I've heard a lot of authors talk about their muse before, but I've never given the idea of a muse much thought. Today I've given it a whole lot of thought - thank you, Randy Brown - and here are a few things I've come up with.
First of all, I've never tried to explain my writing process before. Truthfully, it's not the easiest thing I've ever been asked to do. I don't quite understand the whole thing myself. I think it's part magic if you want my honest opinion. Some strange - and let's face it, questionable - stuff happens inside my head. Where does it come from? Why is it there? Am I a genius or freakin' insane? Who the hell knows? I'd be willing to go more toward the insane side. Genius seems like a stretch to me, but I'll let you be the judge.
I've come up with three ideas on this whole muse concept. Grab on to something and hold on tight, folks. I'm not sure where this crazy train is going or how long the ride might be.
I'm my own muse
I talk to myself. I talk to myself a lot. It's not usually out loud, but that happens sometimes, too. People who spend the most time with me have stopped commenting on it. For all I know, they don't even notice it anymore. I go back and forth with my mental counterpart. She comes up with some pretty great ideas sometimes, and I've learned to listen when she starts talking. She's certifiable, but she's absolutely hilarious, too. She's the part of me very few people really know. I don't let her out much. She's a fun - if not somewhat mentally unstable - kind of girl.
Each one of my characters takes turns in being my muse
I know this is absolutely true. I've also found that some characters are louder and pushier than others. Cheney McGillivray from The Gannon Family series ... man, that woman is persistent. She talks in a thick, Scottish brogue, too. She's damn hard to ignore. She's also one of my all time favorite characters. She's been quiet since I finished A Skye Full of Stars. The next (and final) book in the series starts out years before she was born. Knowing Cheney, though, that won't stop her from telling me what I should write.
Lately, Archer and Frankie have been the voices in my head. They've been helping me tell their stories. Especially Archer. I've got a vague idea, but he's been leading this parade. That's what happens when you write about a Greek god I guess. They decide to take over.
I get very attached to my characters. I build their framework, but they grow and become more complex and more real over time. If you yourself aren't a writer, this will probably make no sense to you, but when I'm lucky, my characters kind of take over the story. I just run after them and write what they tell me to. Good writing days consist of me following along. I absolutely love it when that happens.
The unknown muse - or "Where in the hell did that come from?!?!"
Yep. This one visits a lot. I often times wake up with an idea that demands attention right that very second. I have no idea what this muse looks like, or who or what it is, but if it has hands, it rubs them together in a devious fashion while saying, "How about that? Let's see what you do with that little nugget."
A Color of Thunder started that way. It was an idea I woke up with - just this tiny little seed, and now it's a published book of nearly 100,000 words.
This muse delivered the endings to each and every one of my other books, as well. I got up, ran to the computer and typed them out before I was even fully awake. What I wrote may not have made sense to me at the time, but I knew that's how those stories had to end. Someone dies in A Skye Full of Stars. I didn't even know it until I woke up with the last page written in my head. The fun part was then to figure out how this character comes to his/her demise. It's a little diabolical, I'll admit. It's also a whole lot of fun.
I don't understand this particular muse. I'm not sure I want to. It scares me a little. I'm also grateful as hell for it. It's come up with some zany stuff. There is a character in Brides, Beasts & Baklava. His name is Lou. I have no idea where this guy came from. He just showed up one day. He's the most unbelievable, most outlandish thing my brain has ever come up with - and I love him. Oh, just you wait. Lou is unforgettable.
So, did I overthink this topic? Probably. I'm trying really hard not to that so much, but it almost felt necessary with this post.
The train has now come to a stop. We are at our destination. I hope the ride was somewhat enjoyable.