Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Muse by Diane Burton

Apollo and the Muses on Mount Helicon by Claude Lorrain

In Greek mythology, Zeus created The Muses to celebrate the victory over the Titans and to forget the evils of the world. I’m sure you already know that Zeus was a prolific father. According to myth, he laid with the goddess of memory nine times to create the nine Muses, goddesses of literature, sciences, and the arts. Two of them are directly related to literature—Melpomene (tragedy) and Thalia (comedy). Although I claim Thalia as my muse because I’d rather write humor than tragedy, I can’t ignore Melpomene. A good book must contain both. Tension and danger need the comic relief.

They say inspiration can come from anywhere. I claim Thalia and Melpomene visited last week. My work-in-progress, a romantic suspense, began fifteen years ago. It was the only story I’ve ever written out of sequence. I’m such a linear writer that I have to start a story at the beginning and write through to the end. This story was an anomaly. I wrote scenes as I thought of them. Worse, I named the files poorly. Even worse than that, I saved every variation of the story in separate files on 3.25” floppy disks. Considering that the story began at least four computers ago, I’m thrilled that I found it on those disks. Good thing Hubs purchased an external reader for those disks.

As a place-holder, I named the story Katie’s Story then The Camping Trip. Finally, it became Unpredictable Nature. None was a good title. For one thing, since my daughter-in-law's name is Katy, I changed the main character to Maggie. (I couldn't write love scenes and not think of my son and his wife. Not going there!) At the time, I thought the focus of the story was about camping and the outdoors, especially as it related to Maggie and Drew, the main characters. As I said, that was fifteen years ago.

I’ve been sharing snippets from this story every weekend for the Weekend Writing Warriors’ blog hop. On four Mondays (including yesterday), I shared character sketches of the main characters on my blog. Enter the Muses. A new title. Numbers Never Lie. Why didn’t I think of that sooner? Inspiration can strike at any time. Being open to inspiration is the trick.

Here’s the blurb for Numbers Never Lie:


A shocking secret brings danger to Jack Sinclair and his sister Maggie. 

As kids, they were the fearless threesome. As adults, Jack's an accountant; Drew, a lawyer; Maggie, a teacher and camping troop leader. Returning from a weekend camping trip, Maggie receives horrifying news. She refuses to believe her brother’s fatal car crash was an accident. If the police won’t investigate, she’ll do it herself. Convincing Drew Campbell to help is her only recourse.

Drew Campbell was too busy to return his best friend’s phone call. Too busy to attend a camping meeting important to his teen daughter. Too busy to stay in touch with Jack. Logic and reason indicate Jack’s accident was just that—an accident caused by fatigue and fog. Prodded by guilt, he’ll help Maggie even if he thinks she’s wrong.

A break-in at Jack’s condo convinces Maggie she’s right. Then her home is searched. What did Jack leave behind?

As I edit and revise Numbers Never Lie I feel so much better about the title. Thank you, Melpomene and Thalia.

Has your Muse helped you in a big way?


Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. She blogs here on the 13th of each month.

18 comments:

Maureen said...

I'm guilty of the same thing- renaming stories, saving in various places, finding two copies of one and none of what I'm looking for. I've actually spent time this week searching for a piece of an old story that I swear I wrote, somewhere? Checking flash drives, but alas, so far it is lost. Great post! I enjoyed learning more about Muses :)

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Oh Wow, Diane, I've got one story like that...just scenes. I'm normally a linear writer also - 100% SOTP linear writer LOL!

Great post.
Good luck and God's blessings
PamT

Francesca Quarto said...


Loved your post Diane. Oddly, my Muse likes to begin with a title and then fills me in as to what the heck it's about! I've never been one to be predictable in any sense of the word.

Thanks for sharing your insights on the work of the all-important Muse!

Francesca Q.

Alina K. Field said...

At least you didn't have the floppy disks as part of the story, LOL!
I'm also a linear writer, and a semi-pantser, so investing time writing scenes here or there doesn't really help me.

Annette said...

Thank you for sharing some of your process with us, Diane. I'm jealous of your title. And now I'm curious about that story. Way too curious.

All the best, Annette

Sorchia DuBois said...

Those pesky muses! Mine takes long vacations in Bermuda. Numbers Never Lie is a great title and the excerpt is intriguing as well. Best of luck! Have you ever tried Scrivener to organize writing? Some people swear by it though I generally swear AT it. Also, plain old Word can help. I am a very here and there writer--writing scenes and then fitting them together later. By using Quick Styles in word, you can organize everything in one file and reorganize to your heart's content. I'm thinking about doing a workshop on that sometime this year.

Lea Kirk said...

Great post, Diane. My muse is more Thalia too, but there's some Melpomene there. Our relationship is a work in progress. When she found out I was pregnant with my second set of twins, she ditched me. Said she didn't change diapers or wipe snotty noses. She finally came back when the youngest two were eleven...and I was sick with a fever. So, yeah. Love/hate relationship. lol.

Diane Burton said...

I hear you, Maureen. Isn't it a pain? I looked (on & off) over a month for those files. Like you, I swore I'd written a certain scene--like the end of the story. Fortunately, I found it all. I think. Good luck on your search.

Diane Burton said...

Pam, I learned my lesson. All I can say is, it was a weird time for me. LOL

Diane Burton said...

Francesca, I'm laughing out loud at your comment. There are days when my Muse tells me what to write. Mostly, she sits back drinking margaritas and laughing at me.

Diane Burton said...

Alina, it sure didn't help me, either. Never do that again.

Diane Burton said...

LOL, Annette. Glad you're curious. I hope to release the book before summer so you can satisfy your curiosity.

Diane Burton said...

Thanks, Sorchia. I tried Scrivener, even took a class. It seems great. And I know a lot of writers who swear by it. When I tried to use it, I seemed to spend so much time trying to figure it out that I went back to good, old Word. Now, I write the whole story in one file. I have side files with characters and notes. But when I spent more time on process than on the story, I gave up. Maybe if I was younger. This old dog is tired of trying to learn new tricks. LOL

Diane Burton said...

LOL, Lea. She ditched you? How could she??? Glad she's back, though. Surely, she could've helped with diapers.

Jenna Barwin said...

Great post! And I love the title. You're right, titles are so hard sometimes. You have a good one!

Jessica Jefferson said...

This was fun to read about the 3.5 disks! Takes me back!

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

What a fun journey this story has had! Good job! I too had my first work on disks, but never did retrieve all the files or complete the work again. Maybe some day, right?

Nightingale said...

Enjoyed your post, and the blurb for your teen-aged novel. Thanks for sharing!