Mark Terry

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Seducing the Muse

October 17, 2007

PJ Parrish has an amusing post today about her various muses:

"I don't have just one muse. I've figured out I have a couple who specialize in particular parts of my writing. And they never come around when I am at the computer. Never get a whiff of them when I am actually in writing mode itself. They are like cats. They only come around on their own terms."
I note that I seem to have three muses. They are:
Tommy the Terse.
Yes, Tommy the Terse doesn't have much to say. He tends to show up somewhere around page 100 of a manuscript and stick around until page 250 or so, sometimes longer. He's rather grudging in his inspiration, although very valuable. Sometimes I have to corner Tommy and bribe, blackmail or threaten him into coughing up some inspiration. I sometimes do this by consciously telling Tommy, "Okay, I've got a problem here, I need some solutions." Then I go for a walk or sleep on it. Tommy generally comes through, but like I said, Tommy's, well, terse. A man of few words.
Larry the Loquacious.
Larry the Loquacious is a little too present and too likely to share inspiration. Unlike Tommy, whose advice comes like kidney stones, Larry won't shut the fuck up. He's very valuable at the beginning of a project. At the beginning of project, Larry's always there with a million and one great ideas, then he makes himself almost totally scarce around page 100. Luckily Tommy tends to come back toward the end of the books. The other problem with Larry is he often pops up in the middle of a project with a lot of great ideas--for other books. He's really around in between projects, too, suggesting way too many great ideas. Which explains why I'm working on two projects simultaneously--one during the day and one in the evenings--and why I put together a proposal for a fifth Derek Stillwater novel and why why I have the first two or three chapters of two or three other novels on my laptop: Larry won't shut the fuck up.
I told PJ that my third muse was named Bobby the Bill Collector, but I was corrected a short time later. His name is Bruno the Bill Collector and it's his photograph up there at the top of this blog entry. Bruno and I have a problem. Bruno can be a hell of a motivator. The problem is, Bruno doesn't particularly care what project I work on and he'll give me plenty of inspiration for the project--as long as there's money involved. Bruno and Tommy and Larry don't get along terribly well. It might be a union deal or just bad blood. The other thing about Bruno that can cause a problem is he favors blunt instruments as a means of motivation. Sometimes Bruno gets a little over-enthusiastic with his use of blunt instruments and damn near paralyzes me. Bruno's perfectly capable of grabbing me by the scruff of my neck, dragging me away from something I'm happily working on and setting me down in front of some other project that pays better and tapping his sap to my forehead, snarling, "Work on this one, motherfucker."
So, how about you?
Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

Yes, I have a Bruno! He keeps me going when I'm afraid that what I'm writing sucks, or when I'd just rather be lazy. I really don't know what I'd do without him.

Otherwise, I can generally write words and sentences well OR I can putt-putt out snippets of scenes that I have to clean up when a word-day comes along.

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

When I mention fiction to Bruno he just smiles, and it isn't a nice smile.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Scary smile. I know.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Aimless Writer said...

I think I need a muse...
lately he has been scared away by pain and frustration.

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