“BOOM, Baby!” When the Muse Returns

Posted: June 28, 2019 in Writing


It’s like she finally came home from vacationing abroad.  For months — despite being excited, motivated, and committed to my new novel — I couldn’t seem to get anything on paper to stick.  I wrote and rejected half a dozen opening paragraphs, unable to get past that 1-page hump.  Nothing worked.  Where was my muse?

And then the other evening, I settled into bed with my iPad and wrote four pages.  Four lovely pages I still like, over a week later!  Obviously, she’s returned home.

Since most of this book will take place in Ireland 500 years ago, I’m hoping that’s where she went on her extended walkabout.  She certainly seems to have brought back some souvenirs; my writing is pithier and more focused than my previous efforts.  Maybe she just needed a break from me.  Who could blame her?  Either way, I’m delighted she’s back, and steady progress is eminent.

Here’s a taste:

Sketch’s mouth curled into a wicked smile as more of her bright red hair pile up at her feet. Tomorrow would be her thirteenth birthday and she was going to prove once and for all she was not her mother’s precious fairy princess. Sketch hated everything to do with fairy tales, while her mother seemed to be living in one. The doctors said the medicine would help, but they lied.

Mary, Sketch’s best friend, paused with the scissors in her hand. “She’s going to kill you, you know.”

“She can’t.” Sketch shrugged. “I’m a teenager, now.” She ran her hand over the short, prickly patch on the left side of her scalp.

Mary raised a blonde, skeptical eyebrow. “Not until tomorrow. And that only works when you turn eighteen.”

“Whatever.” Sketch flipped her red curls out of the way. “Keep going. Make it like my drawing.” A sketch pad on Mary’s bed lay open to the drawing Sketch had made of her radical new hairstyle, shaved on one side and long waves hiding her face on the other. Sketch never went anywhere without her sketch pad and colored pencils, which is how she’d gotten her nickname. She secretly liked that “sketch” was also slang for “odd” or “a little dangerous.”

And a bit later:

When the Goldstein’s minivan rolled to a stop, an unnatural quiet clung to Sketch’s neighborhood like an oppressive fog.  Only the dripping of icicles in the midday sun disturbed the silence.

Sketch shivered as she stared at the flowerbeds buried under a foot of snow in front of their duplex. Then she noticed the tree branches thrusting out of Mrs. McNulty’s windows on the left side. As if a tree was growing inside her half of the house. The branches had black leaves.

No. Not leaves.

Mary’s breath caught as she leaned past Sketch to look out the frosted car window. “They’re birds,” she whispered.

It was true. The branches were covered by hundreds of small, unmoving black birds.

I’m realistic — I have no doubt these early pages will change dramatically before the book is finished.  But there is something there, now.  A tone, a voice, an attitude.  I can build on this and get to the meat of the story, which is coming soon.  And that is when I’ll need my muse to have all of her unpacking and settling in completed, because we’re going to need to roll up both of our sleeves.

  1. Sandra Coopersmith says:

    I’m already intrigued! Can’t wait to read more. What is the premise of this novel?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This story was originally created as a sequel to the one you read awhile ago, Princess Material, about the girl who finds out her mother was the last Queen of the faeries. But since that one has gotten no interest from any agents despite three years of constant revisions, I decided to alter the premise a bit to let me tell this story as a stand-alone. So I changed the characters around.

      It will turn out that Sketch’s mother, Chloe, is not actually delusional or hallucinating — she really was the queen of the faeries 500 years ago, and used a wish to become human after the rest of the fae went into hiding and she became lonely. But now the wish is wearing off and she’s reverting back. Hence her seeming crazy. Sketch, who doesn’t believe in fairies or understand any of this, will discover the truth when she accidentally triggers another wish and finds herself in her mother’s 13-year-old body, in Ireland, in the year 1506. Her friend Mary is with her, but Mary is now a 4-inch-tall pixie with wings. Everything Chloe has been saying is true, and now Sketch must pass as her mother and become the queen in order to get access to the magic that can bring them home.


      • Sandra Coopersmith says:

        Thanks for filling me in. Sounds wonderful and I wish you the best of luck. I like the twist where Sketch finds herself in her mother’s teenage body in another time. It’s kind of surprising that the other story didn’t find a buyer as it was really well-crafted. Go figure. If you’d like to enlist me as a reader on this one, feel free.

        Liked by 1 person

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