June 8, 2010


I had another post about a potential writing disappointment, but I’ve decided to sit on that one for a while. Once it’s on the Web, it’s out there forever, and I’m just a wee bit paranoid. Oh well, at least it felt good to write!

But that’s Project EA, which you may or may not hear more about, depending on how things go. Right now I’m focusing my energies on Project W, which is a novel-in-progress. My word count crawled over 30,000 yesterday, which was awesome, but not in a “WHOOT!” kind of way. More of a “Okay, cool. Making progress, but we still have to reach the halfway point. Let’s go.”

And re-reading that last sentence reminded me of what I wanted to talk about today: the Muse. I’ve heard lots of writers discuss the Muse, although it has many names. Sometimes it’s “The Beast,” or “The Subconscious.” Other times, “The Animal,” “The Creative Mind,” or one of my favourites, “Broccoli.” Whatever you call it, the Muse is that little voice inside that whispers things to you. What a character is really all about, where that plot thread is going, and no, it’s not where you thought it was. It makes fingers fly and provides some stunning leaps of intuition.

And many people, myself included, find it easier to give it a name and separate it from the conscious, rational mind. The Muse works best when left to its own devices (that being said, if it decides it doesn’t want to work, you have to keep writing until it gets tempted to say something). Me? I like thinking of it as my “Right Brain.”

For those who don’t know the Left Brain/Right Brain dichotomoy, the Left hemisphere of the brain is the rational, logical side, whereas the Right side is creative and intuitive. Since the Left also deals with language, you really need both to write.

I like the image of the two halves of my brain working harmoniously. For instance: while my Left Brain is stringing words together and making sure everything has at least some logic, my Right Brain is humming quietly in the background, speaking up every so often with some insight it’s gleaned. I think of the Left side as a large hall, where everyone can be heard and discussion unfolds in an orderly manner. Like Parliament (a working one, anyway). Across the hall, however, is a locked room. You can see shapes moving through that frosted glass window on the door, and if you listen carefully, murmurs creep under the crack. But you don’t know what’s going on until the door swings open and a wild-eyed scientist pops out and cries, “She’s really just scared of X!” Then the door slams and Parliament gets to discuss this latest news.

So there you have it: a picture of my brain. Anyone else out there? What does your muse look like?




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