Friday, 23 August 2013

Festival Mania and the Return of the Wandering Muse

It's coming up to that time of year again - literary festival season! Like buses you wait and wait get the idea. I'm just not sure why all the West Yorkshire literary festivals are in September and October, most of them overlapping with each other, the bigger ones often eclipsing the smaller ones. And, unless you have an infinite budget, you have to be a lot more selective than you'd like when it comes to choosing which events/workshops to attend. I try to attend at least one event/workshop at each festival - this year I'll be attending four festivals (maybe even five) - thank goodness some events are free. And for those on a limited budget there's often the option to volunteer, meaning you get to attend some pricey events and workshops for free and hopefully get to chat to authors a bit more than you would otherwise. In fact the Ikley Literature Festival encourages its workshop volunteers to participate. So, I've decided to put myself forward as a volunteer for this year's festival. I've supported plenty of events in the past so am hoping they'll take me on. If they do I'll let you know how it goes and whether I recommend it.
The good news is I've finally located Peskalia (the new name for my Muse). In fact, I've not only found her but she's been popping up day and night with some pretty good ideas. In fact, I like one of them so much I might just go for it! The idea will involve a fair amount of research, but I think it will be worth it if I can pull it off. All I'll say is that it will be an MG story involving time travel with more than one POV, plenty of adventure and lots of drama! I'm quite excited about it at the moment - I just hope I can do it justice.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who came up with suggestions on how to find inspiration - they were much appreciated! I hope you continue to find inspiration and will do my best to help if you ever get stuck - all you have to do is ask!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Finding your Elusive Muse

Finishing a book.

On the one hand it gives you a great feeling of satisfaction but on the other it can make you feel quite lost. After the rewritten MS has been submitted and you're facing a long, agonising wait for feedback from an agent, what should you do? Start the next book is the cry from those 'in the know'. But it's not that simple. You have vague ideas forming in your mind about the sequel, but what if an editor demands big changes to the first book? So, a new story perhaps? Not easy when you've spent years steeped in a particular world with the same set of characters. Ideas keep popping into your head so you scribble them down one after another. You even start writing a few pieces but these get abandoned soon after and filed in under 'work in progress' or 'story ideas'.

Perhaps it's time to take a break? So you read lots and try to occupy yourself with other activities, although in your heart of hearts you know you should be writing. And you beat yourself up about it. So, what should feel like a good place to be is actually quite unsettling. However, this is might be just me – I'm sure there are plenty of writers out there at this stage who don't feel like this at all. They're probably battling on with the next project and/or basking in their achievements so far. But for those with a restless nature the 'in between' bit can be a frustrating time.

Since finishing my book I've had some great ideas but as yet I've not been compelled to go very far with any of them. Perhaps the answer is to take a complete break from writing? Or should I try writing somewhere else for a change? What do you do when your focus is gone? Where is that pesky Muse when you need her? If you have any suggestions please share them, I'd love to know!