Sunday, August 10, 2014

The chatty muse

I've had the great gift of some time off work and have spent several hours each day immersing myself in the historical era of my fictional world. It's gotten so that even during routine events, my muse has been chatty. I listen and take notes.

I recently reread a scene I wrote a few weeks back. In it, my main character confesses her wrongdoing to a priest, and I judged the scene to be good but somewhat predictable. Near the end of the reading, my muse tickled my conscious thought with a question - who is that listening outside the confessional? And I thought Yes! There is someone there! And a more powerful scene (and turn of events for the whole novel) was born.

Early on summer mornings, I pull the pool cover aside to create a swim lane. There, between the solar cover and the pool wall, I swim laps, careful to stay on the straight and narrow, avoiding bumps by straying off course. I did this one morning, thinking about my character, when it hit me. She too is in a narrow divide, and if she veers a little to either side, she will be in big trouble. So I wrote a scene, loaded with symbolism, in which she takes an early morning swim in a pond and notes her thin secure path between the tangle of lily pads and towering cattails, between the mucky pond bottom and the open sky, between the fading night and the brightness of day.

Climbing out of the pool yesterday, something dark stuck to my leg. It's a chlorinated pool so it was just one of those 'helicopter' maple seeds, but my initial thought was that it was a leech, fairly common in ponds and lakes. And I thought - ah, more symbolism. A leech can be stuck to her leg when she climbs out of the pond.

So on I go, listening and writing.

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