In a previous post I went over the fact that I have many muses, which provide me with a steady stream of writing ideas and as a result of this I never experience writer's block. However, I stated that this creates a big problem for me. My problem is that, as a result of my muses, my writing is eclectic. It's all over the place, from romance to horror, from fiction to non-fiction, from fantasy to science fiction, from wholesome family stories to naughty stories. Thankfully I can pick and choose which stories to write and, of course, to publish. But if I were to restrict my writing to say only the Nell stories that many of you have loved reading in The Sun Zebra, I would not write much. The Nell stories are just a fraction of who I am, the rest of what I write is very different. And herein lies the problem. The cardinal rule of this business is: writer, know thy reader. If you write wholesome family stories and your readers expect more of that, you cannot put out say a horror or erotica book. It would drive your readers away in droves. Well this is just the problem I have. The stories in my book The Sun Zebra are about family and love. But I have stories about murder, mayhem, monsters, and ghosts. I have stories overflowing with sexuality, and stories with bleak "unhappy endings." I even have a collection of essay and poems! How am I supposed to publish all this without rubbing my readers the wrong way? Some people have suggested that I create a new alias for myself but that would just multiply the work I have to do, which is already far too much on top of my day job. So I wanted to know about others in my situation. Are you an eclectic writer? If so how do you deal with publishing in several genres? Please leave a comment and let us know.
You know how most writers have a muse? Well I have a confession to make: I have more than one muse. All in all (as far as I can tell) I have figured out I have nine muses. Let me run you down the list. The Little Girl: This muse is a magical child. She is adorable, very intelligent, and looks a lot like the child in the cover of my first book The Sun Zebra. In fact, she is the chief architect of all my Nell stories. I love her dearly, but if I wrote exclusively what she inspires I would only write children's books. The Comedian: This lady is all fun and laughs. It is impossible to engage her in a conversation without her going on a humorous tangent. If she were to take over my writing it would look like a cross between the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges. The Clergyman: This muse looks very much like a rabbi but he wears a cassock like a Catholic priest! He is constantly questioning the ulterior motives of every action and measuring them up to the highest moral standards. If he were to take over my writing I would not write. The Bard: This guy looks and dresses like Shakespeare. He has had a heavy hand in all my poetry. The Professor: This guy sports a bushy beard and looks like one of those German scholars from the days of yore. He is only concerned with academic discussions and favors the adventures of the mind. He is responsible for the scientist in me. The Hero: This swashbuckling muscular dude is dressed like a Roman centurion and is always on the lookout for quests and adventures. He is like Conan the Barbarian on steroids and looks suspiciously like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Sweetheart: This one is the quintessential hometown honey. The type of girl you break up with to go see the world but then end up marrying when you have grown up and return. She is into romance, happy endings, and keeping things tidy. If I were to totally embrace her, my writing would be Lake Wobegon-perfect: something that I try to avoid at all costs. The Slut: This muse is the type of woman my mother warned me about. As you would expect she wears fishnet stockings, lingerie, and high heels, and she is sizzling hot. If I were to allow her free reign over my writing I would only write erotica. The Death Lady: This one looks very much like the grim reaper. She comes to me in my dreams under the faint glow of the moon. She opens the mausoleum doors and beckons for me to follow her to some of the darkest places that have ever existed. The way my mind works is that these muses team up and then produce ideas for me to turn into stories. Each team effort is heavily slanted towards one or two muses with the rest adding a little touch of their own. For example, my first book The Sun Zebra was the product of a muse team commandeered by the Little Girl but you can detect the influence of the others including the Death Lady, the Comedian, and the Hero. My muses provide me with a steady stream of ideas that I write down in a list that keeps increasing all the time. As a result of this I have never experienced writer's block. The only time I've come close to experiencing writer's block is when I tried to force my muses to deliver a certain type of story. This doesn't work, and I have learned to just let them be. The above may sound good but it creates a big problem for me, which we shall talk about in my next post. In the meantime I would like to hear about your muse. Do you have one, or more? How does it look? Does it come and go, or is it with you all the time? Please leave a comment and let us know.
In a past post in this blog I discussed one particular way of dealing with writer's block. This is: if you have writer's block, then write about having writer's block! I discussed two ways to do this. The first is to merely write about having it. The second involves not just writing about it but antagonizing the beast, bringing it out into the open and wrestling with it analyzing it and defining it.However, there is a third way, embrace the beast! Yes, seek the creature were it hides in the dark recesses of your imagination and when you find it, walk willingly into its arms (give in to the dark side Luke!). Consort with it, let it inseminate you with its wicked seed, and then gestate and deliver into this world its twisted offspring!(Insert maniacal laughter here)OK, what the heck am I talking about?If you want to understand please first read this very short story that I posted on Scribd: She's Back! (if you already read it keep on reading).The premise of the story is simple. To what extremes would a writer go to get rid of a bad case of writer's block? Especially a writer who has figured out the inner workings of his muse and the terrible thing he has to do to keep her coming back to him.You see my point? Take your weakness, that anxiety, that depression, that barrenness that you are experiencing, and turn them into your strength. Writer's block can inspire stories, they may not be pretty, but they will get you out of your creative funk.Now, if you allow me, I can't resist going over what the writer in the story discovered about muses. I will call it:Museology 1011) A muse is not an abstraction, a muse is a shape-shifting trans-dimensional being that feeds on our desire to create. It provides us with ideas, we take the ideas and break them down and reorganize them into stories and the muse feeds on the energy generated by the whole process.2) Much in the same way that you won't eat eggs and bacon every day, a muse will not stay forever with one writer, it needs a balanced diet.3) When you muse deserts you, it doesn't disappear, it goes off with another writer and gives that writer the ideas it would have provided to you. Therefore that writer will write or will finish writing the stories you would have written if the muse had stayed with you. Your muse will eventually return to you, just like you decide to eat eggs and bacon after not eating them for a while, but when this will happen is anyone's guess.4) Now here is the crucial fact. If something were to happen to that "other" writer, say for example an "accident" like being hit on the head with a blunt object and buried in a basement, the muse will automatically return to the previous writer.So you see dear reader, this is the type of inspiration and ideas you get when you embrace your "inner beast". Thank you for your attention, I hope both that you find the inspiration to write some great stories, and that you have gained some understanding of the plight of your fellow writers out there suffering writer's block. Remember also to be kind enough to accept an invitation to their house for dinner. ; ^ )Phantomimic