Friday, October 14, 2011

Stroking the Muse

By Laura Spinella

Dear Inner Muse,

It’s been a rough month. The cat died, and those pesky kids, as you refer to them, do require an occasional glance on my part. I know how much you loathe reality writing, (aka cash in exchange for the F-word… freelance writing) but I don’t see much choice in the matter. I understand that you’re currently annoyed with me. But do you think you could ease up and cut me some slack?

It all goes back to that nasty confrontation. You know, when I asked you to get on board flipping THE IT FACTOR, our 114,000 word creation, from an alternating first/third-person narrative to strictly third-person. I appreciated your hesitation: you are in charge. I get it. Since when do I take massive third-party advice and go against the Muse? But, seriously, she is our agent. You’re right, I’ve no idea if she possesses an Inner Muse, but I can tell you that she does have missile-like radar when it comes to what works and what doesn’t. Frankly, I think we’d be idiots not to listen.

I know; I heard your warning, not to mention the persnickety mirth when I explained what we needed to do. Quote: “Are you insane? Do you have any idea how much effort it took to coerce and cajole your sad little prose into a viable story? Most of that book is written in first-person. You might as well start translating War and Peace into Pig Latin, because that’s pretty much what you’re asking.”

If I can say, I think you were overstating just a tad. Granted, it’s not been a breeze. The shift from first to third is a domino effect, changing sentence structure and voice. Simple words that fit in first-person are left lost and out of place when read in third. Of course, matters were further complicated when you suggested kicking the plot up a notch. Don’t deny it; I was there. “Gosh, while we have the thing wide open here, wouldn’t it be great if Isabel’s feelings were less obvious from the beginning? And if Aidan and Anne had a past, well, that would heighten the conflict.” These, dear Muse, were not my ideas but yours. I’m not saying they weren’t good. I’m only asking if we can see our way clear to wrapping things up soon. Like, say, before technology figures out how to imprint books directly onto readers’ brains, thus subjugating the need for printed words. I know nothing as pedestrian as profit interests you, but certainly my take on that format would be about –12 cents a copy. BTW, Muse, did you know there’s no cent sign on this keyboard?

I digress. The bottom line is we’ve been going at it full throttle for weeks. I hear it. I feel it, that same rhythm we had while writing BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. You remember, you tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, I know a guy. He’s got a hell of a story if you’re interested…” We’re doing that again. We’re almost there. So if you could loosen the reins a bit, I’d appreciate it. I fear if this keeps up, one of us won’t make it out alive, and I’d really hate for it to be me.

Your Ardent & Faithful Servant,

Laura Spinella

PS--Love you, Ted! Best cat that ever lived to toss a hairball!

Fingers crossed if you can, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER is a finalist for NJRWA Golden Leaf Contest, winners announced next week! You can always find me on FB or at  Have you read BEAUTIFUL DISASTER yet?


  1. Hey, Laura, I think my inner muse drowned during Hurricane Irene. I'm still looking to see if she will float by in a rubber raft and return to her humble abode. And was poor Ted a Maine Coon per chance? I have Diego, the biggest cat who ever lived and there is a striking resemblance. My condolences. Maggie

  2. Hey Maggie, We're not exactly sure what Ted was, part Maine Coon was a definite possibility! He came from Ocean City, Maryland with five brothers and sisters, but not a whole lot of family background, if you know what i mean! Thanks for popping in to comment!

  3. Ack!! Blogger is eating comments again! I SAID, Maggie, not sure what he was, part Maine Coon was always a possibility... But he WAS exceptional!

  4. Laura, My muse is on vacation, and I fear may be permanently taking up residence on some paradise island that has no cell service.

    Thanks for the fun blog. Good luck with the book and the contest.

    So sorry about your cat. Glad you have such nice memories (maybe excluding the hairballs).


  5. Laura, I miss Ted, and I didn't even know him! But I love all your pics of him. I'll bet for sure he had Maine Coon in him. He looked so much like my babies Moose and Stripe (who, I know, are playing joyfully in heaven with him--and there are no furballs in heaven!). Max looks like that, too. So I think a lot of Maine Coons left their genes in animal shelters across the country.

    As for your muse, I need to copy your letter and send it to mine! I'll just have to cut and paste a few things. ;-) Good luck with the rewrite! I can't wait to read IT someday so keep at it!

  6. P.S. Laura, I found that missing comment in the spam filter. So now it's magically back!

  7. Great post. Hearing voices is what others might say about us--and it's true.

    As for cats, at the moment we have 2 inside cats, Butch and Sundance. Outside is a slew of feral cats--impossible to catch. Hubby feels sorry for them and feeds them.

    Over the years we have managed to catch a few and have them fixed, then they disappear.

    Because we live in the country people drop off unwanted cats and they all seem to find their way to our house.

  8. Good luck on the contest! And also if you hold down the alt key and then hit the $ key you should get the ¢ symbol. Just in case your muse didn't know... ;)