For the past year, I have been struggling with the world of my novel. As it is currently structured, the story starts in a realistic world and a parallel fantastical reality is revealed to the reader and the protagonist as the work proceeds. In theory, it works. My intellect loves it. But my Muse is not impressed. The realistic sections of the book aren’t working and I hate writing them.
Is this an image created by a Muse who hangs out in realism?
What about this one?
I think not.
When she critiqued it earlier this year, one of the comments Charlotte Rains Dixon made about the opening pages of the book was that she wanted to know why a character overreacted to a car accident; it was the kind of question that made her want to turn the pages beyond what I shared with her.
This, my friends, is exactly what the beginning of a story should do.
But, the reason I had given this character for such an extreme reaction was the sort of heavy, gritty, realistic, trauma-related reason that appeals to people who like issue-oriented YA. And it wasn’t working for me.
So, last night, I asked my Muse to justify the reaction to the accident in a way that fits with the fantastical elements of the book.
And she came through. Big time.
She gave me an accident witnessed by the character some years ago that involved the shape-shifting near-immortals that populate the world and created PTSD, fear of being crazy, self-doubt, self-censorship, and willingness to believe in an alternate magical reality in one moment.
I can work with that, all of it. It fits beautifully into subplots and plot twists that already exist. And I am excited about it.
I had been asking my Muse to work in my analytical world and she balked. Meeting her half-way is clearly a better approach.
Does your creative imagination have a strong suit, a world view, a groove? What happens when you work outside that range?