Writers have an inner force that compels them to put thought to paper, or in most cases, to hack away on a keyboard. Typically, and whether we know it or not, we write to a person. A muse.
When I wrote Savvy Stories, I had a kind of compilation friend of mine from high school in my head – three people who I wanted to make sure enjoyed the book. When I wrote my cookbooks, I wrote for my family members, one or two in particular – the ones who’d get the jokes.
When I joined a critique group, I quickly found that I wanted to hear from lots of people, but after a while I really only wanted to hear from a few particular critiquers, and eventually just from one. If that one person didn’t critique my work, I felt bad. Until that person critiqued the chapter, I felt it wasn’t complete.
When I wrote The Navigators, I wanted to hear from three or four people, but that one in particular was the one that mattered most.
That person was my muse for that story. (And some others.)
It was never a conscious thing, but looking back I definitely had that going on.
For my current story, a comedy called Poggibonsi, that same person is still my main muse, but I want input from a second person, too. They bring different elements to the story. One understands humor better, the other understands romance better. Since Poggibonsi is a romantic comedy, that makes sense. Either could be the muse.
But really, just one is my muse.
I Have A Muse.
And as was the case with the Greek gods, your muse can mess with you. Mine messes with me. It’s probably unintentional, and if doesn’t stop I’ll have to move on and find another muse, not because of the muse, but because of me. A muse is a muse; it’s our ability to take what they give that creates the turmoil that becomes our story, the same way a grain of sand irritates an oyster and becomes a pearl. With enough irritation, the oyster creates two pearls – or dies. Or the writer become museless (a sad thought, because look at the word museless without the M) but that’s how it works.
Funny thing is, I didn’t really know I was doing this muse thing until I read about how all writers have one. I definitely had in my head those high school friends when writing Savvy Stories, and as I wrote each additional book in the series they kind of became one person in my head. A three headed high school friend I guess, like the Knights of Nee in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Now I’m down to one, more or less.
And when Poggi is finished, I’ll definitely have just one.
My muse causes me to write better, and with more energy.
My muse causes me to rethink my writing.
My muse will cause me to wish I didn’t have a muse.
But I do. I have a muse.
Who’s your muse?
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi” – yeah, we know. We’re trying to convince him to change that title – check out his other works here http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1425128559&sr=1-1 and check back often for interesting stuff.