If you know me well, you’ll hear me refer to “the boys in the basement.” Everyone knows what a muse is, a little fairy that sits on our shoulders and helps when we authors get stuck. I had read something Stephen King wrote declaring there was no muse, but “boys in the basement.” Sometimes “the boys” work overtime for me when I’m stuck with a scene that doesn’t want to do what I want it to do. I find if I go to bed at night, “the boys” will work it out. Let me tell you what Mr. King says about “the boys in the basement.”
Stephen Kind said in his book, On Writing: The Memoir of the Craft, “There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement kind of guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think it’s fair? I think its fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist, but he’s got inspiration. It’s right you should do all the work and burn all the mid-night oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. That’s stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me, I know.”
As James Scott Bell says in his Revisions and Self-Editing for Publication it’s your subconscious that takes over when you sleep. Like Mr. Bell, I’ve been worried about a scene, or the whole book and after a good nights sleep, everything seems so clear the next morning. I’ll write it down, because I seldom get to the computer first thing in the morning. I’ll wonder why I didn’t think about that sooner.
My “boys in the basement” are good workers. They work hard to help me when I need them. When my husband always knows when I’m thinking about a plot or a scene, and the next morning he’ll ask, “Did the boys work last night?” They even help me with this blog and the podcast. I’m happy to have these boys.
I’ve meant to say something, and the boys haven’t helped me until I hit “Publish.” (They like to play tricks sometimes.) I also have a street team. It is private, but if anyone would like to join, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be glad to add you to the list. You’ll get an inside seat as I write my next novel, Nothin’ Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley.
Kathy Cretsinger. https://mantlerockpublishingllc.com