What to do when you have no idea what to write

Make the muse sing

Writing method: Computer only

Word count: 983

...start writing, something, anything.

But it's never that easy, right? At least it doesn't feel that way.

Let me tell you that it is.

That was the situation this morning. I was pressed for time due to multiple factors: adjusting to working on my now 13-year-old MacBook Pro (which still works like... a pro!), an early morning committment with my wife and in-laws, lunch and a hot summer drive around in my un-air conditioned junk car. If I was going to bust my now 42-day writing streak, today would have been the day.

I just completed a major narrative arc in my supernatural horror novel "Gates of Okinawa" and I had no fucking clue where to go next. All I knew was I wanted to focus on the antagonist for a little bit.

So I just kinda, wrote. Then wrote more and more. By the time I had to drop the project to get on with the day's mandatory activities, I had a somewhat interesting chapter three-quarters done.

Was I suffering from writer's block?

Not really. But I re-internalized the lesson learned from reading Stephen King's On Writing:

The muse doesn't wait.

You've gotta call him out by sitting your ass in the chair and getting to work. Only then will he reveal his secrets.

Today's chapter

We return to the antagonist demon king's perspective (possibly for the last time).

In this one, I wanted to show a glimpse of the Ancient Land from his eyes, and contrast it with our modern times. The result was a scene greatly inspired by my current fiction read House of Leaves. One continuous run-on sentence that feeds the feeling of overwhelm that one must experience when they're out of time and their natural element.

This setences are wind-crushers. Even reading them silently, they bring on a sense of breathlessness akin to sprinting a distance longer than is comfortable (if you've ever seriously run 800 meters for time, you know the feeling).

I wanted the reader to feel that here.

The second half brings back Victor and Debora, the closest thing to comic-relief characters in the story. As a duo, they remind me of Team Rocket from the original Pokemon anime. Though they come off as menacing, they tend to be goofy, predictable, and harmless. Ultimately, I want the reader to feel pity for these two, who began as scheming troublemakers, skirting authority for grand ambition, but get caught up in circumstances bigger than anything they can imagine.

I think this is a relatable arc. It's all fun and games until someone gets turned into a demon and damned for eternity.

This chapter served as a perfect bridge to introduce dual demons that are (probably) the most recognizeable in all of Okinawan lore. It also is the start of the climb to the climax of the story.

Get in for the ride.

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