From Muse to Reality

Fiction, Politics and Essays


On Being a Writer

By Minnie Estelle Miller


December 9, 2014

For me, being a writer is a mixture of all my emotions. Beginning to write my story is easy. Most times, I have a dream or an idea that stirs my emotions and jump-starts my imagination. I write down thoughts, even if only a couple of sentences, and let them simmer for a week or so. It is inspiring to see your words from another perspective, especially when involved in something completely detached from your draft.

Some may think that reading is detached from writing. Not true. It is fundamental to writing. It helps me find the proper words for some thoughts. Often I am stuck trying to clarify a situation. I may use a few words of other writers, being mindful of copyright laws.

Unknown to me right away is why some words stir my imagination. It could be a person’s comments, or watching the sunset, or something that I have tried to ignore—there are several of those. I simply listen to the voices in my head and write. It’s like putting together pieces of a puzzle. You won’t know where they fit right away. Patience and determination helps here.

In time, my protagonist steps to center stage and fights for his or her place in the story. Of course, you must take into consideration the premises of your story—that is unless it turns into a stronger premises. This is sensual for me because at this point my Muse has taken over. It is amazing!

Real memories become a part of fiction. I remember being at the beach wading bare foot in the water’s edge. Forever with me are the beautiful, flagrant flowers around Grandma’s front yard. They warmed my heart and created the foundation for a young, active mind. I remember attending an opera with a friend who wore white cotton socks with high heel shoes. I appreciated her independent soul. Most of all, I cannot forget the time a boyfriend tried to choke me to death when I caught him in several lies. The circles in my mind are like ripples in a stream that reach throughout life’s journey.

Then you begin to understand why your protagonist fits so well—you have seen him or her before. The good and bad circumstances fall into place. Is the bad redeemable? Therein lays the needed friction—elements sliding against each other. Step outside of your story and “see” if this bad person is redeemable in real life and in fiction. To be true to your story, you must take into consideration your own background; otherwise, it will read too scripted. That is when it gets hard…my Grandmother would have said, etc., etc. Well, maybe not. It could produce the opposite picture you need to bring out the “bad” character. Most importantly, the ending must be a mixture of real life and fantasy.

After three or four edits, and at the end of your final manuscript, you read your baby. But wait. Put it aside for several weeks and in the quiet of the evening (or morning whichever is best for you), read it to its completion. You will think, Wow! The emotion is almost orgasmic! Unless I miss my guess, you will say, “Who wrote this?” Then you will understand you are a serious writer.

~~~ 0 ~~~

Minnie Estelle Miller