Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Exciting the Muse, Writer-ly Homework and Why the Reader Trumps All

At last week's critique meeting, fellow writer A--sensing I hadn't finalized key rules of the magical system for my most current rewrite of KM--challenged me to do so before our next meeting.

I balked at first. After all, I could see how the magic worked in my head, and eventually, with enough rewrites, how I saw it would translate to the page, right?

But here's the thing. After taking this summer's Plotting the Novel class, I learned that no matter how many rewrites I did, I'd make little forward progress (and waste reams more paper) if I didn't make the hard decisions now.

What's more, it didn't matter that I could see my world's magic in action. What mattered was that A, my loyal and trusted reader, could not, which meant I hadn't done my job.

Leave it to J and A. Nothing gets past them. What J doesn't pick up, A does. And vice versa. And if both of them notice something, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. Go back and try again.

Honestly, I knew my current vision of the magical system was still a bit murky when I submitted the copy, but since the deadline was upon me, I sent it in anyway, hoped for the best, and thought, "hey, maybe it is working after all, maybe they'll let it slide."


Because I so respect these ladies, because the reader trumps all, and because I know from experience that the hard work will lead to a happy muse, I put a hold on my writing this week in order to finalize the Ecology of the Magical System in my fantasy world.

What I find fasinating about this exercise is that although the ecology isn't yet complete, my muse is inspired and eager to return to butt in chair time for the hard work of writing.

In case I haven't said it lately: This process continues to excite and amaze me.

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