- This is in answer to:
- Where do you find creative inspiration? See all answers
- November 28, 2011 by assentia
- That Fickle Muse
NaNoWriMo is officially over. I hit 50K words earlier today, but I'm taking the last couple of days to push on to the end of my story, which is in sight.
My muse has been incredibly accommodating this year. It's the first time, after one failure and three wins, that I've been consistently ahead of schedule and never had to pull a desperate 5K day towards the end.
But then my muse is happy when he has work. When I write, he rides me harder than any mundane influence, lover or employer, ever has. When I'm not, he puts on his best urbane-looking Victorian Hellfire club face and never tires in his attempts to seduce me into following him. (He has some pretty creative punishments up his sleeve if I resist too long, as well... but that's another story for another day.)
Not to say that my muse doesn't have his blind spots as well. He's not good with plot, at least original plot seeds, while he's brilliant with characters and settings. All my plots are, at least in the beginning, hopelessly, or rather shamelessly, derivative: I pick a story I've read and redo it. Thing is, though, most of my fiction is collaborative, and the other person's input is invaluable in making our story veer far from the canon. So far, in fact, that sometimes we lose track of the original altogether.
Most of what I know about the craft of writing comes from Marion Zimmer Bradley and the liberal pearls of wisdom she included in the anthologies she edited. It's all in the characters for me. I don't do fanfiction, though I may slip a canon character as an NPC here and there, if the setting warrants it. Starting with real people, things are bound to happen, and sometimes working in an established but unfamiliar universe can be dizzyingly inspirational. A writing partner introduced me to the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, months before I got to start reading the series; one of the challenges I relished most was crafting a Darkover story with another partner who had never read Darkover. Right now I'm negotiating a story that will explore what Beatrice Rappaccini might have grown into, and I'm fairly giddy with stampeding ideas.
It might be my speculative bent, but I don't tend to find sparks of inspiration in real life around me; not in events or people I experience, though some nature can get me into just the right mood to be receptive. It's inspired art that inspires me in turn - particularly words and music. I've lost count of how many times a song title has sprung up and demanded to be a story title as well.
Unlike other years, when I end NaNoWriMo with a desperate need to decompress by writing nothing for weeks, now I'm ready to dive back into my stories and reward my co-writers' patience. If that's not creative inspiration, I wouldn't know what is.