Sunday, January 13, 2013

Capturing the Mood

Darkness.  Silence.  They're sometimes the best of friends.

She was out there somewhere, laying low, hiding in the shadows.  I peered around each corner, expecting her to jump out at me, but I should've known that wasn't her style.

In this setting, each footfall seemed to be a sound that could awaken the dead.  And when I bumped the kitchen counter by accident, I felt as though the echo would never die.  I cursed my own stupidity even as I redoubled my efforts in the search.  Knowing that her eyes were on me from the night, I began to wonder just who was stalking who.

A shuffling, a clattering, a stifled laugh nearby.

"You'll never find me," she said in a hollow voice.

Spinning my head, I focused on the table.  Had her voice come from under there?  Or had she merely made me think so in order to throw me off the trail?  I'd never know unless I checked, so I crept to the dining room table.

Inch.  By.  Inch.

Although my eyes had adjusted to the lack of light, they'd never be good enough to provide me full night vision.  She could be lurking within a few feet and I wouldn't know it unless I tripped over her.

Sleep had begun to elude me recently as the Muse played her games.  That lack of sleep created blind spots in my vision that made locating her even more difficult.  How long would she play these games?  I could go to bed and hope she'd be easier to find in the morning, but I realized that might sever my link to her completely, and I still needed her to finish my book.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash.  That might've been her.  Of course, it also might've been my exhaustion presenting itself.

When I felt her hand on my shoulder, I nearly jumped out of my skin.  Relieved, I turned to grab her and take her back upstairs, but she'd gone again.

What a pain in the ass, I thought.

Then I heard her.  The sound was microscopic, no bigger than that of a mouse against a wooden floor, but it was enough.  Pretending to circle back around the stairs, I slipped to the floor and crawled to the entertainment center.  There she was, peeking around the corner and trying to find me.  It felt good to get the drop on her for a change, so I reached out and grabbed her by the ankle...

...and this time she was the one to nearly jump out of her skin.

"Dammit," she complained, "you're going to give this old biddy a heart attack."

"If only I could be so lucky," I muttered.  Moving my hands up her thigh to her waist so I could get a firmer grip, I continued, "This has got to stop.  1500 more words - that's it.  Help me set the scene for the battle.  I need it to be heart stopping if I'm going to get the reader to turn the pages without realizing it."

I sensed she still wanted to fight, so she shocked me when the information came out without more of a fuss.  "Shift the points of view," she said.  "Don't let the reader get too comfy with any one character.  If they care about more than one, you'll get them turning just to find out how it ends up for each."

Standing up, I said, "Was that really so hard?"

"No," she said with a wink, "but it sure was fun."

Letting out a sigh that almost made my back give out, I trudged back upstairs to finish for the evening.  I realized in my haste that I hadn't chained her and might have to go through this ritual again tomorrow night, but a small part inside me also thought that was half the fun...

...but only a small part.

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