Tuesday, May 29, 2012


My name is L.L. Muir and I have a problem.

It's time to stop trying to be everything to everybody, but for the life of me, I have no idea how to drop a genre. 

There are kids in my head, waiting patiently for their stories to be told. Star-crossed lovers waiting to meet. There are historical figures there too, from a history that has yet to be written. So many stories, so little time.

Let's be honest. I don't write to live. I don't write to make a paycheck so I can buy non-essentials and take vacations. 

I live to write.

I cover the essentials so I can get back to writing. I write to make a paycheck for those essentials so no one can complain about how much time I spend bringing my puppets to life.

A hundred years ago, there was a really great Helen Reddy song--I forget the title--about a guy she kept prisoner in her radio, and when she went into her room and turned up the music, it let him out. (Okay, so that may not have been the real lyrics, but to a madly-in-love-with-love ten year old, that's what I remember them saying.) That song must have had a substantial impact on me if only for the fact that I feel that way about my characters.

I'm holding them prisoner, in my office, in my mind, and they only get to come out and dance at my bidding. Why in the world would I not wish to spend as many waking hours as possible in my little menagerie?

But now I have an issue with space. I have new people knocking on the walls of my little radio/genie bottle, begging to be let out, but my room is too small. Even for a nut like me, there is only so much space in my head, and I need to let some of these characters move out so new ones can move in. So I'm giving them a new cage--a completed, covered, purchasable book--and tossing them out into the real world, contained, but no longer taking up physical space inside me...

And I've become addicted to the wiggle room, the empty chairs, the walking space between the furniture. I've also become addicted to the roar of the crowd as I toss those books and characters out to them. (NEVER underestimate the power of the crowd, even if you're a hermit.)

So I'm turning up the radio and letting the characters out as fast as my fingers can fly across the keyboard. I can only tell the stories in the order in which they arrive and pray the crowd doesn't mind waiting for sequels to make it to the front of the line. And thus, my dilemma; a humorous Halloween story, WHERE TO PEE ON A PIRATE SHIP.

Are the YA and Historical sequels coming? You betcha. They're pacing the room even as I'm typing, peeking over my shoulder, trying to guess what I'm writing, grumbling when it's not about them. 

And can I tell any of them that I've decided to no longer pursue their genre? Heck no! They'd kill me. They'd find a way to drive me  certifiably insane on the odd chance the nice doctors might allow me to write more than I do now... And if that failed, they'd escort me to the high roof and insist I jump. Because if they can't live, I shouldn't either.

And so, out of self-preservation, I've decided to take the safely insane road of workaholism. No choice, really.  But can you imagine if I wrote Horror? The characters that would lurk over my shoulder? *shudders*

I'd go to a Writers Anonymous meeting, but I don't want to be cured...


babette said...

Where to pee on a pirate ship? Oh, the things I've never considered. I suppose the guys, equipped with outdoor plumbing as they are, don't have much issue with this. We ladies have a different problem.

Thanks for sharing this! I needed the laugh. Now to go back to the voices clamoring in my head. If I weren't a writer I'm pretty sure they'd lock me up in one of those pretty white coats that make you hug yourself.

L.L. Muir said...

Glad someone is laughing. I'm kind of nervous about the wrong people finding out my secret here, but not nervous enough to take it down! Hah!

Wendy S. Hales said...

Lesli... I love your perspective of the world, both real and your written scenes. Great post, I'm still chuckling. Sometimes I wonder if I ever got dementia who would I continue to recognize ... Family and friends, or characters.

Diane Darcy said...

*I cover the essentials so I can get back to writing*

Haha! I can relate! I've been running around like a mad woman AGAIN, trying to catch up on STUFF so I can get back to the story.

Thanks for explaining. =)

Can't wait for the pirate book. Hee hee. I'll buy it based on the title alone.

Tiffinie Helmer said...

We are an insane group. But that's a requirement to being a writer.

I glazed pottery ALL day while the voices in my head yelled, "What the hell are you doing? Don't you remember where you left us?"

Of course, I remember, but there are these other things that needed doing. And I'd already put it off to long. So now I will be sitting at the computer being a conduit for my characters as they figure out how to get out of the situation I left them in.

But they don't know what's coming up and I do. Hehehehe.

S. L. Rowland said...

You know there's no choice in this for you. You don't have them hostage, not at all, they hold you captive.

What to do about the rest of the world? Smile at them, pat them on the head, and tell them you'll do laundry after you kill the serpent and save the wench stuck in a tree.

After a while, they'll quit asking and do their own laundry.

Great post!

Sandy said...

I know I'm a day late thanks to digest, but I love the post. You make the world a better place with humor. Can't wait to read your Halloween special.

Kelli Ann said...

I relate...I got into my car the other day only to have my current hero nearly screaming at me to finish his story. He didn't like the excuse that I am helping other writers build 'a new cage--a completed, covered, purchasable book' for their characters.
Thanks for your witty insight and justification for all of us with those friends who live inside of us.

L.L. Muir said...

People who live at the funny farm must be very happy--to know they are not alone...surrounded by writers, as they must be.

Thanks, you nut cases!

Taffy said...

Ah! I found you! And I'm glad I did. Now I'm going over to Amazon to find a certain book about rainbows...