Welcome to the Dragon's Pen, the blog of an aspiring kiwi author ... chatting about reading, writing, querying and publishing

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inspiring the Muse

Caution: Un-writerly types BEWARE.
This blog is about Muse. It may lead you think I am completely insane or cause your head to explode. I take no responsibility for either outcome. You have been warned.

Muse. What is it?
My answer to this question is that Muse is the inspiration and the magic that transforms an image, or a song, an idea or a word ... an anything into a concrete something else. Ie: a story plot, scene, character.

According to the online dictionary a Muse is: the spirit that is thought to inspire a poet or other artist; source of genius or inspiration.

Some people say their Muse has a form, a personality. They look to animals or mythical creatures - the unicorn seems to be especially popular - to bring their Muse to life. I don't know if I'd ever want to confine my Muse in that way, its like putting it in a box. Perhaps it's because it seems to me that my Muse changes or alters somewhat depending on the story it brings me.

What about you? Does your Muse have a form? A personality?

I find myself intrigued by the different ways a Muse can be inspired. Not every Muse finds inspiration in the same places or in the same way. Some people find music especially inspiring. Others are visually stimulated. Some find it in the things that happen around them, in what people do and say.

I'm very much a visual person when it comes to finding inspiration for my stories. Art. Photos. Movies. I find inspiration in all these things, especially in pictures.

Sometimes I'll see something and it'll just hit me. An experience not unlike being shot by Cupid's arrow. Other times, I might be writing about a forest or a wood and need some inspiration, so I'll troll though hundreds of pictures to find the one that captures the kind mood I want to invoke in my reader. (I love google!)

When I find it the Muse kicks in. I can see and smell and hear and feel that place. I'm there. It's real. And that's just what I need to insure I take my reader there too.

This is one that inspired one of my forest scenes:

I find this method especially helpful when building characters. I know who they are in my head and what they look like, more or less, but I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. I cannot give my characters shape apart from the words I use to conjure them and yet I can find something of them in the art of others.

This also works well when I've been away from my work for a while and I need to get in touch with my characters again, fast. A picture can pull me out of reality and back into that other place and time in a snap.

What about you? What gets your Muse going? Where do you find your inspiration?


  1. Actually my head's exploding trying to answer that question - what is my muse? Where do my ideas come from? I've never really thought about it. Lot's of smoke pouring out of my ears!
    I'll tell you when I have an answer.
    Thanks for a great, thought inducing post. Glad that you're well and truly back in the land of Blog.

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  3. Glad I helped get those cogs turning this morning. The smoke pouring out your ears is a worry though, maybe you should see a doctor.

  4. LOL! I was a little worried about the smoke pouring out of Sue's ears, too. I was also worried about my head exploding but then I forgot, you take no responsibility for such behaviour, and oh, I forgot this too - I am a writerly type! Haha!

    Like Sue, I haven't thought about it too much, I just write. Pictures inspire me I suppose, and I've tried music but sometimes it drives me barmy and other times I find it makes me very emotional so that my writing ends up too sentimental and a bit sappy. :)

    I think I find inspiration or my Muse from movies and other stories, from people I know, from my experience - I don't know if I'm answering this correctly. I have to really think about it some more. I do find images help and google is a fantastic source for this - images help invoke all the senses. Yes.

    It sure has got my cogs turning, too. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

  5. Thank you guys.

    No one's head has exploded yet? Phew!

    I was really worried I might give people the idea I'd really lost the plot (in a sane/insane rather than writing sense, of course)talking about the voices in my head and all that.

    Glad to know I'm not the only one followed around by an spirit that whispers in my ear and tells me stories. Lol! Now that does sound nuts.

    Happy Musing everyone.