That old Muse of Mine by Darry Fraser
When I call Her up, it’s usually because I’m so stuck with plot, character, etc that I throw my hands in the air. I’m exhausting my circle of friends who know I’m a writer and I live amongst HEAs and HFNs and all manner of nasty things besides. Explaining a plot to them is sometimes, well, awkward.
My Muse strikes when I’m challenged by a word count, or a subject that’s presented to me to write, or a problem. Other times, it might be a remnant of a dream, or a chance few words of a conversation overheard somewhere, or perhaps a look in someone’s eye.
For my Australian historical which is undergoing major edits and research, my Muse has lurked and drawn me back time and again to the dusty mallee in northern Victoria where I spent five years of my childhood on the River Murray. Those years gave me a great love for the outback beyond, the dry heat and the wide, wide river, the winding dusty tracks. She’s helped me carry that story since then to the present day, and it’s now a tome of 105,000 words. It’s a romance, a story of displacement, human spirit and of course, love, in a century that was perhaps its toughest for the Australian colonies. I’m in love with it all over again as I polish and groan, and polish and groan some more. It will find a home; I’m ever hopeful.
For my current contemporary, I’d wondered about the Marriage of Convenience trope for a long time. How would two modern, real people approach it, especially if their romance was just budding before the idea of a business contract of marriage was put to them? As there are also arranged marriages – not happy ending ones – in my ancestry, I wanted to explore the idea. This current WIP is also hopeful of publishing; its first 500 words got a great rap from Laurie Johnson, Harlequin – SoYouThinkYouCanWrite.
Mind you, I have yet to submit either manuscript.
The MoC trope caused a major stumbling block. For weeks it languished in its own naughty corner refusing to cooperate. Bring on the Muse! The solution was obvious, right there in the story itself but I couldn’t see it until I woke with the Aha! moment (my friends still don’t get it). But She has yet to work her magic and give me the plausibility it needs. I’ll sleep on it.
One thing I’ve learned along the way…I’m in apprentice-mode. I’m learning all the time, from my peers on Facebook lists, my writers groups, my crit partners. I will never stop learning. And if somewhere along the way, I get to be well known, and my stories loved, then I’m truly grateful and can’t ask for much more.
I blog very rarely – what am I going to say? – I’m a Twitter twit, I Facebook regularly and love it.