Friday, October 28, 2016

Musing on Questions
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

It was a long week, but the bright spot was the fact Jamie and I still managed to send our daily quotes to each other. I almost called them nags - in the beginning that’s what they were, a daily reminder to write with the expectation of a report back with a word count at the end of the day.

Perhaps someday we’ll get back to the end of day word report, but that day is not now. For now we’ll still enjoy just the inspiration we send each other. My pick from Jamie this week is short and sweet, and I swear I didn’t pick it because it was the shortest one. :-)

I start with a question. Then try to answer it.
—Mary Lee Settle

My first thought about the quote was that the author must be a mystery writer (she wasn’t). But then I started thinking more about it and really, doesn’t all fiction start with a question and goes on to answer it?

Will the detective solve the crime? Will they fall in love? Will the politician uncover the conspiracy in time? Will the knight defeat the dragon? Will the ship make it to a new world? The list goes on.

This quote actually got me thinking. When you think about it, a book doesn’t just ask one question, but a series of questions - the answer to the first question leading to the next question. In fact, that might be an interesting way of trying to write - start with a question and answer it in a way that leads to another, slightly more complicated, question until your characters reach their objective.

While it was really tempting to use the quote I sent to Jamie from Thoreau, who was comparing postponing writing to using a cold iron to burn holes, I really had to go with this one:

My Muse sits forlorn
She wishes she had not been born
She sits in the cold
No word she says is ever told.
― Stevie Smith

In fact, when I sent this quote to her, I might have made a facetious remark about crocheting my muse a blanket to keep her warm.

Of course my muse and I haven’t exactly been on speaking terms lately. She ignores me, I ignore her, we have this whole mutual ignoring thing going on. Don’t worry though, I’ll bake her some Spritz cookies at Christmas and we’ll be good again. ;-)

From what I’ve heard/seen from other writers, I’m not alone in the lack of communication with the muse lately. It’s not so much we’re ignoring our muses, it’s more they’ve all gone on vacation together and they’re having too much fun to come back any time soon.

With me, as those familiar with this blog well know, this has been going on for a while now. However, the month of October always tends to be a slow one, words-wise. I call this the “pre-NaNo drought”. Even last year, when I didn’t do NaNo, there were very few words written in the month of October. I think subconsciously I’m saving up to start November with a burst of words.

I still have no idea what I’m going to write about for NaNo this year, but I’m not really worried. This isn’t my first NaNo, nor is it the first one where I’ll be starting with no ideas. Not only do the words dry up just prior, so do the ideas. One year it was November 2nd when a name finally popped into my head, followed by her story. One year I was 10,000 words and several days into NaNo when I realized the story just wasn’t working. So I took a couple of days to think about it and started week two with a whole new story - and I made my 50,000 word deadline too.

There’s just something about NaNo that creates magic.

So ... got any ideas yet?

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