Sunday, March 21, 2010

Muse-ic for the Soul

Yesterday, out of nowhere, I got an idea for a book. Even more amazingly, as I started sketching out my idea, it began fleshing itself out, giving me ways of connecting plotlines and characters. Whole conversations even started playing in my head, and my fingers were literally flying over the keyboard trying to keep up.

Now, my husband has been encouraging me to write a book for ages, but I have always been reticient. I started this blog as a little baby-step towards bringing writing into my life, but until now I have always struggled to build a whole book out of any idea I'd had. A book I'd want to read anyway.

I sat down last night and wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I hit a bit of a snag on my main characters occupation, I really liked it, but couldn't find a way to make it work with a plotline I wanted to follow later on. After obsessing over sleeping on it, I woke up this morning with a solution and have been re-writing since. I was sad to see my first part go, mainly because it was the first section I'd written, but also because it had some great dialouge. I'm hoping to use it elsewhere, but much happier overall with how the pieces fit now.

This whole thing has got me well, very excited actually, but also thinking about muses, inspiration and the writing process in general. I used to think that people were being vague and a bit 'airy-fairy' when I would hear them talk about the 'process' and 'letting a story reveal itself' and so on. The thought of a story wafting around in the ether, waiting to show itself to some unsuspecting writer seemed a bit daft to me. But the way this idea seemed to take on a life of its own has got me re-thinking that idea.

It's a little bit like what I have seen Elizabeth Gilbert talk about, as shown in the clip below - it's a bit lengthy, but well worth a look:

Did you watch it? No? Yeah, I tend to skip them too. Basically, she talks about how the ancient Romans believed that people themselves weren't geniuses (geni??), rather they had a genuis, sort of like this divine attendant spirit, visiting them and bestowing gifts of creativity and inspiration. Kind of what we call muses now. Or, as Elizabeth puts it, a bit like Dobby the House Elf.

I sort of get what she is talking about now. It certainly felt like this story was being fed to me, rather than dredged up from inside me.

It's funny really, all my life I have lived very much in my imagination, but only now am I realising that perhaps these daydreams might translate into something else. Perhaps they are my own little house elf's way of inspiring me. Either way, I think the obsessive side of my nature has come back to the fore. My Mum dropped in for a visit today just after hubby and GG had gone to the shops, and I was desperately trying to get down a description of a scene that had just come to me before I lost it. I "sshhh!!!"'d her and wouldn't let her speak to me til I'd got it down. Nice, huh?

Hmm... looks like some fun times for my family coming up!!!



  1. I'm envious...

    I get great ideas but can never flush them out into a whole story.

    Good luck..I hope the inspiration keeps flowing.

  2. So exciting! You rock!
    Add me to the Book premiere guest list please!

  3. Happy for you!!!! I so get the shhhh-ing people while an idea is brewing. Stick with it - if its being fed to you from 'some place else' it is meant to be xx

  4. You are my hero! My husband has been trying to get me to "write a book" as well. It's one thing to flesh out a story, but totally another thing to get the story together in the first place!
    I have a fairly good imagination, just no confidence.
    Keep us posted!

  5. ohhhh definately shhh away people and let the characters draw themselves out. From my experience, it's like characters are already there, somewhere deep within, with their own histories and personalities and futures, and you really know not much about them until you allow them time to pop out via that pen on paper or fingers on keyboard and then they develop right in front of you - give them a means for a voice, or a setting, and they will find their way out and amaze and amuse you. You'll be surprised with where they end up. Good luck xxx

  6. Nope, didn't watch the video. But have read her and love her. And sorta hate her too, cause I'm jealous of her mad skills.

    I've had ideas for books knocking around my brain, but sadly lack the time/ambition/patience/skill to free them.


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