Thank you, Ginger, for letting me play at your house today! It's always fun to meet my friend's friends. Hopefully we can all play together nicely.
Those who know me also know that at times I'll complain about my muse abandoning me for vacations in Mexico. Those who don't know me look at me when I say this and either laugh or give me that look...you know? The look you'd give if you found a monkey working in a nuclear power plant. But the fact remains that there is many times when I'm in the middle of a project (or many for that matter) that my muse decides it's time for her to take a siesta. "Go ahead, Trent, you got this! I'll be back to see how you're doing in...well, I'll be back at some point!" Poof! She leaves and I'm stuck trying to figure out where my plot is going or wondering why my story just doesn't seem "likeable." So today, instead of just promoting the works my muse has blessed me with, I decided to talk about things I've done to pull her butt out of Mexico and back at my side.
When I was on active duty, we used to say you couldn't be a leader if you weren't at one point a follower. The same goes for writing. How can you write if you don't read? We all have great ideas, but those ideas do nothing if you don't know if it's been done before, or how plots are developed, characters created. So reading is important.
When I feel my muse has left me for longer than I like, I pick up a book. Sometimes it's in the genre I love to write and sometimes I play in other author's back yards. I actually found that when I read outside my genre, my muse gets upset and comes in and kicks me in the butt. As I stated in a previous blog, I wrote Ghosts of the Storm primarily because my muse came in and introduced me to my character as I sat in the hot tub reading an anthology.
2. Talking to myself
It's not as creepy as you might believe! Sometimes, when I'm in a deep, dry rut of not writing, I pick up a notebook and pen and just start writing anything. Gibberish, notes, thoughts, jokes, doesn't matter what goes on the page, just as long as something goes on the page.
Sometimes, I begin to ask myself questions on paper. Why is this character like this? How will he meet the girl? Why does she not like him? What's the big deal? Sometimes my questions are more detailed, more precise. I do it so I can start trying to think of the things needed to make a story realistic. Not all the time does this work, but every now and then, it sparks my imagination and from there, more of my story comes to life.
3. Putting down the pen
Oh my God, Trent! Did you just tell someone to put the pen down?
Yes. Unfortunately, we are all in the rat race. We are all trying to get our name out there and put our stories in front of as many readers as we can. But sometimes forcing a scene, character, plot, story, does nothing more than damage it. Well that's my opinion anyways. I find that if I write in a troublesome work in progress just to write, just to put down as many words as I can to meet some personal deadline, it sucks when I go back to read it later. A lot of the time, I scrap the entire portion because I couldn't believe what I had done. For me—and most writers will tell you that each of us has or own ways and what works for some doesn't always work for all—if I put the pen down every now and then and start playing with my friends online or participating in blogs, my muse comes home and asks me what the hell do I think I'm doing? That and I find it's always fun to keep my friends around me so a break every now and then helps me to remember they're there as well. So there you have it folks! Will it work for you? I can't guarantee that it will. We all have different minds that work in various ways. I hope these small things of mine can help you. Truth be told, you must find what works for you.