Tag: the Muse

What’s Your Reason for Writing?

Do you know why you write?  Is to inform, entertain, educate, clarify? Is it “just because”? Because you can’t imagine not writing?

Because you like to tell stories? Because you see things in your mind and they’re so fantastic that you want to share them with someone?

Because your characters make you? Because your Muse is a tyrant and won’t let you sleep until you have words on the page?

Because you believe in magic? Because you believe in God? Because you believe in both? Because you want to tell someone something?

Because you’re a writer, and writers write?

Why do you write?

What’s the Weirdest Thing to Ever Inspire You to Write?

Inquiring minds want to know.

I’m not sure I have anything weird to contribute to this. I mean, I’ve never been struck by a bolt from the blue. Or had the idea fairy tap me with her glittery magic wand. Or had a clown frolic up to me with the fragments of an idea floating around his head (thank goodness!).

For me, it’s like the Muse is a child playing with blocks. She’s playing with this one random block, sometimes for a long time, then she suddenly finds this other block and starts banging them together. Suddenly and without warning, she smacks the blocks together a certain way, and they fit together like Tetris. I can almost hear the “click” when that happens. And unrelated ideas suddenly become one.

That happened a couple of weeks ago, when I started working on my British Lit final, and I chose to re-write a scene from Morte Darthur in Guinevere’s POV. I’ve always wondered how she became involved with her husband’s best friend, and this was an opportunity to explore that. Except the Muse decided it was also a good opportunity to come up with a new story idea. Guinevere! King Arthur as a bad guy! Maybe some time travel and paranormal events!

Really, Muse? I mean, I already have two separate partially-done story ideas in progress. You decided I need another one rattling around in there? And the answer to that question is….YES.

So, I guess I do have a weird thing that inspires me to write:  a tiny fairy in a purple tutu that lives in my head and forces her ideas of what I need to be writing on me at random moments. That really puts everything into perspective. I think I need to go lay down…

Writing Inspiration: What Do You Use?

I’m not an expert or anything–well, I’ve been writing for around 15 years, so a semi-expert?–but I do have a few tips for when you need writing inspiration. Give them a try if you’re stuck, hopefully they’ll work for you.

Music. For me, it requires music without lyrics, so I don’t get distracted (although sometimes Enya works). YouTube is a good place to find new things that fit whatever you’re working on. If you go to the Music page, you can find songs grouped by genres, themes, or or even seasons. This could be really useful if you need a soundtrack to get in the heads of your character. (And I really have to start using music when I write again. Duh…).  Warning:  YouTube is distracting, so you can end up watching tutorials on obscure or impossible subjects if you’re not careful, eating your writing time.

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Pictures. Specifically, pictures of beautiful, magical places (if you’re wondering what to write about), or pictures of the place you’re writing about (if you already know). For Chasing Shadows, my story set in New Orleans, I looked at tons of pictures from the city. I also–since I lived nearby at the time–visited the areas I was writing about (Yeah, I know that sounds like a convenient excuse to spend time in the Big Easy. It was. Perhaps that book needs editing…). Pinterest is a good place to find awesome, inspiring pictures. I have several boards for this. Warning:  Pinterest can EAT YOUR LIFE, so you might want to set a timer or something to make sure you escape alive.

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Pay attention. Seriously. If you’re paying attention, you can find inspiration in the tiniest, most random things. My Muse loves to grab meaningless fragments and put them together. I can almost hear an audible click when this happens, and I know there’s a story idea brewing. This happened just a couple of weeks ago, working on my final essay for British Lit. I chose to re-write a scene from Morte Darthur from Guinevere’s POV. Boom! My Muse said “Hey wait, I’ve got an idea!” and suddenly my WIP isn’t quite enough to keep her occupied anymore, because she has a shiny new idea. (That will get written, I promise.) Just pay attention. Inspiration is like lightning. It strikes randomly.

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Any suggestions for getting or staying inspired?  I’d love to hear them!

Things I Learned from NaNo (just not this year)

I may not be participating in NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty of some of the things I learned over the years I did participate (I feel pretty ancient after that statement).  Sure, it’s a crazy frenzy of pouring thousands of words straight from your heart to the page (or the screen), but that doesn’t mean it’s all impulse.  Here are a few of the things I learned from NaNo.

1)  Have a plan.  This doesn’t mean you have to have a detailed line-per-scene outline complete with character names, descriptions, and complete family history going back ten generations, but it should probably be more than “Write about apples.”  (Why apples?  I don’t know.  That’s what popped into my head.  Thanks, Muse.  Such a smart-Alec.)  My personal favorite is a brief 2-3 sentence synopsis of the major scenes, plus a mention of anything that pertains to that scene that the Muse might give me (Like, “It would be really funny if the story opened with her tripping and almost falling into the casket in the middle of the funeral.  Flashing the audience would be great, too.”  Again, thanks, Muse.  True story.).

2)  Have goals.  Goals are pretty important in writing, I’ve found.  How else are you going to write 50,000 in 30 days if you don’t know that you need to hit 1,667 words per day?  Word count goals no longer work for me (at least not currently).  Now I go with pages.  My goal may be a paltry 2 pages per week right now, but it’s a goal.  (Don’t judge me.  I have a lot going on, and my days only have 24 hours in them.).

3)  Have friends.  By “friends” I mean “fellow writers you can talk to.”  Trust me, non-writers do not get it.  Just because I’m a writer does not make me a poet.  Or a biographer.  (The two most common “You should write–” suggestions I get.  Why would I want to write about your life?  Yes, you’ve done some stupid things, but it’s really better if we don’t publicize them…).  If you hit the wall while writing, writing friends are a helpful support group, always available for hand-holding, pep talks, and/or moving the bottle out of your reach.

So, there you go.  A few helpful tips   Now, back to your keyboards!  Those 1,667 words aren’t going to write themselves (probably).  I’m off to work on my plan (since the Muse hasn’t seen fit to grace me with one for The Fall yet…).

Playing with the Muse

Despite the stresses of this week–my aunt was just diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my best friends had brain surgery today–I managed to finish the revision outline for the werewolf story.  It’s not very in-depth, only six pages long, but I think it will help me get organized to actually finish the revision (FINALLY).  I’m hoping so, anyway.

I wrote for 20 minutes or so yesterday on The Fall.  Only got a few hundred words or so, but that’s better than nothing.  Even better, I have an idea for part of the plot.  Well.  Kind of.  I think maybe it’s going to be super-important to the plot…but I could be wrong.  It has to do with an up-’til-now-unseen character that disappeared six months before.  I think I know WHY he disappeared…where he went…and even more importantly, how it ties into the larger story arc.  And here I thought he was just the used-to-be best friend.  Who knew?  My Muse, apparently….

I love the mystery and the surprises in writing.  It’s what makes the whole thing truly worthwhile and beautiful.  I love when the little things all come together and something clicks inside my head and it all makes sense.  (I just wish real life could make sense like that.)  I love when a tiny detail you thought wasn’t important turns out to be the key to everything.  I love writing.  I love creating.