The Crime Readers' Association

Battling with the Muse, by Diane M Dickson

28th July 2020

I believe in The Muse. I am one hundred per cent convinced that there is a magic force that guides artistic endeavour. For interest mine is female, taller than me with longer, curlier, blonder hair, fewer wrinkles and wears gorgeous BoHo kaftans and beads and strappy sandals, possibly with shiny bits on. Anyway, I know about her because of the way that, when I am working, and the magic is helping, and the words are writing themselves, then I will put some strange and unlooked for comment into the narrative – something peculiar –  like a gardener walking along the road, a headmaster coming out of nowhere to interfere (yes, obviously I’ve had both of those) and I just don’t know why or where it came from. Two chapters later and BAM they are essential to the plot. That’s not me, I’m a pantser, first last and always, a first sentence and off we go sort of writer so I can’t pretend that I always knew I needed that gardener, headmaster, office desk with a locked drawer, it just happens and it can be, in my honest opinion, nothing else but The Muse.

So, why – given all of this can I not trust the woman (see above – comments re beads and kaftans). I decided to take a break from the Tanya Miller series, I reckon she’s worked hard enough for now, but I have had some readers say they would like to know more about Charlie Lambert. And wouldn’t we all – I reckon he’s pretty gorgeous. So, I’m having a go at that. I knew, if it was to be worthwhile this series (fingers crossed) would need to have a completely different tone to the Miller ones. That has been fun, and I think I’m getting there with it. He’s less grumpy and taciturn than his Thames Valley colleague, happily married and kind. Smashing chap all round. The story is coming together reasonably well I think, and the locations are fun. Merseyside. I just spent some time back in the City of my childhood/teens – sad occasion unfortunately, but it did remind me what a great place Liverpool is. I digress. – So, Ms Kaftan and Beads is having a fine time. Throwing all sorts of things my way – relationships, dirty and dastardly deeds and rotters galore. Why then am I having trouble just going with the flow? Why am I arguing with her/them? Why am I deleting stuff just to reinstate it minutes later? This isn’t rhetorical. This is a genuine question. I am perplexed. Why have I lost my trust in The Muse and how do I get it back? Answers on a postcard please.


Read more about Diane here.

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