Whilst working on my debut novel Caught Inside, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to get up close and personal with my muse. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever spent so much one-to-one time with anyone before without them driving me completely insane. Then again, perhaps I’m already insane by now and so can’t tell the difference. Ah well. Here are five things I’ve learned about my muse: the good, the bad, and the downright irritating . . .
- My muse and I are similar in many ways, but very different in others. Like me, he has a passion for sexy young men, fictional as well as in the flesh; is a total geek when it comes to crosswords and TV quiz shows, and has a weakness for desserts, particularly anything involving cream. Unlike me, he thrives on drama and emotional conflict. Betrayal, deception, unrequited love…he can’t get enough of them and insists on me cramming as much of these into my writing as possible.
- My muse has an atrocious sense of timing. He thinks nothing of prodding me awake in the middle of the night with a flash of inspiration, or keeping me tossing and turning into the small hours to hash out plot details. He takes particular pleasure in tormenting me with fresh ideas when I’m ill in bed, too blinded by a migraine to even think about reaching for the laptop to note them down. I know, right? What happened to a cold compress and nice cup of tea?
- My Muse won’t take no for an answer. Once he gets a bee in his baseball cap—the one he insists on wearing backwards because he thinks he’s Mr. Cool—that’s it. No matter how hard I tried to ignore him, to push aside the doubts he whispered into my ear, he invariably won in the end. Sooner or later, I was booting up the laptop and setting right whatever aspect of the story he’d taken issue with.
- My muse is my best friend and worst enemy. When the inspiration is flowing and the story coming together, he’s both cheerleader and commisserater, spurring me on to write to the best of my ability, raising my spirits when the words dry up. However, on those occasions when he abandons me, sometimes for weeks at a time, and always without reason or explanation, I vow never to speak to him again. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I need more backbone. Then again…
- My Muse is always right. This is by far the most aggravating trait about him. Often, when he demanded I rewrite a scene for the umpteenth time, I accused him of being a nit-picking perfectionist who would never be satisfied in a hundred edits. Yet, after making the changes—so far I haven’t refused him—I had no choice but to concede that the book was much stronger and that my muse was right all along. Damn him!