I am having a tough time with my #muse lately, so I thought I’d share a little game I play to get in the creative flow again I call ‘#Musings’. LONG thread ahead. #writingtip #amwriting #writing #writingcommunity
First, let me say I’m sure someone else has thought of this tool, or a variation of it. I just started doing this one day when I was trying to tap into my muse again and it worked! So if you’ve been doing something similar, let me know.
Okay, now the crux of the game. You’re going to take a book/tv show/movie and either re-write it or write what happens next. Here are the rules that I play by:
Rule 1) You have to use a book/show/movie you LOVE. It can’t be one you hate or hated the ending of. Using something you love will keep you in positive mindset/energy that will help your creativity to flow.
Rule 2) You are allowed to go as crazy as you fucking want when coming up with ideas. Think it’s too out there? Think again! The purpose of the game is get your muse moving, so let the ideas flow.
Rule 3) You can change your mind & go in diff directions, BUT don’t get too bogged down in details/research. Think of this like a maze ur working thru – keep following an idea thread until u get stuck, then backtrack and go somewhere new.
Rule 4) Obviously, the purpose is not to steal someone’s story and write it as your own. This is just a fun creative tool so treat it as such.
Now the game! I’m using Sanditon as an example, specifically what might happen in Season 2. I’ll give an example later on of how I might play while reading a book, but the essentials are the same.
Obvs there has been a lot of talk abt Sanditon season 2 & 3 since the renewal and the announcement that Sidney Parker (aka Theo James) wouldn’t be returning. I have a lot of thoughts about this, but…
…for now I’ll just say that my musings abt the next season include him. As Jane Austen had originally even titled this unfinished work “The Brothers” at one point, I think he needs to be included (even if recast).
So, first a quick recap of the season 1 finale – SPOILERS AHEAD!
When we last left Charlotte Heywood, she’d left Sanditon, and had a tearful goodbye with Sidney, who’s basically marrying his rich ex for $. The $ would then be used by Sidney’s bro Tom to rebuild part of the town lost in a fire.
There are tons of other side characters, and some of them I’ll mention as I play the game. So, how do I start? Well, I start right at the end. Charlotte is leaving Sanditon in a carriage. And then what happens to her????
I propose S2 pick up a week or so after that scene. Mary (Tom’s wife) comes running into town brandishing a letter & finds her hubs Tom, Sidney, and Young Stringer (p.s., can we give him a 1st name already! Both he and Babington need it).
Tom Parker runs to her – “Mary what’s wrong?” “It’s Charlotte, she’s missing!” *gasp* Mary’s had a letter from Charlotte’s mother who says she never arrived home after leaving Sanditon.
The letter goes on to say Charlotte’s father traced her as far as London but had to return home for an emergency (maybe one of the tenants?) and begs the Parker’s help (Tom and Sidney) to find her.
Charlotte was last seen near an inn where her carriage stopped to change horses, being forced by a man into another carriage!
Now, you may be thinking – that whole ‘kidnapped’ storyline was so season 1! But remember Rule 2! No idea is silly as we play the game, so let’s keep moving.
And then what happens? Well, Sidney is distraught. He’d imagined her going home and living a relatively happy life. But he still loves her so he must find her! Tom, who thinks of her as part of the family, says he will go as well.
Young Stringer (who is in love with Charlotte, though she only ever saw him as a friend #friendzoned) says he will go too. He has contacts in London who may be able to help (aka the man who’d offered him a job).
Sidney doesn’t like that (even though he has ZERO claim to Charlotte and Stringer may make a good match for her) so he and Stringer argue.
Tom mediates and states that Stringer must stay in Sanditon to oversee reconstruction, but to reach out to his contacts for assistance and ask them to contact the brothers at their London home.
Stringer initially agrees but goes to London anyway. It’s Charlotte, ffs, the woman he loves!
Now, my muse is getting into this, so I could add a lot more to the Charlotte/Sidney/Stringer story (maybe I’ll put that up on my blog for fun), but for now I’ll do some quick notes abt what happens thru the season.
Charlotte wasn’t kidnapped! Lady Susan, also changing horses in the same spot, sees her and says “You must not give up on love! Come back to London with me.”
Char initially disagrees, but Lady S assures her she can send her parents a note as soon as they arrive, which she does but for some reason doesn’t arrive promptly #conflict #drama
One of the men with Lady S escorts her into the carriage and Char goes reluctantly. This story gets embellished when Char’s father and the Parker bros come around asking questions.
From here, the Parker bros go to London but have little luck until they attend a party and see Char there as Lady S’s guest. You can imagine how angry Sidney would be at first and the talking back Char would give him.
“I am no longer your concern, *Mr.* Parker. You made that quite clear. I am sorry to have worried you or Tom or Mary. Indeed, I’ve already sent Mary a note letting her know I’m fine.”
“How did you know we were looking for you?” “Oh, Mr. Stringer let me know how worried everyone was when I saw him earlier today.”
OOOH! That’s right, Stringer found her first. *sassily snaps fingers* Stringer asked better questions at the horse changing station and they had a sweet reunion and maybe even hugged! #scandalous
So this season sees Char in London while Lady S sets her up with various people, Sidney trying to block her while also planning his wedding to another woman (who, p.s., left him years ago to marry someone richer herself).
Okay, I’ll get back to Charlotte/Sidney/Stringer later, but let me share the fates of some of our fave side characters first.
Tom Parker – so idealistic and such a poor manager of money and business (and a shitty leader). This season sees him really become better at all of these and gain the respect of the workers. He also stands up to Lady Denham.
Mary Parker – starts helping out more in the business and her keen mind is a benefit that helps Tom. Though they initially fight about it, she stands up for herself and he learns (again) he’d be lost without her.
Esther Denham and Babington. They were my FAVE couple from S1 (yes, I said it). Sidney is nice and all, but Babington/Babbers is my idea of a dream guy. Here’s why…
Babbers (again, we need a 1st name!) pursues Esther but stops when she says no. He LISTENS to her even if he doesn’t agree with her. I mean…yeah.
Not only that, but when he realizes the toxic force her brother Edward really is, he goes back to see if she’s okay and offer her help. I mean…hell, yeah.
Even when he finally learns the true nature of Esther’s trauma, he doesn’t leave her. He’s there for her, he supports her. I cannot find a man in the modern world who will treat me or my trauma kindly, but Babbers does.
Even when Esther says she doesn’t love him, he understands. “It’s enough that you like and respect me.” Seriously, who else didn’t swoon when he said “Dear girl, don’t you know I’m in love with you?”
But more than Babbers is how badass Esther is. She’s been abused and traumatized by her bro for years, yet she still doesn’t put up with shit from anyone, even at time from her aunt, the incomparable Lady Denham.
The “Esther takes the Reins” scene in Ep 8 is one of my fave of the WHOLE S1 (and the music from that scene is also my fave of the soundtrack). It’s Esther finally taking control of her future and I absolutely love it.
So here’s a Babbers/Esther story for S2. Babbers comes home after a few days away on business. As he enters the sitting room, his face lighting up as he sees Esther, he ducks as a vase is hurled towards him.
“This is all your fault!” Esther yells, then chucks something else at him. “What is it? What did I do?” Babbers has no idea.
Esther collapses into a chair and starts crying, then hates herself for crying. “I’m with child! This is all your fault!”
Babbers is delighted and rushes over to her. “Esther, that’s wonderful. Are you not happy?” “Yes and no. I’m terrified, if I’m honest. What kind of mother will I be?” “A marvelous one, my dear.” He kisses her. *SIGH*
So Esther is trying to come to terms with being a mother, while also still being a badass. Babbers is trying to keep her piece of shit bro out their lives while preparing for fatherhood. Imagine the fun storylines!
Now to Diana Parker – I wish they’d given her more time and depth in S1. She has so much fear of relationships and I’d like to see that uncovered in S2. For example…
Maybe she runs across Charlotte in London and Char starts directing suitors her way, and one of them really fancies her! He turns out to be a cad, and she retreats back into her shell, but another man comes along that’s perfect for her.
Arthur Parker – I have a really fun idea for him – he and Georgiana Lambe (the West Indies heiress) get together! I know what you’re thinking…
He said he wasn’t interested in her in S1, and here’s how it would happen…
Miss Lambe recovers from her heartbreak of S1 and starts spending more time with Arthur as friends. As she goes from ball to ball in London, they often seek each other out as friendly faces in the crowd.
Eventually Miss Lambe comes to realize that she may have had passion with her ex, but she didn’t have a future with him. Arthur though would always care for her and be kind to her, and he could be a true (if sometimes silly) partner to her.
Lady Denham – I saved her for last-ish b/c she’s involved with a LOT of characters. She’ll spend the whole season giving Esther advice abt the baby and driving her crazy (if Babber’s mom is alive she’ll have her 2 cents too and she’ll argue with Lady D abt it).
Lady D will also continue to argue with Tom abt Sanditon, but Tom and Mary will stand up to her. In fact/fiction…
Lady D will die! This sends all of Sanditon into a tailspin. Without her funds, Tom and Mary are in trouble, and Sidney hasn’t married the rich bitch yet so they decide to speed up the wedding.
But wait! Georgiana has MORE money than rich bitch, and she decides to marry Arthur and save the town ONLY IF she can become mayor/decider/ruler over Sanditon and oversee it all.
THAT’S RIGHT! Georgiana effectively becomes the new Lady D without the title and all the power. And you can imagine how well that will go over!
S3 could then be her taking over and all the conflict that will bring to the Parkers, esp since she is now Arthur’s wife!
But wait, you say! If Sanditon is saved by Georgiana, then Sidney doesn’t need to marry rich bitch – you’re right! But Sidney is a decent man; he won’t jilt rich bitch so she jilts him AGAIN for someone else. GOODBYE BITCH.
But, just as Sidney finds Charlotte to profess his love and ask for her hand in marriage, he stumbles on someone else proposing to her! Is it Stringer? Is it another man she met in London? My muse hasn’t decided yet…
But how fun will it be to revisit this when I play the game again???
Now you can also play this game in the middle of a book or movie or whatever. Just stop reading and imagine where the story might go from that exact point. Think every crazy scenario you want, then read on.
I do this a lot (even with books I’m re-reading or movies I’m re-watching). It’s just a fun way to enjoy something I love even more.
Example of this with Pride & Prejudice – Elizabeth’s going on a trip with the Gardiners (maybe stopping in London along the way), and at this point it’s likely Darcy’s in London with his sister and the Bingleys before they head to Pemberly.
What if Elizabeth and Darcy accidentally met in London? Or Darcy found out she was in London but avoided her (or vice versa). What would they feel? What might they say? And then what if they met again at Pemberly???
You should now be able to see how the game #Musings can help exercise your muse and your creativity, so the next time you sit down to your #WIP your mind may be more open to ideas and writing that next line or scene.
That’s it! Let me know what you think of the game and, if you’re a #Sanditon fan, let me know what you thought of my #musings.