Tag Archives: muses

ICARUNITE; a short story


A few weeks ago I was invited by the amazing Nicole Evans to write a short story for Muse in Pocket, Pen in Hand, a talented collection of writers chasing their muses and finding their voices through writing short stories inspired by prompts.

The short story that arose was published last Friday, inspired by the prompt “The Last Entry in an Explorer’s Journal.”

My first thought was to write a short story within my Obsidian Divide series, because, well, there’s a lot going on in that world and it would be fun. But in the first two days I realized that wasn’t going to work… and completely changed over to write within another series I’m working on.

This other series I’m struggling with, because it has many themes, tropes, and ideas that are pretty big concepts. Just dealing with one of the issues I address is work enough. But within the story I’m dealing environmentalism, how it intersects with race, the relationship between “developed” and “developing” civilizations, how this fits together, and what a relationship across those divides really should mean. Then add in the fact that it’s New Adult, which means the series is about a character learning how she fits into the world, which is always hard. Oh, and as stories do, other issues are appearing out of the ether, such as white saviorism, how perspectives change across generations, and what the slow build of societal change really looks like.

It’s all very complicated. Which is why, in a weird way, I was so grateful to be invited to write for Muses — beyond just the honor of being asked to write for them. Within the short story I was able to delve into a critical point of backstory, and realized that part of my frustration with this series stems from vagueness. Writing this short story forced me to ask questions I hadn’t thought to ask, bringing clarity and further structure to the world (even within issues that don’t directly come up in the short story itself).

It was a struggle to avoid typical colonialism tropes (you’ll see why), and build a story  fueled with wonder and optimism without falling into exoticism or unreality. I’m not sure I entirely accomplished it, though I’m sure everyone will have a differing opinion on the matter.

ANYWAY. Without further ado, go check out what I wrote. And hey, if you feel up to it, let me know what you think…

P.S. Also, thank you to Jared for helping me figure out the name of ‘The Mineral’ 😉

New Year Resolutions and Other Blah

Resolutions: write at least three times a week and blog at least once a week. Ta-da! There you go. Okay, sure, this post is a few days late… about four. But it’s my once a week, right?

My writing groove seems to have returned after several weeks of blah here and there. Not that that’s a surprise; I had a surplus of time, and lately I’ve been limited on time with work. As soon as responsibilities start demanding my attention – ding! Hello voices in my head, wanting me to write the words.

An author friend of mine told me a long time ago that when friends of hers go on vacation to write, they really don’t get much done after the first few days. The creativity dries up. Nothing seems to happen. Somehow, stress is an inspiration that pressure cooks writing creativity into existence. Not that that works for everyone, and that’s not to say that the daily grind of in and out work isn’t an excellent killer of the creative. Because it really can be. I guess my point is that writing comes from somewhere. When everything is stagnation, whether that is sitting at home doing nothing or having your soul slowly sucked from you by work, there’s is little to spark creativity (not to mention the lack of time).

I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here.

The subject of how writers get themselves to write seems to be coming up a lot lately. Probably because of New Years Resolutions. Some people have it a lot easier, and some have a harder time getting themselves to actually sit down and write. I read a post the other day about one such writer who saw other writers feverishly immersed in the world of stories and felt she was wrong somehow because she did not feel this way. She deeply enjoyed writing, and identified as a writer through and through, but did not feel the same feverish compulsion. She goes on to explain the relief she felt after a conference where a famous author spoke about her own struggles with writing, and how sometimes it was months between sitting down to hammer out projects.

I can’t quite empathize because I’m one of those who seems to live and breathe it. Sure, I’ll go through my dry spells or focus on other things for a while, but the daydreaming and feverish working of plot lines in my head is an almost constant companion. Sometimes it even feels like it’s own entity, rising up to drag me by the hair in whatever direction it sees fit.

I’m always fascinated by all the different ways that writers write.

There’s a theory out there that writers channel muses. That we tap into something beyond ourselves, call it God or creativity or what have you. It’s not science. No one person does this the same. I’d say that some Muses are little hellions that scream constantly, and some are quieter and need a little more coaxing before they’ll come out to play. Then add in ‘our’ problems – work, kids, family, whatever mental problems we’ve managed to inherit or develop – and it all has to power to bring that novel we’re working on to a grinding halt. There’s this fine line between not forcing something that can’t be forced and coaxing out our creativity/Muse/talent in our own singular ways that have to be adapted for our own singular neuroses. Sure, a lot of us are similar enough that we can find help in the writing community around us. But writing is ultimately an individual act, and our Muses are all probably different too. Only you really know what these are for you.

You’re the one who has to figure out where the line is between forcing creativity too much and letting life pass you by. And you’re the only one who can change stagnation, make life happen, and channel your creativity.

So, I suppose the point of this post is, go out and shake things up! (I was going to say ‘go out and conquer,’ but you probably don’t want to destroy or subjugate your Muse – you’re going to need it later when you’re stuck.) Fortunately, you’re not alone. We’re all struggling with finding the same balance – and we’re all rooting for you.

Welcome to 2015. Let’s make it great.