Who’s Your Muse?

I have absolutely not given this any thought.
I have absolutely not given this any thought.

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.

Learn about how I write dialog HERE

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.

Read my story! READ IT!
Read my story! READ IT!

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.

See my ideas on how to write better stories HERE

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.

Me, museless.
Me, museless.

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.

Not a muse, probably.
Not a muse, probably.

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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Average looking? My mom doesn't think so.
Average looking? My mom doesn’t think so.

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.

10 thoughts on “Who’s Your Muse?

  1. Interesting. I always thought of the muse as the inspiration for creating something. In your case, I would have guessed Savvy was the muse for Savvy stories. Your interpretation of the muse is the person who will read it, like the ideal reader. I suppose both could be the muse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always thought the muse was the inspiration, too. It’s not wrong to say that. But it makes equal sense to argue that the muse is who we write for. It gives clarity of purpose. And without that, what is inspiration?

      Granted, it’s a kind of circular logic. If the writing isn’t complete without the “approval” of the muse, then surely the muse is inspiring the writing.

      But having in mind that particular “person” is a big key to a good story!

      Like

  2. A while back I heard that Stephen King always writes for his wife (don’t know if that’s true or not), but I didn’t realize it was a common thing for writers until recently. So I thought about it and discovered that I have a muse too–that one person I think about when writing and rely on for creative inspiration. I already knew this person’s opinion of each chapter I completed mattered to me . . . a lot, but I didn’t realize until then that I was actually writing for this person.

    My muse energizes me in a way I can’t explain, and my muse makes me challenge myself to be more daring and adventurous in my writing. Looking over my WIP, my best scenes are the result of my muse’s influence, either directly or indirectly.

    There are times when my muse messes with my head, so maybe it’s a common characteristic. And you’re right, it’s probably unintentional . . . at least I hope it is. When things are off, and I don’t feel connected to my muse, my writing suffers.

    I’m not convinced our muses can be easily replaced though, since we didn’t consciously choose them in the first place. Maybe we just need to give them a gentle nudge and tell them to straighten up so we can do our jobs and write great stories . . . inspired by them, of course.

    So, who is my muse? Sorry, that’s classified, but I may tell him some day if he doesn’t figure it out on his own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I heard that about Stephen King, too. I should probably say my muse is my wife – that’s smart politics!

      I completely agree about how a muse can mess with you. It would have to be unintentional, too, or it would quickly become tiring and we’d move on. And while a muse isn’t easy to replace, there are certainly different muses for different stories. Insofar as a muse is an actual person, we know people change and they like different things. One might enjoy comedies but maybe not dramas. Writing with the comedy enjoyer in mind when doing a drama would be a disaster.

      For example, if I were to write a story based around a cop, I’d have a critique partner who I’d have in mind as needing to “approve” of the scenes as they went. He’s a former law enforcement person, and he writes cop stories.

      Why does a muse inspire us at all?

      I believe it’s the undercurrent of what they give us. They believe in us. They tell us when something we’ve poured blood sweat and tears into is good. We respect them, and they respect us.

      When the writer crawls out of the hole and holds the work up to the light, where all can see it and lash out at it, the muse may have been the one who first said, “This is really good.”

      That’s pretty inspiring!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know what you mean. As soon as I thought of a muse in this way, I started to wonder who mine was for the various books. It came to me pretty quickly but it’s a tricky thing to figure out!

    And to be honest, the first few times I heard this “muse” idea, about writing to one person, I thought, well, that’s good for Stephen King or Kurt Vonnegut but that isn’t what I do. I was wrong, though. It was what I’d been doing.

    Like

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