Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Musings at The Storyteller’s Scroll




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 

the specifics.

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!




  1. Outside of that fable, I'm like a butterfly. Flitting from story to story, settling in one place only for a short while until someplace else calls--yet somehow I still reach my destination, a long way away.

  2. Butterfly--

    That's a neat analogy. I wonder how many other creatures are out there typing away, creating wonderful stories for children?

  3. Oh Miz Gayle...

    You should stop by my blog to check out the winners of my zombie Haiku contest....*wink wink*


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