The muse is a fickle _____

All writers have  love-hate relationships with our respective muses.  We love it when they sit on our shoulders and guide our typing towards brilliance.  We hate it when they lead us down dead ends. And we go comatose when they disappear.  There is nothing worse than an AWOL muse for a writer–because then we can’t write.  Or so we tell ourselves.

penWriters Block it’s called.  I’ve had a severe case this past month, and only now beginning to shake it. Normally when the muse takes a knee, I resort to the more left brain aspects of writing: research, editing, and rewrites.  Eventually the muse takes pity and returns, or maybe she just dislikes the tedious aspects as much as I do.

So I did all that.  Got every one of my short stories cleaned up.  Bounced around the internet jotting down factoids.  Crawled through Writers Market updating my list of agents.  Still nothing.

So I started throwing ideas for new stories at the proverbial wall, to see what might stick.

Queen Méabh the Novella

    • 5000-year-old faerie queen takes over Ireland
    • Basically expand my short story “Queen Méabh” into a novella.
    • Opening line (draft (really rough)):The opening of King Tut’s tomb cursed two archeologists.  The opening of Queen Meabh’s tomb cursed half the world.

Beyond the Pale

    • Faeries return to Ireland, throw out the English and bring back the snakes
    • Two variants, one fantasy and one horror
    • I’ve managed 2K words on the fantasy variant
    • Opening line (draft (really rough)):

Cormac wasn’t certain which he hated more, faeries or snakes.  .

  • The Valkyrjarna: The Choosers of the Slain
    • Not really about my beloved valkyries, this is a ghost detective story which may or may not include Hildi and Nishi again

Dax McPherson was too old to be repelling down the face of a darkened office building a few hours before dawn.

Giant Bones

  • Archaeologist uncovers the bones of a not-so-ancient frost giant who may or may not come back to life (yeah these ideas are half-baked)
  • First paragraph

There should not have been any bones left in the three-thousand year old burial mound.  Nor should the femurs be three feet long each.  Yet there they were, gleaming white as if they had been freshly picked clean by a flock of crows.  Giant crows.

Valkyrie in Tights

  • One of the thirteen modern valkyries goes a little wacko and thinks she’s a superhero
  • Just a concept , but could be fun to write

Valkyries on Mars

  • Valkyries might make really good astronauts, especially if there are aliens to fight
  • Just a quarter-baked concept

Mercury Revolt

  • Mercury is colonized and then the Earth attacks
  • Not even a quarter baked, plays off my Gjerdahl reactor concept from “New Svalbard”


  • When the Swedes refloat the Vasa in the 1960s, a long-lost artifact is uninterred from the frigid depths
  • Opening paragraph (that’s all I got)

The Swedish warship Vasa set sail on August the 10th in the year of our lord, 1628, to conquer the world.  The ship capsized in full view of the citizens of Stockholm in modest winds.  Four hundred sailors, the captain, and a valkyrie went down with the ship. The valkyrie lived.

To say none of these has really stuck is an understatement, but frankly just writing this all down in a blog is therapeutic.  I have put down a couple of thousand words on both “Beyond the Pale” and “The Valkyrjarna” now, so we’ll see if all this summons that fickle muse back to my shoulder, where she belongs.

Open to any opinions on all this from friends, readers and fellow writers.

CR Hodges

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3 Responses to The muse is a fickle _____

  1. How about being political here since it’s in the public eye with Scotland at the moment.
    “Cormac wasn’t certain which he hated more, faeries, snakes or the English”
    It sounds as if your muse is playing with you, practicing ideas until the right one falls into place. That’s no bad thing. My muse plays with me and arrives full blast just at a time when it’s difficult to write it down. Hope yours returns and you greet him or her like a long lost friend and have a ball!
    I’m English by the way….Good luck

  2. crhodges says:

    Yeah she’s playing with me, not sure if in a good way. So I throw ideas back at her, which she mostly dodges and laughs.

    Thanks for the suggestion on the opening line variant. I wrote another 1K words or so on that one over the weekend, still not sure where it is going, and been puzzling how to deal with the English part without being cliche.

    For the record I’m an eighth Irish, an eighth Scottish and 3/8 English, so I try to see all sides of the struggles. That said, gotta admit I favor hanging in a pub in County Cork over one in Birmingham, sorry. And let’s face it, an 800 year old feud is always good fodder for creative writing.


  3. crhodges says:

    Block busted. I added a helhest–a mythical creature from Denmark, a hell horse–into the Vasa storyline and suddenly the muse (she must be Danish) was urging me on. I’ll be staying up late the next few nights.

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