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 I sent my muse a telegram

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Malcolm
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PostSubject: I sent my muse a telegram   Wed May 20, 2009 6:45 pm

WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU KILLED MY FAVORITE CHARACTER? STOP.
I've been writing blind, channeling from wherever, typing at flank speed.
I'm letting my "muse" and the characters control what happens.

The novel unfolds and as it does, I discover the plot, the dialogue, the action.

My protagonist Jock Stewart just left the Purple Platter restaurant,
walked across the street, and there was a man signing the blues for
donations. Suddenly, he sings an old Josh White song called "St James
Infirmary." Jock throws a five dollar bill in the cigar box where tips
are collecting in a large stack.

That's when he knows she's been murdered.

I did not expect this and I'm stunned. I stopped writing and thought
about it. Perhaps I could put a lesser character in her shoes, so to
speak. Like a god, I could create a new character out of Georgia clay,
breathe life into her, and then say, "sorry babes, Col Mustard just
killed you in the conservatory with a lead pipe."

"Don't even think about it," my muse said.

"I already thought about it."

"Let's have a come-to-the goddess meeting," she hissed. "If I'm going to
supply the stories, your job is to polish them until they shine like
jewels. Understand."

"But not her..."

"It has to be be her. When you get to the last line, you'll see why.""I don't like you."

"So what?"

Leap-of-faith writing goes this way. I feel like I'm in a Porsche Boxster driving 150 mph with my eyes closed on a country road filled with potholes.

If I open my eyes, I'm safe, but the dream vanishes.
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Sue
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Wed May 20, 2009 8:12 pm

Ha ha ha... I already see where it is heading, Malcolm. Keep writing. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. *giggle*
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Wed May 20, 2009 8:41 pm

Malcolm, I know exactly what you mean! When I began writing Keechie,
(my first novel), I was sharing it chapter by chapter with some very
old and dear Internet friends.

"Where are you getting these ideas?" they wanted to know.

I was almost afraid to tell them that I didn't think they were coming
from me - at least not from my conscious mind. It was like the old
Indian woman Keechie wanted me to tell her story and I was "taking
dictation".

I prolonged her death as long as I could because, simply put, I loved
her like a grandmother. That was the most difficult passage I had to
write, and if you read the book, you will see that I did it in one
short paragraph with tears streamiing down my face - and I don't cry
easily. I had set the book in a very real place and her burial site is
actually near an ancient ceremonial ground. I take my daughter there
frequently and on the last visit I was sitting on the "The Rock" above
where my protag had buried Keechie.

Without thinking, I said to my daughter, "You know Keechie is buried right down there."

And for a brief moment in time, I believed it.
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E. Don Harpe
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Wed May 20, 2009 8:59 pm

Guys, to me characters are just that, characters. So long as I'm not writing historical fiction, where the time line as well as the deaths are known well in advance, I will kill any character that I think will move the storyline forward. I'll do it for shock value, I'll do it if they begin to get in the way or the story, and I never mind it at all.

I also don't write without knowing where the story is going. I know there are several schools of thought on this subject, but just as I'd never get into an airplane and fly it with a blindfold on, I don't like to start writing without knowing what I'm going to be writing about. I do a lot of back story on my characters, and I know what they are going to do in a given situation.

Even with that, sometimes the characters dictate what they will do and what they won't, but I always try to remain consistant. If one of them was afraid of spiders when he or she was little, then they are still afraid of them as adults. They might do something to overcome that fear, but unless I tell the reader what it was, then for them to no longer be afraid would be out of character.

My muse is my keyboard and whatever I can think of in my mind to write about.
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Wed May 20, 2009 9:59 pm

Y'all would have to see the email exchanges between Don and I to know why I feel that post was directed at me. LOL

He knows how attached I get to my characters and has had to remind me
several times to, "Don't get too attached... you may have to kill `em
off. We only need X, Y and Z to survive. The rest are expendable to
make a good story."

I have to agree, but it's soooo hard...
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Wed May 20, 2009 10:51 pm

Malcolm, you are so funny. I love the idea of a telegram.

Brew and Don, it is easy to see you are good for each other! I remember God killing the world, Don!
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Thu May 21, 2009 8:58 am

Don, I gave up long ago trying to control my characters. For one thing, it was causing too much stress which led to too much drink which led my wife to suggest that my writing needed to bring in a lot more money if I "needed" high-priced Scotch.

So, I just let them do whatever the hell they want.

Malcolm
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Thu May 21, 2009 9:00 am

Sue and Zada,

I'm told by people here in town to cut back on the jokes. I have to tell them sorry, but my mind's messed up from hearing voices and drinking Scotch, so I'm not going to change. I might if Madonna asked me to change, but otherwise no dice.

Malcolm
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Thu May 21, 2009 9:02 am

Phil,

I don't care what anyone else says, your post makes perfect sense to me. Long experience, though, has told me to lie to people when they ask me where I get my ideas.

Saying that I hear voices makes people look at my funny and suggest that I've forgotten to take my medication.

Malcolm
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Thu May 21, 2009 9:07 am

A similar thing happened when I was writing the first draft of And Adam was a Gardener. The story had two major male characters, one a free-spirit folk singer, the other a capitalist computer magnate. My head was intent on having the heroine fall for the folk singer, but that muse in my heart had other ideas and she fell for the businessman instead, as backward as that seems. It turned out, she had a lot to teach him that the folk singer already knew.

Malcolm, The copies of Gerson's book and CD set that I ordered after reading your related post arrived today. I can't wait to get started on them. Thanks for the tip.

Ann
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Sue
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Thu May 21, 2009 11:21 am

Being an intuitive I hear voices all the time. *grin* There I have come out and said it here on the forum!

Anyway, follow your heart, your muse, and your voices. You can't go wrong.
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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Thu May 21, 2009 3:51 pm

Well this is a fine howdy-do. I don't have a muse. If anyone has an extra lying around . . .
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Betty Fasig
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Thu May 21, 2009 6:10 pm

Dear Dick,
I find I do not have a muse either. I do not hear voices either. My characters do not tell me what to write. I would not dare write about my dreams, so there I am just blurting it out. I am not famous either.

Love,
Betty
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Thu May 21, 2009 9:52 pm

I don't know if I have a muse, however a little voice came to me out of nowhere and said, "Cheer up, things could be worse." So I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Fri May 22, 2009 1:09 am

That'll teach you.

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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Fri May 22, 2009 5:00 am

You've just described my outlook on life, Abe.
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Fri May 22, 2009 7:42 am

Dick, I avoided the whole "muse thing" for 60 years because it just sounded like a bunch of fru-fru talk. Then, I was rudely informed by my muse to "cut the crap" because she had been there the entire time.

I told her she needed to help me write something that paid the bills. We'll see...

Malcolm

P.S. Abe, I refuse to cheer up for the very reasons you cited.
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Fri May 22, 2009 7:44 am

alj,

I'll be interested in hearing how you like Gerson's book. I don't have the CD, but I'm curious about it.

Malcolm

P.S. Betty, you might be famous tomorrow. One never knows.
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Fri May 22, 2009 7:45 am

Marie,

That figures.

Malcolm
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Fri May 22, 2009 8:17 am

Abe: Laughing
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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Fri May 22, 2009 3:11 pm

I'll take either one Marie. How will I know when she has arrived? Where do you keep a muse?
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Fri May 22, 2009 3:40 pm

You only know you have a muse when she abandons you. The fact that you don't know you have one is all you need to know. When something is a-musing (without a muse), we laugh. I guess that's the reason you don't.

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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Fri May 22, 2009 9:44 pm

Goodness, don't tell Jackie Dick is two in one! I'm sure she has her hands full just dealing with the Dick she's aware of!!
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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Sat May 23, 2009 5:41 am

That's for sure.

Will someone please tell Shelagh that while I may not laugh, I do smile now and then. It has even happened two or three times in a single day. I try to avoid that because it's tiring and I hate to waste energy.
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: I sent my muse a telegram   Sat May 23, 2009 6:18 am

Did your face crack, Dick?
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