Friday, August 1, 2008

Flights of Fantasy

For years I thought my muse was a cat. I had my reasons, you understand. For instance, if I want the muse, she’s nowhere to be found. But if I’m doing a revision, it never fails that my muse is whispering new stories in my ear. In fact, there’s nothing like being hard at work on one project to get my muse all excited about another. Cat behavior, it seemed to me. I had even planned to snap a picture of a neighborhood feline to use with this post. Then I discovered something interesting—my muse is a dragon.

Well, why not? I love dragons. To me, they represent fantasy, freedom (the flight thing), and the ability to breathe fire if needed. Wonderful creatures. But a dragon muse?
Unlike several of my coworkers, my muse is female. Her name is Quill, and she loves more than anything to give me stories of fantasy and adventure. Even the contemporary romances I’ve written have paranormal elements. Why did I not realize before that my muse was happier playing in the fantasy field? To me, that seems to be dragon behavior.

Then there’s the flying. My muse loves to fly high and long, where she gathers beautiful words, wonderful plots, and interesting characters to feed me. Usually when I’m in the shower. By the time I have a chance to write anything down, my human logic filter has wiped away much of the dragon spawned wonder.

I hate to mention it, but there’s the fire too. If I try to stray too far from my muse’s plotted course, I find out very quickly that she isn’t happy. If I’m lucky, she’ll just go away for a few days. If I’m not so lucky, I’ll get stories and characters downloaded into my head so fast and hard that it feels like my head is going to explode. Or I’ll get partial ideas, but not enough to work with (especially effective when a deadline is involved).

But the best thing about working with Quill, is the treasure she shares with me. The treasure of plots, characters, fantasy worlds, and wild adventures. Quill is amazing to work with, and I appreciate her dedication.

Note: The amazing picture of Quill that I’ve posted here was drawn for me by Michael Mason. He’s a writer in his own right, and has just returned from Iraq, where he risked his life for his country. Thank you, Michael, for everything! I’m glad you’re home safe.


  1. You know, it's interesting that you speak of your muse in terms of animals. There is a long tradition outside of writing of people having animal totems.

  2. Hmm, I do have some Native American blood. I've always been an animal lover and I seem to have a rapport with animals that other people don't. Interesting.