Muses. Champions of the arts. A misunderstood species thanks to Greek historians and Walt Disney. Muses are all around us. There is probably one in the closet under your stairs, the dusty tea kettle on your shelf, or the pocket of your favorite jacket.
Long ago humans were so terrified of muses, they enlisted the help of Anunnaki to cloak them from the world. But the Anunnaki were careless and forgot to include storytellers in their spell. Consequently, writers can see the muses. Although they often disguise themselves as crows to throw off the scent.
A muse exists for every genre – except the stuffiest forms of non-creative non-fiction. They lurk in shadows and gorge on the words of the innocent. Inherently mischievous, even the tamest will murder your favorite writing snacks.
In an effort to enlighten humanity, I have complied a list of muses that plague me oftenest. If you intend to catch one, arm yourself with a thick net crafted from a book of at least five-hundred pages.
The Muse of War
Sudden, fast, and unbelievably destructive. This muse turns peaceful tales violent. It convinces you the plot lacks action (it does) and fills it with all manner of fierce developments. Battles, skirmishes, and petty girl fights of all kinds ensue. In the appropriate genre, this muse is essential. But it is rarely satisfied and preys on all manner of tales.
Where to find: Anywhere a war movie is playing.
The Muse of Fluff
Although an excellent addition to any story in moderation, the Fluff will attempt to derail your novel with disgusting amounts of sweetness. Soon, your story will have no plot and wallow in the mire of Two-Dimensional Characters. These characters will get along splendidly and have a great time mindlessly accomplishing nothing.
Where to find: This muse lurks in Romance novels and Hallmark movies.
The Muse of Disruption
Contrary to the negative nature of its name, this muse is indispensable. Is your plot simmering to a bumbling crawl? Disruption will sweep in like the eagles in Lord of the Rings, delivering catastrophe, shocking revelations, and unexplained personality changes. Establish a friendly relationship with it before it leads your plot into permanent chaos. I get along marvelously with one named Steve. We drink tea together every Saturday morning.
Where to find: This muse has an internal compass which draws them to dying plots. Do not be frightened by the scales. They are quite soft.
The Muse of Angst
Dark, brooding, and incredibly hopeless, this muse thrives on misunderstanding. If you need a bit of tension when characters are getting along too well, look no further. But exercise caution. They often linger to watch your novel progress and make cryptic remarks when jubilation occurs.
Where to find: Play melancholy classical music. Beethoven’s 7th 2nd should do the trick.
The Reaper Muse
A favorite of crime novelists, the Reaper lurks in the shadows then strikes when the plot is ripe for untimely death. The more shocking, the better. Reward it by offering a satisfying conclusion to the novel’s mystery. If you write a lame conclusion, it will ask for a refund.
Where to find: There is no need to find a reaper. It will find you.
The Muse of Eccentricity
This muse does not care about writing at all. Rather, it delights in making writers eccentric. You may have begun your writing career as a rational being. By the time this muse is finished, you will waltz about your front porch to Shostakovich at 3:00 AM with a bottle of mystical concoctions. Your neighbors will call the cops and you will be arrested. But you will find it dreadfully inspiring and build a shrine to worship this muse as a secondary deity.
Where to find: This muse is incredibly rare. If you are lucky, it will find you.
The Jeffrey Muse
This muse has no purpose at all. It merely delights in hovering near aspiring writers and convincing them they are about to be inspired by the eternal flame of epiphany. Millions of novels have gone unfinished because of this muse. If you see one, shoot on sight.
Where to find: Unless you enjoy hunting, do not attempt to find a Jeffrey muse.
In conclusion, books and television have got it all wrong about muses. Anyone who does not believe in their existence has a Jeffrey living in their house. It is a familiar object. Your favorite toaster, the left shoe with the hole, your grandmother, etc. I can only pity you and hope too much life has not been sucked from your soul.
Do you believe in muses? Comment below with the whys, why nots, and wherefores. And complaints. I’m not getting nearly enough complaints!
LizzyImages by Mariusz Matuszewski and Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay