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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Writing · #1688300
The muse is ready to work, but the author isn't. Who will win?
“You haven’t worked on this book in over a month,” Muse pointed out as she sat on the huge computer desk next to the monitor.

“I’m aware of that,” the author said dryly. She’d been trying to write the blasted thing for the better part of the past three years. Even after two rewrites, she still only had eight complete chapters to show for it.

Muse continued, “Just set aside finding the reason why your villain is doing what he’s doing and just let Melody help Reuben and his group get another step closer to defeating the villain. She has the knowledge to do it. You ought to know that; you gave her that knowledge. You’re going to have to think of a better name for the villain anyway.”

The author stuck her tongue out at Muse and reached for the mouse.

“Don’t you dare shut down!” Muse snapped. “You’re not that far away from a breakthrough in the plot. If you – “

“I’ll write later. I’m tired.”

Muse scowled. “Then why did you even sit down at the computer?” she demanded. “If all you’re planning to do is just stare at a blank Word document, maybe I ought to take a vacation myself. There are plenty of other Muses needing a break, too. Maybe we’ll head down to Kokomo and inspire the people there.”

“You do that,” the author said abrasively as she reached for her mp3 player and cranked up the volume until Muse could barely hear it herself from the ear buds stuck in the author’s ears. She crossed her arms and frowned at the author. This had to be the most conflicting woman she’d ever met. Hardly anything got completed, and what did get completed didn’t get revised for several months to years afterward.

Well, then, she thought with a smile, if she won’t work on this novel. I will.

The author saw the look on Muse’s face. Eyes narrowing in suspicion, she stopped her music and asked, “What are you up to, Muse?”

Had Muse been able to cackle, she would have. “This,” she said, waving a hand toward the computer screen.

Paxton pulled Melody closer and kissed her, turning Melody’s legs to jelly. Of all the group, she hadn’t figured on Paxton doing this. He hadn’t even spoken to her up to this point. Maybe she’d been wrong about him. Maybe Ruby and Victoria had been wrong.

“No!” the author shrieked. “She doesn’t fall for Paxton. You can’t do that! Paxton will hurt her in the end. She gets together with Reuben’s brother Zacharias. You know that.”

“And what’s wrong with a little confusion first?” Muse asked as the author hit the backspace key to no effect. “Isn’t that how it always is in romance? You ought to know; you’ve read enough books.”

“Paxton – is – all – wrong – for – her,” she said, her words emphasized with every hit on the backspace key.

“Then let her find that out,” Muse replied. “Let her find out Paxton is bad for her and that Zack is the one.”

The author stopped and studied the screen. “Maybe I ought to get rid of Paxton later on,” she grumbled.

“You can’t do that yet,” Muse said. “The team needs his ability to unlock anything, and Melody needs to find out what a creep Kenneth Paxton really is. You know who really needs to go in order for this to move forward. You’ve got her in a brief flirtation with Reuben before she realizes her feelings for Zack. That works. Use it after she and Paxton break up.”

The author scowled, but didn’t reply. Muse could sense the ideas percolating in her brain. She smiled when one caught hold and began to grow. The author’s right hand moved from where it hovered over the ‘backspace’ key to join the other hand at its proper position on the keyboard. Slowly the author began to type, her pace gradually increasing until it was at its full typing speed. Muse could see that the author knew she was right. With a subtle movement on Muse’s part, the two were one as the story formed around what she had written on the author’s screen. Phone calls went unanswered until the following morning. Food was forgotten. A shower? Psh. She wasn’t going anywhere until this was finished anyway.

Mission accomplished.

word count 724

Prompt from the Writer's Cramp: "Have you seen those random posts on Facebook or Twitter, where you're supposed to grab the nearest book and turn to a certain page and line and post it? I'd like you to grab the nearest book (fiction or non, doesn't matter) turn to Page 23 and Line 5 (counted down from the top) and use it in a story or poem."

bolded line came from Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
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