How A-muse-ing

July 10th, 2008 • Kate

Maureen Johnson blogged earlier this week about muses, and how, despite classical literary evidence to the contrary, they’re not so helpful when you’re on deadline. Justine Larbalestier picked up the baton and added some thoughts of her own on the subject.
So what about you? Where do you stand in the debate?
While I do believe some ideas can come to a writer in a muse-like flash of inspiration, that’s the easy part. Writing them down, perfecting the words, polishing the story — that’s the tough work, and our flighty little Greek goddesses usually aren’t around for that.

Filed Under: Slushpile


4 Responses to “How A-muse-ing”

  1. Trish Says:

    I have flashes of inspiration from time to time, but if I waited for the muse, I'm pretty sure I'd still be working on my first draft of MY WAY.

  2. slf Says:

    *Something* possessed me when I wrote my novel – I don't know if it was a muse or not. Felt more like a sumo wrestler to me, as the first draft was beaten out of me in six weeks. After that, to paraphrase Marion Zimmer Bradley, it was "applying seat of pants firmly to seat of chair."

  3. Julia Says:

    Two of my novels were written in less than 30 days (first drafts only.) But neither had anything to do with my darned muse who took a powder years ago.
    Oh, occasionally she (Ms. Mooze) drops me an idea via dreams or out-of-the-blue mind farts – but she never takes keyboard in hand to help finish it. She's rather like The Little Red Hen's friends, who can't be bothered to help with bread-baking but want to eat the results.
    Back to those two novels – one was the result of a Write-Your-Novel-In-30-Days workshop I attended. Taking the presenter's advice, I told everyone I knew (particularly those people who would gloat if I failed) that I was writing a book in 30 days. That is some serious fuel for keeping butt-in-chair.
    Book #2 was a NaNoWriMo book. Although I'd done NaNo before, I'd never completed it. With the success of getting book #1 finished – I was fired up for book two. And handily completed the 1st draft.
    With no muse present, I was forced to keep my butt-in-chair and crank out at least 1,667 words a day. (That's how many it takes to write 50K in one month.) I kept a calendar, crossing off those completed days, and that's a really good feeling! I didn't always know where my stories were going, but writing through the unknown, I eventually got where I was going.
    I would thumb my nose at my muse – but I do expect her to show up for random inspired ideas. I just know that it will be my job to write down the stories.

  4. Josie Bloss Says:

    I agree that flashes of inspiration for new ideas can definitely seem muse-ical (heh), but they totally don't stay around for the hard work.
    Actually, for me, they sort of do…except instead of helping they're whispering ideas for other stories that seem much more interesting than the one I'm committed to finishing.
    Muses are kind of obnoxious, now that I think about it.