Monday Musings at The Storyteller’s Scroll
THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE
Our muses call to us in different ways. Some of us have a muse who sits on
our shoulder and precisely and methodically whispers into our ear. Each
word she dictates must be specific and convey the exact meaning intended.
Those of you, who write that tightly, produce a first draft as clean and
meticulous as other writer’s final drafts. I have two critique partners
who write this way. Their first drafts seem like they are ready to be
I shall dub each of them “The Tortoise,” for like the fabled reptile they take
copious amounts of time to ponder each word, paragraph, and page as
they write them, polishing, rewording, and sometimes agonizing over
the next scene they must write. It may take years to finish one piece.
And that’s great if it’s really as perfect as it seems on the first read.
But when a suggestion is made for a change, the tortoise withdraws
his/her head, yanks in his/her arms and legs and just sits for days on
end wondering how or where they can slip in a nuance to flavor the
story as the suggestion dictates.
Sometimes their writing comes to a drastic halt because of that one
implication that draws on the plot. When that happens, both of these
writers seek new challenges, writing magazine articles or entering
writing contests, and the great novel they took so long to write
sits hidden in their computer until the correction or suggestion
can be dealt with. It could be months later.
But then there are writers like me. I must be “The Hare.” My muse doesn't
sit quietly on my shoulder. She jumps on my head, pounding her ideas into
my brain. Sometimes, she dances on my fingertips so fast that when I’m
typing her ideas on the paper I even misspell words. But that’s okay. My
goal is to knock out that scene or chapter, full of detail, dialogue, and
circumstance before it grows stale in my thoughts and I can’t remember
I know I have rounds and rounds of revision, but when I get to that
stage there are built in loopholes or crannies, where I can shift the
storyline and insert a sensory detail if it needs to be there.
But, I write everyday and I would guess that I complete my novel in
half the time it takes my colleagues to complete theirs.
So, who wins the “writing” race? Whoever signs the contract!