Tag Archives: Writer’s Block

Ode to Friday 55

21 Nov

There are days
when love of you
makes a promise
like June skies
so blue
I want to turn the earth
upside down
and dive
glide through watered silk
to gooey bottom
probing for pearls
mine irritants
transformed to
iridescent orbs
treasure to fill
quickie tales
of adventure and love.
Today wasn’t one.

~Nara Malone

This post is my contribution to dVerse Poets and G-mans Friday 55. Stop by to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

Feeding Your Muse

24 Nov

I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read that say if you imagine something in great detail, run it through your mind like a movie, that your brain treats it as if it’s an experience you’ve had. I can’t tell you how much truth there is to that concept. I’ve heard it can improve an athlete’s performance better than practice. I’d go with practice if I had a big event coming up. But there is one place where I think the imaginary can be as good as, and sometimes better than, the real. When you’re telling a story, it helps to have been through experiences like the ones you are trying to relate.

If I’m going to tell you about kayaking down a river, I go kayaking first. I learn what it’s like to be a beginner in a boat, getting stuck in marsh grass, hung up in a strainer. And there are always those unexpected moments that usually come when I’m dead tired. On the kayaking trip it happened when I was so tired my arms shook with exhaustion each time I lifted the paddle for another stroke. I looked up at the sky at just the right moment to see an eagle swooping low over the river, coming right toward me, and then veering up toward the heavens at the last moment. There’s a magic in moments like those, magic that make you forget how tired, wet, cold, hungry you are. Moments like those make the trip worth it. Trips like this feed your muse experiences that will wander into more than one story.

But there are adventures it’s just not safe to have in reality. Maybe you’re writing a story about a hero trapped in a burning building. I can’t imagine setting the garden shed on fire and walking around inside just to experience the terror of burning to death. I ran up against that same hurdle when I decided I wanted to write a capture romance. I’m not about to head down a dark alley in the wee hours of the morning to make my story more authentic. Not in the real world anyway.

According to researchers it takes about five minutes for a person to emotionally become their avatar. I can verify that walking down a dark alley in a virtual slum gets my heart thumping. Having someone step out of the shadows in front of me makes my heart skip a few beats. This being virtuality, a universe of objects created and inhabited by thousands of individuals, things don’t always behave as they should. There are elements of surprise that inspire new ideas.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been blogging on my personal blog about some of my adventures while I was researching capture roleplay in preparation for writing Snatch Me. Nothing went the way I planned it. There were points where I felt like an incredibly inept heroine trapped in a mystery novel and everything I did to extract myself from the situation only dug me a deeper hole. The picture above is a recreation of the moment a hunter tried to carry me off on horseback after he’d just fished me from a river and detached that same horse from my head–long story behind that. But that moment where he put me on the horse and then vaulted up behind me, that was magic. That was one of those times when my heart missed a beat, where the arms going around my waist to take the reins felt real. And how many times in life do you get to know what it’s like to be carried off on horseback by a guy in a loincloth? That magic didn’t last long either, but I’m saving that story for tomorrow’s Friday 55 post at my personal blog.

My virtual world research was a feast for my muse. When it came time to write Snatch Me it was like nothing I had ever experienced. Words spilled onto the page, not a retelling of what happened in my research(sorry no loincloths or horses, but the hero is just as mouthwatering), but a new story about grief that shuts a heart down, about work, about addictions, about finding a lover with the confidence to let a woman discover who she is and who she needs to become. I didn’t know I had a story like that in me.

That’s the cool thing about muses, they take the adventures you feed them and mix them with the joys and sorrows that help human beings grow, then it all merges on the page to tell a story you didn’t see coming. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. If you’re up for an adventure, you can find a little feast I whipped up for your muse right here.

Arousing the Brain

21 Aug

Are you hampered by tired brain syndrome? It can build slowly over time from pushing too hard or doing a repetitive routine for too long. Or it can hit unexpectedly for no obvious reason. Whatever the cause, we all seem to suffer from it eventually. When a shot of espresso fails to trigger a rise in your ability to think through a problem, a more creative solution is needed. Here are a few of my tricks –

1. I take a vacation from my current reality. This can be an actual trip to a different place but for me it only works if it is totally distracting like a weekend in Manhattan, Las Vegas or Disney World.
On a more economical level, I might spend an entire day at the movies.

2. I clean, organize or declutter something not at all related to what I got so burned out from. Sometimes the obstacle is just a feng shui thing.

3. I do a jigsaw puzzle while watching a movie or tv series from my video collection. Accomplishing something simple reminds me to take life one day, one piece at a time.

4. I get together with a friend and play a game that exercises the brain just for fun, such as Scrabble. I’ve also gotten a jumpstart by going to the mall with a friend and making up character profiles for people we see.

It wouldn’t take a psychology degree to discern some of my personality from the above. Obviously my tricks wouldn’t work for everyone. So, please share what you do to restart your brain when it goes on strike. Your suggestion might be exactly what someone else needs to hear today.

 Wishing you a day full of inspiration,

Marilyn Campbell


facebook: AuthorMarilynCampbell; twitter: marilyncampbel3

I Have A Fever

16 Jul

And while I’m tempted to claim that the only prescription is more cowbell, I know it’s not.  It is the summer and oddly, I have Cabin Fever.

During the Fall/Winter months, when most people suffer from this malady, I’m in my element. I have a great nesting instinct and I love watching a brisk or cold day outside my window while I enjoy a warm beverage and bang out the word count.  Or at least until we reach that part of Chicago Winters where you swear the sun is a figment of your imagination and that we’ve entered yet another ice age.

I love summer, but my productivity is shot. It would be understandable if I was out cavorting in the sunshine (my cavorting is legendary I tells ya!), but I’m not really an outdoorsy person. I don’t have kidlets to throw off my schedule, and it’s not like my social calendar is any fuller than normal.  But the words have slowed to a trickle and I’m not sure how to fix that.

In the meantime, I’m going to eat a little ice cream, put in the time, and beat on my cowbell a little harder.


Writer’s Block: What To Do When the Words Won’t Cum?

27 Feb


Uh—I mean Come…sort of ;o)  

Writing good erotic fiction can be tricky. As any fan will tell you, it’s more than just pages and pages of gratuitous sex. It must have believable and redeemable if not instantly likeable characters, conflict and tension (sexual and otherwise) and whether it’s 3K or 150K+ words, it must have a complete story line with an ending that satisfies all of the reader’s needs. That is all part of the craft of writing and goes without saying.

Here’s the tricky part. Erotic fiction, especially for women has to be engaging to all of the senses and keep the mind engaged at the same time. Again, it’s part of the craft and a good writer knows how to do it, BUT…

Readers demand details in the sex scenes and sometimes, it’s easy to get bogged down with the mechanics—the “what goes where and how”, especially when you’re writing a lot of books with a lot of sex!

Writing good sex consistently is a great deal like having good sex consistently. Continue reading

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