? It's your choice.

How does a writer decide what to write?

Well, honestly, I don't often feel that I have much of a choice. The "Muse" makes that decision for me. No, I am not insane. 'She' is my inspiration...the one that takes an idea and runs with it through time until the perfect people are created; the perfect time decided upon; the perfect conflict crafted; etc.

The MUSE is inspiration, and I honestly believe it's something only true writers have. Is it an entity? An overactive imagination? Maybe both? All I know is that I have to write the story the way it needs to be told. If I even get a name wrong, the story stops flowing and I have to back up and try again.

If you aren't a writer, this makes no sense and you are currently wondering about my mental stability. Like I mentioned before -- I am sane, or as sane as any writer gets. ;)

So, I write what I'm inspired to write. Romance. You may not like romance...then chances are good you won't want to write it. I don't care for science fiction that much except for an occasional Star Trek episode/movie. But I do love paranormal fiction.

Words of wisdom: "Don't write what you know -- write what you love."

Of course you have to do the research if you aren't familiar with aspects of the story -- such as the setting; the time period; a specific occupation one of your main characters has. Research is an important tool to any writer. Get the facts straight or someone, somewhere will catch you...then it'll really hit the fan! ESPECIALLY if you want to write a historical novel. Do not try to fudge your way through history...unless you're creating your own version for a fantasy...because those readers can be very unforgiving.

It all boils down to this: What do you tend to read? What kind of stories draw you in deep and don't let go until that last page is turned? THOSE should be the stories that you write. Whether they be mysteries, sci-fi, young adult adventure, fantasy, etc, etc.... Only you (and your muse) can make that decision.

Don't try to follow the market because the market will leave you behind. Most books put out by the BIG houses (ie: NY pubs) were bought a year ago or more. The editors may be looking for something completely different now. So, write what you love and hopefully someday you'll be blessed to share it with others.


1. Choose your POV
2. Let an idea gel in your mind
3. Research as necessary to get started

That's how you begin. But we aren't done! There are a lot of traps and tricks along the way. I don't know them all, honestly. Writing is one of those careers where you are constantly learning and honing your craft. However, I will continue to share what I do know....or think I know. ;) Hopefully, some of my fellow writers will come out to play as well.

Any questions? Please ask! I'll give it my best shot.


Grace Tyler said...

Hi, Meg!

That fickle Muse. She's a big problem for me. (OK, mine is Cap'n Jack Sparrow, which is why he's fickle. He could be in Singapore or on an island drinking rum instead of sitting on my shoulder whispering the direction my story should take.)

Another problem for me is the internal editor. Who else has that problem? I mean, I shut it off and keep writing, but part of me is going "That wasn't right. What's wrong with it?" and I can't truly move on until I put my finger on the problem.

This is annoying when one only outputs about a page a day. I don't have time for constant editing. But Jack won't whisper his sweet nothings and give me more until I've made right what I've already got.

Meg Allison said...

Hi, Grace!

Oh, isn't that the truth! A fickle muse can really derail the writing but good. And while I love Captn. Jack, I don't envy you having him as your inspiration. He's not quite dependable, is he? ;)

I have the internal-editor problem, as well. But I've disciplined myself in that regard... um, somewhat. I finish a chapter or scene; allow myself to edit it once through and then don't look at it again until the book is done!

Otherwise, I would spend weeks, if not longer, tinkering with one paragraph or two.

Once the book is finished, then I go over the whole thing from start to finish -- on-screen, then in print form. I always, always miss stuff if I try to only edit on-screen.

Angie Martin said...

Sometimes I wake up with a story, or a scene, in my head that just has to be written down. And if I don't write it immediately I forget it, and can almost hear my Muse laughing, saying "neener, neener, neener, you should have written it down when I told you!"
Like Grace, if there is a problem with the story I find it can sometimes be difficult to move on with it until I've solved that problem. Anything I write while it's unsolved just doesn't seem to flow right. ... and if I don't write the solution down absolutely the second the Muse tells me, she clams up and will not remind me what it was about... *sigh*... Yep, Muses are fickle all right!

Meg Allison said...

Oh, Angie! I cannot tell you how many times that has happened to me! It is so discouraging.

I usually get my best ideas just when I'm waking up in the morning -- I am a notoriously slow riser, LOL! But by the time I'm coherent enough to do anything with it, the idea is too faded or just gone. :(

Yes, the muse is a fickle, fickle beast.

Denise Patrick said...

I do some of my best plotting lying around in bed. Sometimes I wake up with just a hint of a dream; an idea or a supposition, then the Muse takes over and starts creating storylines, etc. Once the Muse is done, I have to get up and write it down - or I can't do anything else except think about it for the rest of the day. Once I get it down, I can go on to other things - and get back to it when I really have the time to flesh it out.

Writing like this is haphazard, to say the least, but it works for me.

Meg Allison said...

Denise, I believe whatever works for an individual is what they have to do!

We can give advice and tips galore -- but they will not work for everyone. Just as we have to find our own 'voice' in writing, we have to find our own way of getting it done. :)