My muse is definitely a free spirit. She likes to be undefined. Outlines? Those are things she despises. Research and proper timelines for a series (which my novels are) she doesn’t have time for that nonsense.
My muse wants to throw a plot bunny my way and sit down and write out the story.
This can work very well or it can work entirely against you.
It didn’t work out so well for me the other night when she threw a major plot twist into my Fanfic Riddle This at one in the morning.
My muse also worked against me with my Hollywood Secret Series where four novels turned into at last count ten!
I had to pull them off Amazon so I can reset the timeline. Organize the chaos of all the characters my muse has added to the world in later books. And, most terrifying of all, start matching updates, birthdays, anniversaries, kids birthdays, when someone won an Oscar. (The series is set in Hollywood around a close-knit group of celebrities of all types of careers.)
The novels also need some series reworking to all fit together. Plus, they will be published under my actual name and not a pen name. Well, minus my last name. I think I will just be sticking with: Crystal Jean That is honestly still being debated. 😂
The bulk of what needs to be reorganized is keeping track of the timeline, or the reality of the world I created. This is tough when my muse writes to forget all those things. But, I simply have to know ages, kids ages, projects, and other such things at every point in this long timespan all of the novels play out in.
With more than ten different couples and novels so far. There needs to be some organization in place. Some books happen around or at the same time. While others have years in between. I need to add in characters in the earlier books who have their own novels later.
I’m also not going to fib. I needed to edit the novels and update my writing style to reflect all that I have learned and grown from writing FanFiction over the last year and a half.
If you are a writer who wants to grow stylistically and technically. The FanFiction community will help you. Not always nicely, but you will know your strengths and weakness after spending time posting stories. Like me with run-on sentences. I’m working on that.
You will also figure out words you mix up. Definitely and defiantly, is my cross to bear.I swear this is the battle over the two words with my spell check!
Also, did you know you leave the (.) off of Miss Soandso? I did not until a reader pointed it out.I had NO idea!
FanFiction provides the wonderful ability to have writers proof or beta your work and they also introduced me to a program called Grammarly
It is not yet mobile friendly but the free version is fantastic and I highly recommend adding it to word and chrome. They even send weekly reports to you on your progress. You can also decide to use British or American English. As I write Harry Potter fanfics. Mine is set to British most of the time.
I am still looking into programs to help keep track of timelines. I know there are some you can use in windows but I must admit I really much prefer a cork board and cards to keep track of it all. Sadly, I lack the wall space and the massive cork board, however, I am holding out hope.
If you use an online program feel free to let me know in the comment section. I am deeply impressed with those I consider to be ‘research plot writers’ in the FanFiction community.Me: what plan?!
By far the hardest thing I have done as an author wasn’t even a researched story, but a prompt piece. I combined a movie with the Potter universe and picked not just any movie but my favourite Cinderella tale. I am talking, of course, of Ever After circa summer of 1998. I was seventeen and we will not discuss how many times I saw this movie in the theatre.I adored this movie!!
I had the movie poster, the score, found and downloaded the songs from the end credits and trailers. I even had a very old copy of ‘Utopia’ found at an antique shop and lost to black mold at the Michigan house. (I may have cried.) I can quote the entire movie and I was down to just a few days shy of the deadline when my muse woke me up with the plot to make the story work.
The mood board for the story was done by the beautiful Trinkisme and I posted the entire fic tonight onto my FanFic page. It’s a dramione, Draco and Hermione. Yeah, I thought it was crazy too, but then I got sucked in….Tell Me Fable
I think it turned out well, although the process of forcing my muse to do something was incredibly hard.
But this is the beauty of FanFiction. It’s a fun way to challenge your muse, learn and grow as a writer, and share your stories with a large community who provide instant feedback.
The problem, of course, if you own nothing so it won’t pay the bills. But, for me, it is a satisfying outlet. A wonderful way to test myself with deadlines and a great learning experience.
Tomorrow I will be working on the timeline for the Hollywood Secret Series. As well as reworking and editing some chapters in the first novel of the Series. When I get too frustrated I can set my muse free from her cage and let her play with another one of my FanFiction stories.
I have discovered that as long as I am writing, I am happy.
Perhaps, eventually, my muse will be a bit more grounded. But for now, her wild antics keep me sane.
I am always so intrigued to learn how other authors minds work. Do most outline and stick to it? Are there many free writers like me?
It’s been fantastic to meet so many amazing authors through groups and learn their styles.
If you write how would you describe your style? Also, how many unfinished stories are on your computer?
Until next time,