Deb Eleanor’s Fickle Muse

Eleanor Brown

I’m starting to feel like kind of a loser.

Wait, starting?

Okay, I always feel like a loser, as has been previously established.  But on these topics – muses and inspiration – I’ve felt particularly loser-ish.  I feel like I should have some kind of routine or plan for inspiration.

I don’t.

It just kind of happens.  If you come see me at a reading or a signing (more events coming soon – I’ll keep ya posted), you’ll hear me talk about how writing a novel is like dragging a magnet across a table full of paper clips.  You’ll come out at the end with a bunch – but not all – of the paper clips stuck to the magnet, and there’s your novel.

With The Weird Sisters, I knew I wanted to write a story of three sisters that centered around birth order.  And I had been playing around with different narrative voices, so I decided to take a whack at the first-person plural the story is told in.  And then I learned about Saturn’s Return and threw that in there.  And I wanted to talk about how we communicate in families, so Shakespeare entered into it.  And…well, you get the idea.

But it still feels kind of haphazard to me.

Am I the only one who just kind of stumbles into inspiration?  Visual artists – quilters, painters, sculptors, are you any more organized about this?

Inquiring minds want to know.


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10 thoughts on “Deb Eleanor’s Fickle Muse

  1. Thank you – I am similar. I hope to amuse with my writing, but I can’t say that I have much of a muse either. Eleanor, maybe we should take colorful pills to find our muses? Mmmm, no. And you, my fellow Deb, don’t need an outside muse – can’t congratulate you enough for your amazing NYT list accomplishment. The muse should come to YOU for help.

    • If I have a muse, her knee socks are falling down and she’s dropping her books all over the place as she walks down the hall.

      Thank you, lovely – I’m so grateful for your support.

  2. Haphazard. That’s the perfect word for how it happens for me, too. My pile of scribbled on post-it notes, napkins, and magazine subscription request cards will attest to that. I’m learning to not worry so much about “how” it happens but instead focus on “why” – these ideas are coming together for a reason so I’m just going to go with it! 🙂

    (PS: Can’t wait to read THE WEIRD SISTERS! Congratulations on all your success!)

    • Oh, thank heavens it’s not just me. I’m definitely grateful for the inspiration, when it strikes, I just wish it came in a tidier package!

  3. The haphazardness is the beauty of it! I’ve tried being a more organized writer and plotting out books before I start writing, but that kills all the joy in it for me.

    Tawna

    • People who can do that amaze me. I can plot out a few steps ahead of time, but the whole thing? Forget it. My characters aren’t that organized!

  4. “Am I the only one who just kind of stumbles into inspiration?”

    Ah, no. Duh. We’re all just out there faking it.

    Plus, remember, most of the world’s truly great discoveries were made on the way to something else completely.

    There wasn’t any caveman who said, uh, gee, I think I’ll invent the wheel today. He probably was just trying to figure out how to roll that dang mammoth off his brother-in-law…

    • Hah – mammoth = best mental image ever.

      I think what bothers me is that other people seem to be able to remember precisely when inspiration struck, or be able to lay things out neatly ahead of time (hence my question about quilters). I am not that way. But I think you’re right, and I should clearly stop worrying about it!

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