I'm so pleased to have D. D. Scott join me today on my blog. D. D. Scott’s romantic comedies are all about sexy, sassy, smart, career-driven women and the men who complete them. They're a bit chick lit with a gone-country twist. She’s agented, and her series BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - think Sex and The City meets Urban Cowboy - is under consideration by several NY publishers.
She writes stories with big hearts and a bunch of sass. Once a small town newspaper crime reporter and now a HarperCollins Publishing Returns Center Executive Assistant, she's learned great fiction comes from the street as well as which jacket covers meet early deaths.
She's a member of Indiana RWA as well as RWA's Chick Lit Writers of the World Chapter and ScriptScene RWA. She's been featured in both Indiana RWA's and ScriptScene's chapter newsletters and been a guest blogger on Romance Writers on the Journey. She is linked to on Romancing the Blog and also has an active blog of her own on her website at www.DDScott.com.
Currently, she's driving her darling hubby nuts waiting to hear whether or not she'll be providing Muse Therapy for the 2010 RT BookLovers' Convention in Columbus OH and for RWR in an article-based Muse Therapy series. (Update: Woot! Just got notified she was accepted to teach at RT Convention!!!)
For updates on her books, her sexy, sassy, smart neurotic writer’s life blog, and for a schedule of future muse therapy sessions, visit her website www.DDScott.com. While there, sign-up for her mailing list for chances to win fabulous tchotchkes.
Are you all settled down and ready for a therapy session? Well, get comfortable and I'll turn to blog reins over to D. D. Scott!
Welcome to a mini blog bit of Muse Therapy – D. D. Scott style – where it’s all about injecting life into tired and/or stressed out muses.
First, a huge thank you to Carol Ann and her Inside The Writer’s Mind for inviting me to do a mini Muse Therapy Session!
I take it many of you may need a writer’s go-to-gal for your muse “disorders”. Bravo! Me too...and I’m the “therapist”! LOL!
Being Queen or King of your creative domain may require “therapy” – Muse Therapy that is!
Congratulations, though, on being at the top of the writing game. No denial. No shame. You’re in the writing business for fun, fortune and fame. Right?
Okay. Okay. At least that ideal looks and sounds fabulous on our screens. LOL!
As a Muse “Therapist”, I give writer’s fun and fabulous tools to analyze their muses’ funks, rein in their creative divas and up their page counts.
Together, we discover what makes your muses tick. What ticks them off. And what makes them dance like nobody's watching.
So if your muse is in need of a tune-up, grab a comfy couch or chair and put up your feet. You're in the right therapy session. You’ll have a terrific time conquering your creative divas and taking back the crown of your personal Muse-ville kingdom. It’s soooo good to be Queen (or King) of your creative domain.
But how do you know if you’ve been dethroned? And how do you take back your creative sovereignty? Here are a few clues. You know you need Muse Therapy When...
1. Your muses aren’t ticking. They’re ticked off.
2. Your muses are in a funk saying “up yours” instead of upping your page counts.
3. Even great sex or a new pair of shoes can’t rein in your creative divas.
4. The following sessions sound appealing:
** Unleashing Your Inner Sybil
** Writing Bi-Polar: I Suck vs. I'm a Genius
** What Do You Mean I'm Neurotic? No, I'm Not. Well, Not Exactly. But Okay...There Are Times When. Like You Need To Know That. Anyway, I Was Thinking, My Jeep Is Red
** Rorschach For Writers: I See Dead Lines
** Stimulants: When Coffee, Chocolate, and Martinis Aren't Enough
5. Your word witches are on their way to publishing Oz but the Yellow Brick Road they’re bootscootin’ on...well...the damn thing never ends!
6. Everyone says your writing is a waste of time, a “hobby” that will never “pay-off”.
7. You feel the urge, however, to tell everyone in reason six to (I’m thinking of a phrase that starts with a 4-letter-word and ends with a ‘you’, ‘off’ or ‘me’).
Here’s the scoop...the secret to upping your page count isn’t done by hurling nasty insults at your muses. Oh no. You’ve got to wine and dine those divas. Whether it’s with coffee, chocolate, fabulous finds in some chic boutique, or with what I call Muse Therapy Trips, it’s all about pampering those chicks and chucks ‘til you get out of them exactly what you want...and then some.
Let’s begin by exploring your word witches’ inner divas. Note I said “divas” plural, not singular. You may have tuned-in to the creative energies swirling in your head, but have you noticed and perhaps worried a bit because there are multiple voices shouting between your ears?
Just like Carrie Bradshaw of SEX AND THE CITY would welcome a new, potential leading man into her life with a seductive “Hello, Lover”, we’ll be seducing our new, potential leading characters to join us on our pages by saying “Hello, Sybil”.
Sybil? As in:
***Multiple personality disorder/Dissociative identity disorder, as in the character played by Sally Field in the 1976 movie which won Field an Emmy?
***Sybil, of thirteen different personalities?
***Diagnosis of a condition in which a single person exhibits multiple distinct personalities, each with its own, unique behaviors perceiving and interacting with the world around them?
YES!!! That Sybil!
Take a look at this definition from www.mentalhelp.net (yes...I’m not in denial that as writers, we need mental help...LOL!):
“Those with a personality disorder possess several distinct psychological features including disturbances in self-image; inability to have successful interpersonal relationships; inappropriate range of emotion, ways of perceiving themselves, others, and the world; and difficulty possessing proper impulse control. These disturbances come together to create a pervasive pattern of behavior and inner experience that is quite different from the norms of the individual’s culture and that often tend to be expressed in behaviors that appear more dramatic than what society considers usual. Therefore, those with a personality disorder experience conflicts with other people and vice-versa. There are ten different types of personality disorders that exist, which all have various emphases. Antisocial. Avoidant. Borderline. Dependent. Histrionic. Narcissistic. Obsessive-Compulsive. Paranoid. Schizoid. Schizotypal...For more information on each of these Personality Disorders, as well as other mental health topics, visit www.mentalhelp.net. Cause mental health matters...”
You’re darn right it matters!!! Could we not substitute (Those with a need or desire to be a published writer) for (Those with a personality disorder)? LOL! I mean come on...I personally exhibit at least half of the traits in that definition! How about you?! And just ask my DH...my mental health (and his for putting up with me) matters!!!
So how do we as writers/creative Sybils take stock of all the voices/characters talking to us?
My solution? Collaging: A WIP of Your WIP
How many of you collage now? If you do...terrific! If you don’t...perhaps give it try. Let’s see if we can make this technique work for corralling your muses OR make it work better (if you’re already using it).
Visual arts always trip my muses’ triggers. Interesting though, I didn’t think of applying the collage technique to my writing process ‘til I stumbled on Jennifer Crusie’s 2003 RWR article “Picture This: Collage as Prewriting & Inspiration”. You can find the article at www.jennycrusie.com/for-writers/essays/.
Like Crusie, I panic when I’m starting a new book – but, for me, it’s a good kind of panic. I make good on the challenge of creating my next book by finding the images, words and phrases that send my muses into hyper-drive production mode.
RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and author of over 75 books in the contemporary romance genre -- including BLAME IT ON PARIS and numerous bestsellers in over 20 languages around the world - Jennifer Greene aka Alison Hart says she doesn’t have an “artistic bone” so she’s “not looking to set-up anything fancy or gorgeous the way Jennifer Crusie does.” But before she starts a book, she “sits down with a heap of old magazines” and then “just plays.”
She picks out a house for her hero and heroine. Key room decors for each. Giving herself a visual of how her characters live, the colors they live with and how that works for their characters. Anything she’d have trouble remembering later, she gets a kind of “snapshot” of. She explained further:
“I find that something that slows us down is often filling in the details as we write...so if I have the book in mind, when I’m doing this collage – creation, I can pick up details right then. A picture of the heroine’s ‘mom and dad’. A treasure of hers. Something that typifies what her childhood was like, a picture from where she grew up.”
Jennifer puts all this on a corkboard then takes it down and “tosses it” after the book’s done. (Note: I keep my collages. I think Crusie does too.) Jennifer, however, doesn’t collage for every book, “but especially if (she’s) coming into a tough writing stretch, (she) finds it helps push the muse into gear.”
To understand my characters, I’ve got to first “see” them and their world. How do I do that? I’m a Magazine Ho! My mailman hates me! LOL! But while he’s stewing, my story is brewing thanks to the glossy-packaged images he stuffs to damn near shreds into my mailbox.
As I’m cutting, tearing and pasting these images to a foam core board, my muses are busy making sense of and connecting these fabulous fragments.
But here’s the thing. Somewhere between the collage for my last two manuscripts, my muses got overwhelmed. We’re talking complete sensory overload! Yes, they had every conceivable image they needed for my story, but they were at a loss as to how the hell sooooo many pieces fit together.
I stopped right there and put down the glue! What exactly did I have so far?
Well...I’d collaged a tad about my hero and heroine’s characterization and my Music City setting and my opening story question/hook “How can you build and run a celebrity empire with a baby on the way and paparazzi snapping away at your every success, misstep and dark secret revealed?”.
That’s it! That’s all I had on that board. Basically chapter one and two and part of three. I wasn’t overwhelmed. My mind wasn’t cluttered with fabulous, sparkling crap. My muses were relaxed and happy.
I actually heard their voices whisper between my ears “Okay, Sybil, pick out the images to finish chapter three, then show us your choices and inspirational pieces for chapter four, now we’ll help you get from one set of images to the next. We’ll use your collage as a WIP of your WIP.”
After listening to my muse squad (as you can imagine, listening isn’t one of my former strengths), I made myself a gin and tonic. Vermouth and voices. My kind of Muse Therapy! LOL! I chose my next chapter’s images as my muses instructed. I let the multiple personalities manifesting themselves with gusto in my mind show me the behaviors that would create my story plot and get my characters off their butts and benches. I unleashed my inner Sybil.
Now it’s your turn! Collage your way to your inner Sybil. Unleash the magic of your creative divas.
Get out your scissors, magazines and glue and be nice to your mailman!
You now know what makes your muses tick and what ticks them off. You’re indulging their word-producing whims.
But what if the feisty glam girls of your next bestseller are still pouting? What if they’re demanding you dig deeper to uncover their inner conflicts, make them work-it harder for your characters?
Perhaps you suffer from a few of the muse “disorders” I previously listed in the sessions that may sound appealing to you.
If any of the above has you written all over them, don’t worry. You’re among many creative goddesses battling the same devils...regardless whether or not we’re wearing Prada.
Throughout my Muse Therapy sessions, we explore each of these disorders. We divulge each disorder’s preferred behavioral manifestations then discover fabulous tricks to banish them from our writing kingdoms.
I hope to see you “in therapy” either during my online class sessions or live workshops. Check my website www.DDScott.com for dates and locations.
‘Til then...keep your muses happy. Pamper them silly. They’ll be glad you did and so will you.
Sexy, Sassy, Smart Muse Therapy Wishes --- D. D. Scott
P.S. If you post a comment and join my website mailing list and/or follow me on Twitter, you’ll be eligible to win a fabulous Muse Therapy treat!