Commuting with the Muse

Contrary to other people, I enjoy the commute to and from work. Most of my best ideas sprout while I’m driving. It’s that half hour to forty five minutes to get rid of work baggage, before I have to take up being the husband and father.

I went to my truck last night and Lorelei was already inside. I gave up trying to figure out how she gets through locks and inside my house. She had on her brown suit, with the skirt that stopped above the knees.

“Looks like you made progress on your outline,” she said.

“Some, I’m still struggling with some plot issues and motivations. I always struggle figuring out why someone would be evil.”

“There was a time when my clients could just have the bad guy being bad. Those were the good old days. Today, readers want more realistic villains. They can’t be evil, just because you need a bad guy.”

“That’s why my antagonists are mostly corporations, wilderness, or government. I always struggle with putting a face to the villain.”

She leaned into my shoulder and said, “Those are really good antagonists, but it’s time for you to grow some more. Like I always said, try it. It isn’t that hard to delete something and try again. It’s not like the quill and ink days. Write it in a separate document; if it sucks delete it. If you think it’s good enough, paste it into your manuscript.”

The smell of sandalwood perfume teased my senses, and her hoop earring tickled my arm. Lorelei pulled back, I’d been caught, and she always knew what I’d been thinking.

“Pay attention, this is important. Write about your antagonist. If you delete it, write it again, and again, until you get it right. This is really the only way to get a feel for something new.”

“I like learning new things, but isn’t there a book or something I can read? I’d really like to scare the hell out of my readers in a place or two. I just don’t know if I’m up to it.”

“You didn’t think you could write a novel, until you did. You should trust me by now. Do a search for books, but don’t get too caught up copying what others have done.”

“I guess. You’ve never steered me wrong. I have an awesome end game, but I had to move my story by five years. I’m going to lose some of the angst from the sixties. I remember hippies in the seventies, but readers won’t believe it. I don’t know that they’ll understand bussing in that era either.”

“Take your own advice. That stuff is literary garlic. You probably don’t need as much as you think. You need to work on the plot first anyway. Make sure your main character has a good story arc.” Lorelei morphed into a 1970s version of herself; teased out hair, short shorts, platform shoes, and a halter top that revealed quite a bit. “I’ll show up during the hard parts. Maybe I can offer a little – extra inspiration.” She wrinkled her nose in that cute flirty way. “Now, pay attention to the road, I’m not leaving just yet.”

We chatted about how I intend to use one musical interlude to show what my character’s hopes and dream are, then another at the end to show what she becomes.

I pulled into the garage and Lorelei leaned over and kissed me. I knew the peek inside her halter was on purpose. I was definitely inspired.

“Remember the part between the interludes is always the hardest. Put extra effort into that section, and I’ll see you later.” She vanished and left me to my thoughts.

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