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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, July 10, 2006


I don't plot. Not only does it rub against my nature as a writer, but plotting before I start a story would be a scary proposition. Facing the fact that I have no story to tell, not really, and proving that fact to myself in outline form, would likely prevent me from ever writing again. So I type "Chapter One" and dive in with hopes high and illusions intact.

But there do come times (several of them, each day) when I'd love to have more control over meeting up with whichever muse it is who waves her musey-wand or sprinkles her musey-dust--or whatever it is that muses do--and to arrange for her to hand over the answers to the questions what happens next? and what does it mean? with a little more regularity.

I've discovered that my muse tends to visit me in the shower. There must be something about the isolation and sensory deprivation, or the white noise of water splashing on tile and gurgling down the drain, or maybe it's massaging the brain case that does it--whatever it is, my hair is much cleaner since I've started writing than it's ever been before.

Another place I often get muse-type inspiration is in the car. Which is handier than in the shower, because I can usually pull over to the side of the road and jot down some notes. (My husband has grown quite accustomed to pulling over to the side of the road. I think he enjoys humoring my eccentricities. And my eccentricities probably give him something interesting to discuss with his golfing buddies out on the course.)

Where and when does your muse visit you? I'd really like to know, so I can see if I can catch up with mine there, too.


At 10:33 AM, Blogger Stephanie Feagan said...

Terry, we must be soul mates. My best plot points come to me in the shower - and the car! Too weird. I've been known to go jump in the shower when I'm particularly stuck. Sometimes, when I go to Dallas on business, I forego flying so I can take a 6 hour drive, all alone, just me and the music cranked up, and plot out a whole book.

At 4:22 PM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

My muse likes to get me up as soon as I've gotten all comfy and cozy in bed. I'll get these snippets of conversation that start rolling through my head and I have to either get up and go turn the computer back on, or find my book light, pen, and paper and jot it down so I can sleep.

Now if she'd just give me a darned plot to go with the dialogue, I'd be in good shape.

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Fullofdevilment said...

I'm really getting into this blogging business!
Terry, my best work comes when I'm under the hair dryer. I guess heating the brain cells gets me going when I'm using the Dana.
A weird thing happened to me recently though. Now, I've been a pantster since day one, but last week I semi-outlined a story and wrote a 5-pg synopsis! Freaks me out totally.
hopeful nancy

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

Woo-Hoo! Two Nancy sitings in one week.

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Wow, add me to the soul mate list. My muse also comes to me in the shower and in the car, but I must say it's best in the shower!

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Stef and Theresa--Next time I'm headin' down the highway, I'm going to look at all the cars whizzing by and wonder how many of them are writers in search of their muses.

Tori, I used to get flashes of good stuff when I was drifting off to sleep, too. But lately the notepad and pencil I keep on my nightstand are just gathering dust. Note to self: must go to bed earlier and fall asleep more slowly.

Nancy--an outline AND a synopsis? Scary. And thanks for the tip on the hair dryer. Maybe I should take my laptop to the hairdresser's and ask for a chair and a cool setting.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Oh, I hate that question, "What happens next?"
I halfway plot. Have to sorta plot to get the next book approved, but it doesn't help. You still have to figure out what happens next. I wish I had a place I could find the muse. She taps me on the shoulder when I least expect it.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

I thought Nora's take on this was interesting. Well, first: There ain't no muse. If you sit around and wait to channel the muse, you can sit around and wait a long time. It's not effortless. If only. Well, if it was, then everyone would do it, and where would we be then?

You can read the whole interview here:

At 6:44 AM, Blogger Lorelle said...

Mine visits me when I wash the dishes. I changed the plans in our new, hopefully soon-to-be-built house so the kitchen sink had a bay window with a view.


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