Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When the muse sleeps not

Neither do I. Really, if you hadn't noticed, this post is being made after 3 in the morning. I have been trying since before midnight to fall asleep and have nearly succeeded three times, but my brain keeps kicking back in.

Current muse vexations:

1) The Botosphere

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but in my many ramblings as a fanfiction author, I delved into Transformers to write an Autot blog. That turned into a story with a couple dozen chapters, a timeline, intrigue, conspiracy and a lot of Spanglish. I also have two wonderful co-authors who add stories to the project and collaborate on the chapters of that original story.

Currently, we're trying to get the next chapter up this mid-week so that NEXT weekend, when my friend Jon comes out to visit, he can help co-author the NEXT chapter. By the way, if you've never experienced it, having an over-30 man get giddy about co-writing giant alien robots with three Mormon chicks on his winter vacation, it's a really fun thing. Plus he'll be out here for the annual Life, The Universe and Everything symposium, at which he and I will be presenting our paper. That paper is what I blame for my not getting much else done during November, by the way. I have to have a scapegoat and, well, "Informed Consent: How to Mentor the Chosen One" is it..

But! Anyway! Eowyn77, one of my two co-authors, insists that as soon as I'm done with this chapter, I'm not allowed to work on the Botosphere until I'm done with the next thing on my muse's to-do list. What is that thing, you ask? Well...

2) My 50-page excerpt

I won't go into too much detail here, but I have a hint of a possibility of a nibble. I'll tell you the outline of this saga, but won't tell names or specific affiliations. Not on my finished manuscript--I haven't been querying the way I ought to lately--but this one has a weird backstory to it.

When I was about 9 or 10, I had a great Sunday School teacher. We remain friends to this day and she's a fellow writer. She mentioned a while back that she was working in the publishing industry. In the course of the conversation, I told her a bit about my current project. She got interested in the idea of the modern Swan Lake and asked if she could pitch it to someone she knew. I said sure and just after Christmas, she let me know that someone she works with wants me to submit some things to him.

Now, this guy knows that it's not finished yet, but he's interested in pre-querying, basically. So he's asked for me to write a query letter, a proposed synopsis for the rest of the book and then send him a 50-page excerpt of what I currently have. And he was sure to mention that they don't take unsolicited manuscripts. So HUGE PRESSURE right now.

Mostly, I'm trying to get what I have into a more coherent, less-uncertain-about-the-pacing version. It's harder than it looks!

3) Back to The Deserter

I need to do revisions on this anyway. It's been too long since I did a hardcore editing session. It's very rare these days that I get inspiration for that book at all, since it's already written and has the plot worked out and the remaining four books have their plots mostly worked out.

Well, yesterday, I was sitting at my desk and considering a book I had read recently. Katey made me read some of the Vorkosigan Saga and one character, Sergeant Bothari, suffers from dissociative states to such an extent that he borders on the multiple personality side of things.

That also reminded me of the Rowlingesque motif of soul-splitting as embodied in the Horcruxes.

Eventually, I was reminded of the bad guys in The Deserter. The antagonists are pretty clear-cut, but the dream I had while suffering pneumonia was very specific about the Crossmen and the danger they posed. In the book, I talk about how the Crossmen are not necessarily a bad thing--there are crossers who function as guards or police. They can protect as well as attack. Now the evil crossers in my head have decided that they have delved too deep into what their powers can entail and essentially become multiple personalities. It's a little bit of borrowing from Star Trek and Bizarro Superman alike, but I'm liking where my muse is going with it.

The bad news is, I haven't gotten a good night's sleep in weeks.