Muse, Exercise Vengeance

images The Muse has decided that I need to write short stories after finishing revisions on Cormorant Run. I finished a 7K short for an upcoming anthology, and it made me feel almost frantic with loathing. Not because the story is bad, though it could very well be, but because it’s Perry. If there’s a single character that makes me want to scrub myself with hot water, bleach, and a wire brush, it’s him. If I didn’t feel like scrubbing myself raw after a scene with him, I went back and did it again, over and over. Trying to do justice to a hellbreed’s disgustingness is no small order.

So it’s leaving that zero draft to soak in itself for a little bit, while I write the carnivorous mermaid one–alternately titled Fish and The Sea Has Time, though I suspect in the end its title will be a third choice–and then it’s straight into revisions for The Marked. I know Cormorant Run will need another pass, because it’s just that type of book.

So it’s all short stories all the time over here, for at least the next couple of days. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I dislike writing them, I do find them difficult in different ways than novels. A full-length book is an endurance contest, and I am particularly fitted for those. Short stories are a sprint, an iaido cut instead of a drawn-out slugging match, and they require that I know the arc already before my hand even moves for the hilt. It’s an entirely different set of mental muscles, one I don’t use naturally. So, short stories are hard, and I prefer not to work in that vein.

Which just makes it ever so much more ironic that the Muse is serving them up now. “Here,” she says, “is the entire arc, I already did it for you, now write me this.” Serving up what she thinks I need, dammit. It doesn’t help that short stories aren’t very financially viable, either. Not a good return on my investment of working time. Although I should put together a collection of them, one of these days.

It doesn’t matter–my job is to swing for what she pitches, no matter what brand the spinning globes are. But I really would prefer it otherwise. I think maybe she’s getting back at me for exercising her in new ways. Cormorant Run was probably the strangest thing I’ve ever written to date, and Afterwar, the next big project, is similarly complex, new, and terrifying.

So maybe the Muse is just giving me her version of a breather before we go into the trenches for Something Different again. it’s a version that’s twice as much work as regular work, of course, because the Muse is a bitch and wants me to despair.

*sigh* Off I go to write a mermaid. Enjoy your Monday similarly, my chickadees.