Tell Me Have You Seen Her.......

by Nana Malone
Whether you prefer the old
school Chi-Lites or MC Hammer, these words ring true. “Have you seen her? Tell me have you seen her?”

To muse or not to muse that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the….. Okay, okay, Hamlet and poor Willie Shakespeare are probably rolling their eyes at me. But Willie knows what I’m talking about. My muse. Yeah, that’s right. That spitfire version of your imagination that lives in Louboutins and scarfs down cookie dough ice-cream like it’s her job, somehow without ever gaining weight. You’re just as likely to find her sulking in a corner when she can’t have her way as you are to find her sprinkling magic fairy dust on your manuscript.

Now, while there are generally two camps to writers, the plotters and the pansters, none of us can deny the magic of when the words are flowing so well, you don’t even want to get up to go to the bathroom for fear you’ll send your muses into a snit. Though, in my current ginormous pregnant state, I don’t really have an option.

I find my muse usually makes her guest appearance during my first draft, but goes noticeably absent when the real work of editing begins. She occasionally appears to pitch a fit over my attempts to cut out sections that don’t work insisting, that all the magic lies in that one little scene. In this process of publishing my first book, I’ve discovered that edits and reedits and yet more reedits oft have nothing to do with my muse. Though if she should appear, I’m grateful to see her. Often times clutching her to my chest like that ratty old teddy bear from my childhood.

Though, my sisters (and brothers) I have heard tale of the non-believer. The writer who does not believe in the vixen of prose. Those who are apparently able to pull out sparkling text whenever they desire, without the assistance of a stiletto clad muse. Who are these blasphemers you ask? Well the queen of romance herself is one of them. Pulling the quote from last year’s nationals, She said: “Every time I hear writers talk about ‘the muse,’ I just want to bitch-slap them. It’s a job. Do your job.”–Nora Roberts

Clearly one of the most prolific romance writers of our time, Nora, if I may be so bold, has looked her muse in the eye and ripped the stillettos right off her feet. Effectively stripping the temperamental chicky of her power.

How much control do our muses really have over us? Or rather how much control should they have? As a stalwart plotter, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to declare “You can’t control me!” like a snotty sixteen year old who’s been told she can’t date Butch from the motorcycle club. But I must admit, I’m too terrified of the results. Miss Thang would surely abandon me for eternity.

But maybe Miss Roberts has a point. Because, as I and sit here in front of my latest MS praying for the appearance of my muse, I discovered that crazy heifer ran off to Bali and didn’t invite me along for the trip!

Have you seen your muse today?


  1. ROFL! I love your muse and your take on her, Nana.

    I agree that writing is a job, but in my book, there is nothing better than having the Best Idea Ever and thanking your muse for the inspiration.

    Although, admittedly, I hate it when she steals my Louboutins and runs off to Bali. ;-)

  2. If your muse is off on a binge, mine may be with her. :) Mine has ADD, I think, and becomes frustrated when she throws too many ideas at me and I can't work on all of them at once (though sometimes I try). It's true muses are great for inspiration, but not so dependable for seeing a work through to its end. But as you say, that's where we writers have to pick up the slack. So if you sit down at your computer and work, I bet she'll show up out of curiosity. Then you can shackle her to the desk!

  3. Shackles?! Now why didn't I think of that? Will install shackles at my desk immediately!

    Will wait stealthily at laptop for unsuspecting muse to appear. :)

  4. I fear it would be harder to train her than Oynx!!

    Just buy her something in a purple bag every now and again. :D You know the shop.

  5. I love the advice about telling the muse to do her job (or, well, YOUR job). But it's so much more fun to think in terms of treating her right...chocolate, music, photos of inspiring heroes...

  6. 'I discovered that crazy heifer ran off to Bali.'

    LOL! I think she's having a girls' night out with mine and Cate's muses...

  7. I love your Muse story! Hah! I'm afraid my muse pops up at the oddest times but seems content to whisper plot points in my ear when I'm in the shower. Perhaps knowing I'm nowhere near a pen or computer provides her with a few giggles!

    And by the way, it's Chi-Lites all the way. That song ROCKS!!

    Wonderful article, I really enjoyed it!!



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