Getting Ideas (in All the Wrong Places)

So, where do writers get their ideas? Some people subscribe to the catalogue from the old lady in Detroit (or the lady in Schenectady. I think she specializes in romances, but I could be wrong.) I have yet to find her address.

Instead, I have a subconscious (aka the Muse) that likes to throw things at me at inopportune moments, usually when my hands are full, or I’m in the middle of something I can’t stop doing, or just before I go to sleep, so I wake up and pummel my memory trying to recall what that plot twist was. The most recent moment came on the treadmill at the gym, with Crüxshadows “Valkyrie” blasting on my headphones. As I trotted along, I saw Rada Ni Drako, or rather, saw over Rada’s shoulder as she initiated the final approach to a spacecraft carrier in high orbit around Drakon IV. You see, even the Lord Defender has to re-qualify every century or so. And the Landing Signals Officer waves her off. She growls and goes around and lines up again. And the LSO waves her off.

At this point, the Muse pulled up a second, previously unrelated story bit out of my memory and jammed it into the scene, then announced “They go together. Your turn.” Note that as this is going on, I’m still trotting away, with at least an hour of weights and cardio to go before I can get to pen and paper. Shaking my fist at the Muse does nothing but make the other folks at the gym concerned about my sanity, so I grimace and do what I can to lock the ideas into my memory.

This was a mild example of the Muse at work. Last week, as I tried to get the revisions to Non-fiction 1 done and polish some on Non-fiction 2,  the Muse reminded me that I had a WWI novel to research, and another Colplatschki book to write. “What do you mean? That was a short story that turned into a four-book series and a novella. Enough’s enough.”

Muse pulled a book off the shelf and dropped it on my toe. “Nope. Go back, use this scene, and you need to read this and a few others.” I looked at the book and groaned. So that was why Muse prodded me to read about the lead-up to the Thirty Years War last year! “Quite whining, you can reuse some of the writings you cited in Book Four.” Thanks, Muse.

“Oh, yeah, and there may be a sequel to the WWI book. The Twenties and Thirties were pretty interesting in the Hapsburg Confederation after all.”

Arrrrrgh! What became of a nice, orderly mind that stays on track?

“Thpppth,” Muse replied. “And you might consider taking those Cat stories that you don’t know what to do with and turning them into a novel.”

No! Oh no, no, that’s asking too much. Really, come on, Rada likes short stories.

“Bullcorn. But that’s for the future.”

Whimper. Putting your fingers in your ears and going “la, la, la I can’t hear you” does not work on the subconscious. I know I should have kept my mouth shut back in early January when I was wondering where my next stories would come from, since it felt as if the well had run dry.

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