Monday, June 4, 2012

Feed Me, Seymour!

Trish Milburn and Tanya Michaels were the distinguished guest speakers at our last Carolina Romance Writers meeting. Each did an awesome workshop; one on the Three Pronged Approach to Publishing, the other sent us to Military School for our Unruly Muse - respectively.

You know the workshops are great when you’re still thinking about them days later. One thing still on my mind is what Tanya said about (paraphrasing here) feeding our muse. Not simply reading books in our genre, but how do we feed our muse via other mediums?

It’s obvious to me when my muse is starving to death or even a little peckish. He becomes a grumpy cuss that sits on his jean clad ass and won’t lift a life roughened finger to help me. He will, however, give me the bird. He’ll behave when I dive into contemporary and paranormal romances, contain his manliest snort (that’s saved for when I read my historicals and tear jerkers), but these dishes aren’t enough to satisfy him. My muse wants something he can sink his teeth into. He insists that somebody, somewhere blow something up, commit espionage, kidnap, extort, double cross, and generally do bad things. Then the good guys must show up and fight/shoot /drive fast/blow things up too. Finally, all the bad things come back to kick the bad guys in the kahunas or everything falls apart and ends in chaos. THAT is what feeds my muse. Movies - Spy, Action, Suspense, Adventure, High Stakes, and the like.

I’m not necessarily talking about the summer’s most expensive blockbuster (though sometimes it does the trick), but the smaller name movies that kick ass. The Mechanic, Snatch (and almost anything with Jason Statham or directed by Guy Ritchie), Contraband, Eastern Promises, Bourne anything, whatever Christopher Nolan touches, and … you get the idea. If I can find one of these movies on a semi-regular basis, fresh ideas come to me. Heroes come to me. My muse stops with the stoic routine and starts plotting ways to wreak havoc. All is awesome in the gray matter and playing field of my pretend world.

A friend and co-writer once said of my writing “No matter what, I know somebody somewhere has a gun. Even if they never have to use it, it’s there.” If I’m honest, I probably have my father to blame for this. He started me on a diet of action movies at the ripe old age of nine. Mom wasn’t into shoot ‘em ups, so why not take the daughter?!

I love him for it though. And my muse thanks him!




Elizabeth Michels said...

Feed that muse, girl! I've found that although I swoon all the way through anything with Jason Statham in it, my muse is fed by romantic comedy...I'll pause for your muse to roll his eyes. My muse is also fed by female complaint alt rock, so I'm thinking my muse is pretty girly by nature. Speaking of, I'm off to feed my muse a historical romance for her good behavior today. Nom Nom Nom Great post!

Anonymous said...

A great program and I think everyone took away something different. What feeds my muse? Real life stories do it for me. I am an unabashed eavesdropper. Snippets of conversation can become a plot in my mind. Anecdotes overheard while getting my hair cut or standing in a grocery line become plots. So in order to feed mymuse, I have to get off my duff and participate in life.

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