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For every life you deliver to the Spirits, there is a price…

“Do you like killing people?” I asked bluntly hoping for the answer I wanted.

She snapped her head at me, her eyes burned through me like a lightening bolt, “What do you mean? How could you say such a thing?”

This wasn’t the Yes or No answer I had hoped for. Now it would be like walking on a river ice floe in early Spring. “I am not saying you personally kill people, but in this last scene…”

“That’s what you wanted!” her voice filled with accusation.

Since you just joined this conversation, the scene I am talking about is the one I recently finished. It was a monster scene, almost 5,000 words. And you are probably wondering, well how much is 5,000 words? On average one side of a page in a paperback book is roughly 175 to 200 words, so 5,000 words would be like 27 pages in a paperback book. Another way to imagine it, this Post is 1,178 words in length.

So in Writing terms this was a big scene. The reason it was big is it is a scene where the Protagonist begins to discover their magical talents, that invest her with warrior abilities. But as you can see from the title, and the beginning of the Post, the discovery is less than pleasant. The Post Title is actually from a line in this scene that goes like “For every life you deliver to the Spirits, there is a price. Even if it is deserved, or not of your choosing, with time it is possible to reap an impoverished soul.” Or something like this — it is still First Draft so everything is set in quicksand at the moment.

I had not intended the scene to go into much detail, but then Willow (my muse) described the ferocity with which the Protag dispatched her opponents , well–. It wasn’t that she used a lot of guts and gore to describe the action. Describing people being killed is part of the book. After all the book is a combination action, romance, fantasy/magic, along with a number of other topics. And it was somewhat subdued from a lot of others I have read (though she did go into some of scents, sounds, and feelings of it all). But you need to understand that Willow is more on the romantic dreamy side, her most aggressive tenancy leans towards a good argument. So when she had no problem providing me descriptions of how the Protag nearly went berserk and methodically skewered an opponent, I became a little concerned.

“I know I asked for the scene,” a deep breath would help, “but it seemed to come so easily.”

“You don’t understand anything about Muses do you,” she said with her eyes rolled back as I also heard her murmur, “no more than you understand women.”

A bit irritated I defended myself, “I do understand (Muses that is). The Muse is the creative part of me. But I hate killing.” Deep breathes weren’t helping much. “So how could You, I, Us so easily write this scene?”

“Wow, I didn’t realize you were such an expert on Muses,” rubbing in once again that I didn’t even know she existed six months ago. “Is dreaming up a scene on how someone dies any less creative than say imagining a space ship drilling through the dense gasses of space, or lovers embracing for the first time?”

I was stunned for a moment as I never thought about it in that context before. I guess imagination is imagination regardless of the topic. If you are describing something that did not exist before then it didn’t matter what the topic was, it would take creative thought to bring it alive. “I guess the answer would be no.”

“So know I don’t like killing, not one bit.” she sighed as if lecturing a misbehaved child, “But imagine instead that I had given you something like ‘…and she raced toward him and killed him with her sword. Then after he fell she ran on and killed the next person.’ When your Reader woke up from their nap they would probably never turn to the next page to read even more exciting lines like this.”

One thing she did not lack in was sarcasm. “Okay, I was just asking. EXCUSE ME!”

“Your excused…for now.” That was about as gracious as she could get. At least with me. She knew I couldn’t fire her.

Well at least I know she is (I am) not subconsciously some psychopath. Well at least about this.

This is another thing I have learned through these Lessons and my daily writing. Creativity is an interesting aspect of a person’s personality, that they may not have much control over. It can be used in many ways. And really doesn’t discriminate, at least in my experience, by the topic it is being used to describe – as proven in the above example. One of the most important tips, tricks, skills, or whatever you want to call it that I have learned is that even though your Muse (or whatever you call the creative side of your brain) is just another aspect of you, it does things that your You (other parts of your brains) would not do or think of. It goes to show that you are made up of variant parts that when they come together make you who you are.

For years I was a Left Brained person. Everything was logical and there had to be rationale for everything I did or thought about. At times in my life this made me a workaholic (I keep apologizing to my wife and kids, but they tell me to quit worrying about it). I was, and still am, a great Organizer. One of my fortes. But I always wanted to be creative. I guess you could say I was in my work designing computer networks and the like; which is how my Left Brain rationalized it. But even so I bought a guitar (never learned how to play). Took a couple of art classes — was pretty good, but never followed up. And several other forays into the artistic world, including six unfinished Manuscripts.

But in the last seven months I have learned so much and connected with my Right Brain (my Muse, Willow). And this has given me so much more freedom. Not just in my writing, but also in my life. I worry less, I don’t have to have an answer or rationale for everything (which believe me can be very exhausting), and I am a LOT happier. I don’t regret the things I have done in the past. It will help to provide us with a viable retirement. But there are times, when I consider how I feel now, that I wonder what it would have been like if I had begun this at 25 or 35 instead of at 59. But that can’t happen so I have to enjoy the next 30+ years working with Willow and being — CREATIVE.

CREDIT: Image from University of St. Thomas

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