Category Archives: the Muse

Getting Cosy With My Muse



I have been getting a lot of action from my muse lately. I’ve always imagined my muse as a fussy (and handsome) man in Victorian-era clothing, overworked and sometimes a bit too quick with the cliché. These past two months, he has hit a gold mine of ideas.

This may be due to the pressure I’ve been putting him under with my looming yearly goal of 100 rejections. I use the Australian financial year from the 1st of July to the 31st of June. My rejections are nearly totalling 80, but I am getting to the point of the year where I won’t be hearing back about submissions until after the cut-off point.

Of course, I’ve had a few acceptances too.

However, I think my muse is hitting his stride because I’ve been working so hard at my submissions. Like any muscle, your creativity ‘grows’ with added effort and energy. Or maybe I’ve just tuned into it better. Either way, I’ve got plenty to be going on with.

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Greetings from Novel World


Greetings and Felicitations. I’ll bet your wondering where I’ve been?

I’ve been spending more time out in the garden, exercising, and writing. Yes. Writing. Writing short stories and sending them off to market, writing articles, writing job applications (still no luck), volunteering for the Queensland Writers Centre, and getting ready to write my new novel – nicknamed the Train Book. I started writing it this week, now that I have enough reseach under my belt, and I have written my timeline and outline.

But what about my Steampunk novel, you ask?

It is ‘resting’. There is a point in the editing process when need to stop. I could edit forever. The Steampunk novel still needs work, but at the moment I need to step away from it and gain some perspective again. I was ‘fussing’ rather than editing. I keep wanting to add in new stuff. I need to look at the story, write a new outline, and STICK TO IT!

I hope to have the Train Novel’s first draft written by Christmas. I’m aiming at 120,000 words. (And no, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, even though I could). I’m looking writing at 10,000 words a week for twelve weeks. That is approximately 1500 words a day, which is doable. I’m on a writing high at the moment.

However, I know I have severely neglected this blog. And I can’t promise that things are going to change too soon. However, I will TRY to update you all once ot twice a week.

In other news … my hair is now green-blue. I am losing weight, but I still have no neck and no waist.Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, glasses, selfie, close-up and indoor



Filed under the Muse, The Train Book, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, writing, Writing Career

Feeding the Muse


I have been working on the end to my Steampunk Work-in-Progress (yep, I’m WiP-ped). In the past week, some serious thinking and research helped me come up with the logical progression for constructing the ending. This will mean more re-writes, but not huge structural edits.


I see research as part of the process of feeding the muse. My main problem is that I can never predict what is going to inspire a good (or even great) idea. So, I do a lot of research. I read news stories, science articles, textbooks, anything and everything gets fed into the files for the muse to sort through. Sometimes I wish I could just click my fingers and the best idea would swim to the front of the pile, but that isn’t how it work.

Sorry, but feeding the muse takes effort, just like anything else. This is why I am a little cynical when I hear a writer claim that he/she doesn’t do any reading.

aggressive muse

The muse is unforgiving. It just ins’t a case of ‘Garbage in, garbage out’. No fuel, and the flame splutters out entirely.

Currently, I am reading up on Victorian-era model villages. These were both a great concept and a really bad idea, depending on who was in charge. On one hand, these were developed to create ideal living conditions for a planned community. creating comfort for families and a guaranteed population base for businesses. On the dark side, these were nearly gulags for imprisoning a workforce to labour under unpleasant and dangerous conditions. What a perfect setting for both a hero or a villain!


This is the last piece I need for the puzzle that is my book. It is almost a frightening thought.  I’ve worked with these characters for so long, that I will miss them once the book is complete. However, I’ve been through this ‘breaking up’ period a few times now, when you have to distance yourself from your creations. The best solution is have a new project in the wings, a shiny new toy for the muse to play with.

outsidethebox muse.jpg



Filed under Steampunk, Steampunk Work-in-Progress, the Muse, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, writing

Being Productive whilst on Holidays; Flights of Fancy


I went away to spend some time with my parents.I was away from my computer … but took plenty of pens and paper with me. I often do my ‘chunking’ exercises with pen and paper. ‘Chunking’ is when you write out your idea, as it comes to you in chunks and pieces; this is what my first year lecturer called the process. You might call it something else. It doesn’t matter what it is called, it is just the very first step – after thinking – towards writing a story.

I thought I was in holiday mode. My muse disagreed.

I came up with three solid ideas for short stories, including the ‘Dissected Graces’ story based on the artistic anatomical models. I finally have got a handle on the (hopefully final) structural edit to my Steampunk novel; I will have to kill quite a few of my darlings in the process. I also wrote five individual timelines for characters within the novel, which support the structure and at the same time give them all logical stories of their own that don’t conflict with their characterisations or motivations.

I even came up with a strategy for the structural edit that doesn’t make me too fearful of messing up. I am going to write up the new timeline I came up with, and copy and paste into it. In this way, I keep the original draft ‘pristine’ in case I do stuff things up. I’ve been trying to make better sense of my story and plot for a couple of months, so I am very pleased to be moving forward again.

Writers don’t really get proper holidays, because you can never predict when a great idea is going to strike. The muse can’t be ignored. So, I might not have done much in the way of writing on my computer, but I was certainly doing a lot of writing by hand. I was gone for five days, and I have over 13 pages of notes and observations, timelines and research plans. Some of this stuff is pure gold.

Sometimes, getting out of your familiar work routines kick-starts a new train of thought. That is what happened to me. So I am adding this to my writer’s toolkit.



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Filed under Editing, Personal experience, Steampunk Themes, Steampunk Work-in-Progress, the Muse, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, writing, Writing Career

The Sirens of Distraction

The Muse- Gabriel de Cool

The Muse by Gabriel de Cool. She looks more like a siren of distraction than a hard working muse to me. He isn’t writing!

This happens to me quite frequently (it doesn’t help that my desk is in the corner of my kitchen/dining room). I will sit down to write and suddenly the home phone will ring (also on my desk), or my mobile phone pings with a text, my cat decides he wants to play, one of my family sits down for a chat with me, or the grittiness of the floor reminds me I need to do some housework as we have visitors coming over on the weekend. A couple of hours later, I still haven’t started in on any writing project…

Look at me! LOOK AT ME!

Oh the irony. In the original mythology, the sirens were the daughters of Muses, either Terpsichore – the Muse of Dancing or Melpomene – the Muse of both Singing and Tragedy. I’m putting my vote in for Melpomene being their mum, as anything that keeps me away from my writing is something of a tragedy. (Okay, I’m being a drama queen.) But the Sirens of Distraction are a real problem for writers, particularly if you are like me and you don’t have a ‘room of your own’.

The Siren, by John William Waterhouse. That girl doesn’t care if you’re drowning in projects.

My family is moving soon, and I hope to partially solve my problem by having a more private workspace. However, this isn’t a solution that everyone can afford. So, here are some of the strategies I have been using to slay the sirens of distraction.

1/ Earphones

You can be listening to music … or not. I find music helpful to set the atmosphere of a scene, but half the time the earphones are worn simply to signal that I am busy. They act as a barrier between me and the household.

2/ Setting a timetable

Make it perfectly clear to one and all that this is your writing time. Have a set time of the day to write … the housework can wait until later. Better yet, get your family to help you with the cleaning and have a ‘cleaning hour’ where everyone gets together to share tasks.

3/ Set priorities

Sometimes, the housework just has to get done (I like clean underwear, particularly in summer). Most of the time, though, housework can wait. It isn’t going anywhere. Write for a couple of hours and the dust won’t have gone away. Dust the house when your imagination is on fire, and you might lose that flash of inspiration forever. And if friends pop by, they came to see you and not the house.

Waterhouse again. He knew about sirens.

I hope this helps someone. I am currently looking for a new home and will be moving soon. This is when the sirens of distraction become the levitation of life, and posts may become few and far between for a couple of weeks.


Filed under Steampunk Writer, the Muse, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, Writer's Block, writing