Todays Muse -
I've struggled with a new post for a while. Yes, it's been quite a while.
Struggling to write without readers through the creation process has been difficult. Over the years I've lost the advanced readers I had due to life, changing schedules, busy lifestyles and the quick response needed from the readers by me. I guess I got too used to sending out a few chapters and having responses within hours. :) When I know something's working and the readers were waiting for more, it kept my imagination and my muse at its peak, ever striving to write faster, better.
After losing those readers, I've struggled more, uncertain scene by scene with what could be working and what might not be working. I've scenes stacked upon scenes unused because of it.
Being honest sometimes about why I'm struggling with a book, or why I'm struggling with scenes and why it takes longer to write the books isn't always easy, even with editors and my agent. It's been a six year battle, and admitting to myself the problem I believe is the hardest part.
My muse becomes more energized, my imagination broadens, and the characters become eager to show themselves when there's others to love them as they develop.
I've always said I never wrote alone. That the muse guides the story but my readers help to draw the muse free.
After six years of struggling I guess I've accepted that I nor that muse, will be satisfied until I find another set of readers with the time and love of the story to read sometimes multiple attempts of a scene, to have the time to discuss the stories, books and characters. It's a search that isn't always easy. My schedule is horrible. Usually late at night, with rewrites based not so much on the readers opinion of the scene, but how fast they come back with that opinion, a feeling that comes from reading them and the anticipation or excitement the reader feels.
My past group was incredible. They were completely honest in those opinions, and one didn't even care much for erotic romance. I knew when that reader at least nodded at those scenes in a, okay, I didn't skip through it, then I knew I could on. One liked softer heroes, one liked harder ones. Their differences worked in such a way that the characters would open up in my imagination, challenged by the readers, determined to make each one love them. When the book was finished, not all the readers entirely loved it, but I knew by their responses and comments that what I felt was important in each book had come across. And the characters were satisfied. The characters haven't been satisfied in a while. My imagination I think, demands that challenge. The characters demand it. As they develop, grow, to draw out every part of who and what they are, is rather like being unable to see the forest for the trees.
As a writer I'm too close to the story and the characters and I know it. I know what each character feels and I think its there, clear to see, but perhaps the scenes that I meant to show it aren't as clear as I believed they are.
I think all writers struggle with the rituals they have to draw out the books and characters. Mine are advanced readers, another might be not having it seen until its finished. Some have a complete plot to start with, and God I envy those. I can make a beautiful plot, scene by scene, but do you think my characters are going to allow me to follow it? They laugh at my plots once they start developing their own voice and characteristics.
Especially my heroes. They can irk me to the point that I want nothing more than to show them just how their heroines can bring them down. Sometimes, they irked my readers to that point and the responses I received from their irritation with the heroes was like feeding a fire gasoline where my imagination was concerned.
So, I'm on an advanced reader hunt. Wish me luck, because that's never easy. :)