Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, February 3, 2013

More From the Muse

Back in January, I met my personal writing Muse, the plain-spoken Visavarevagitaga. You can read abut our first meeting here.

I didn't expect to hear from Visavarevagitaga again so soon. Or ever, to be honest. But today I received an email from her, subject line HEY MORON, which I have pasted below:

Date:  Sun, 3 Feb 2013 11:52:43 -0600 [12:52:43 PM EST]
From:  Visavarevagsitaga <>
Subject:  HEY MORON

I see you're working on a new book. If one defines 'working' as pecking at the keyboard between screwing around on Facebook. But I'm feeling generous so we'll call it working. Idiot.

As your Muse, I've got a few things to say. Most of them involved being removed as your Muse, but that request was denied. Twice. So.

The book is a train wreck. A flaming, toxic spill, nuclear-waste-hauling five-alarm evacuate the surrounding counties smoke plume seen from space train wreck, and that's just the dedication, and it's all downhill from there. What were you thinking? What were you *drinking?* Can I interest you in another hobby? Origami? Animal husbandry? Spelunking? Anything that doesn't involve words?

The sad bit, the part that truly makes me want to lay waste to all of Mesopotamia and then weep abut it for a dozen centuries thereafter, is this may be the best thing you've ever written. Let that sink in, and then Google the many joys of spelunking.

Great. My third request for a transfer was just denied. Sigh. I miss the Bronze Age. So much less paperwork.

If you insist on pursuing this book to completion, the first thing you need to do is STOP BEING SO NICE TO YOUR CHARACTERS. Honest to Zeus, are you writing a murder mystery or hosting some demented fictional tea party? Here's a quick tip from an ancient Muse to you, bub -- for it to be a murder mystery SOMEONE NEEDS TO DIE.

So kill one of them off. Kill two of them off. Take my advice and kill them all off and try your hand at origami -- it's soothing and there's never a risk of dangling a

Lackwit. Fine. Ignore my advice, what do I know, I'm only older than recorded human history and I once held the fate of millions at my whim. But hey, you read an article about Stephen King's writing habits, so obviously you're the expert.

Even if you refuse to kill off whatshisname, Muckrat the finder, or his wife Duller, consider smiting one of the minor characters. Zeus knows nobody will miss any of them. And if you can't bring yourself to kill them, at least maim them a little bit this time. You've got to thin the herd, pal, or by book ten you'll be drowning in supporting cast and forget I said that, we both know there will never be a book ten because you cant' stay off Twitter long enough, can you, monkey boy?   

I give up. Or rather I would give up if Central Assignments would let me. This email constitutes my official dispensation of my Muse duties for this Julian calendar month. To summarize:

1) Give up.
2) Seriously, give up. Woodworking! That's a good hobby for someone with your literary skills.
3) Give your characters nothing but grief. Grief, trouble, and constant turmoil, followed by epic disaster, and all before you type the words CHAPTER TWO.
4) Stop referring to me mentally as Visa-veggie. I can hear your thoughts, you ungrateful chimpanzee. 
5) Moron.


Visavarevagsitaga (See #4 above)

PS Don't reply to this email. Or any of my emails. I'll delete your replies unread and if you think a rain of toads isn't impressive wait until it happens in your bedroom with high-velocity toads.

Actually some of what she said makes sense. I do have a tendency to coddle my established characters. And maybe it's time to rock the boat a bit, at least in the Markhat series.

Speaking of Markhat, the new book, BROWN RIVER QUEEN, hits the stands March 26!