Every novel has a message. No matter what it is about, there is always something that the writer wants to say. That is what makes a story even more interesting to read, and as a writer, it makes the story even more interesting to write.
I highly recommend thinking about what you want to say before you grace the page with even a single word. Only because it saves time when editing. With the regular visits of new characters, saved time is a good thing.
The main thing you should ask yourself is: what do I want people to think about once they’ve put down my book? Then it’s just a matter of contemplating what events and characters you want to use to make people think about that. So the coming up with a message is actually the easy part. However, it is a lot easier now that you know what you’re working towards. And it’s also easier for your characters. Considering how we torture them already, it’s only the kind thing to do.
My muse has been playing truant since a few weeks ago. I wrote the first draft of my first magical realism novel and it was one hell of a ride. It’s probably the story I’m most proud of and I can’t explain why. Perhaps because I’ve done my best to add some beautiful prose, or because it has an Addams Family feel to it. But man, it was so frustrating, because after rereading it and getting back feedback from my ninja readers I realised I had to rewrite the ending. It was as slow and painful as having my nails pulled out. Exaggerating? Me? Nah.
My heels spontaneously began to drag themselves when my creative mind hit a brick wall covered in thorns and barbed wire. Somehow I couldn’t even work on other projects, because deep down I wanted to finish this story first. I had to. But how could I when my characters were playing hide and seek without having told me?
So as you can guess, I haven’t written in a while and as a writer, that is torture. I felt like a flower who hadn’t been watered. But today, finally, I had my eureka moment! Nothing is as enticing as a blank page and a pen. It’s like putting a chocolate cake in front of someone who’s extremely hungry. I had to write but didn’t really know what. My thoughts drifted to my story and I thought about the theme and what my character really wanted in those final pages. And bam, I had an idea. And bam, I started writing. And BAM, I had my flow back! Oh, finally. I’m no longer starving for words. What a relief.
For a while I thought I would have to lick the words from the books I have, but none taste as good as my own. Anyway, I’ll stop being weird. My point is that there’s no rush. At least, not when you don’t have an agent (yet). Sometimes it’s good to distract yourself with other things before having another brainstorm session. Sometimes it’s good to let your story sink in. Sometimes it’s necessary.
Meet my muse because why not? It’s fun to find out what kind of muses there are. I mean I’ve used the term before but never considered who my muse really is. So I stopped to really look at her and noticed she’s a child. A very clever, sometimes sarcastic and really weird child. All in a good way.
My favourite part about her is the passion for stories and my least favourite part is that I need to fuel her with stories. I know that shouldn’t be bad and most of the time it’s not, except when I have a life and don’t have the time. Sometimes my mind is not in reading mode and then I have the time but I won’t enjoy doing it. Yeah, to read or not to read is a difficult question.
Either way, us writers are lucky to have the muses that we do. Or maybe not…maybe you have a horror story about your muse. Maybe you’ve traded her for another. If so I’d love to hear about it. When the muse is doing her thing, though, the writing flows like a river on drugs. So don’t forget to surprise your muse with virtual cookies and show your appreciation. Unless you have a bad muse, then I’ll give a basket with certain apples. 😉 What? I’m a mystery writer, I’m allowed to murder.