I have always envied writers who claim their stories unroll for them in a cinematic, visual way. Since humans take in about 80% of their information visually, that’s highly convenient. And helpful.
My Muse prefers to hear things.
Which explains a lot.
She’s sly(or fey as she prefers to be called), so giving me a straight up screenshot of what’s going on in a story would make things just too damned easy.
Instead, I hear things.
Out of the corner of my ears.
It’s really, really frustrating.
Kinda like trying to eavesdrop on myself.
Scraps of a conversation. A creaking gate that leads god-knows-where. Seven notes of some melody I heard long ago. Dry leaves scraping along a barren sidewalk. Or, more recently, some kind of eerie flapping sound.
You know, the kind of inspiration that helped Tolstoy pour out War and Peace in a single draft.
See that little tiny door in the picture above? She wants me to follow her through these small openings into a scene, and if I won’t, she clams up and slams the door.
In my current dark romantic fantasy, much of the action takes place in an alternate reality. This world is both lush and harsh, both like and very unlike our own earth. I wanted maps. I wanted big, sweeping vistas of massive forests or maybe legends of eight foot tall blue-skinned aliens.
My Muse gave me this lonely clacking sound.
Over and over I heard the sound of an unimpeded wind blowing through a hollow object. Finally, I recognized the sound. Tibetan prayer wheels rotating in the unceasing breeze on a cold, dry mountain sound exactly like this.
And in my alternate world, there are similar objects, called auditoria. They line the gateways into the world and all the roads that lead to houses. Until She forced me to really hear them, though, I didn’t recognize their true significance: Without continuous ventilation, everything in my alternate world dies.
This sound is literally the lifeblood of my story.
If the auditorias stop turning, the world collapses. Which then gave me a great window into how the villain plans to get things to go her way . . . . all from a single sound.
So I guess I’ll just have to keep squeezing through the little door instead of sprawling in the big cushy chair seat watching my story unfold in HD, like, say, Avatar.
Hey, did you hear something?