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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Writer's Muse

   
Author Topic: The Writer's Muse
Antinomy
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This is the opening of a 940 word story.
----------------------------------------
I could never understand all the fuss about writer’s muses. Muses, my eye, I’d be the first to stand up and say it’s all bogus; like the tooth fairy helping with your homework, or the Easter Bunny filling out your tax forms.
Good writing skills are honed from deep within; they don’t come from a spirit guide with an English degree looking over your shoulder. I scratch out my stories the hard way never asking for anyone’s help. But recently, an unexpected visit changed my way of thinking.

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snapper
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I don't believe I ever had the pleasure of reviewing your work. Here is what I think.

I could never understand all the fuss about writer’s muses.

This implies that the MC is aware of muses but doesn't subscribe to them, instead of not believing in their existence. He says it like "I could never unstand all the fuss about workshops.
Muses, my eye,
This would read better if you cut both commas and give it a period.
I’d be the first to stand up and say it’s all bogus;
Instead of it's all I would prefer they were
like the tooth fairy helping with your homework, or the Easter Bunny filling out your tax forms.
I do not understand this analogy. Why would you want the Toothfairies help with homework or expect the Easter bunny to fill out a tax form? At least Muses had something to do with art and writing.
I scratch out my stories the hard way never asking for anyone’s help.
This reads a litle clunky. Either it needs a comma between "way never", change "scratch" to "scratched", or change "never asking" to "and never asked"


as it is, I am not hooked yet.

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited April 02, 2008).]


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annepin
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I'm not hooked either. Part of it is as a writer I have a hard time getting into stories about writing. But also, I have some confusion:

I could never understand all the fuss about writer’s muses. Muses, my eye, I’d be the first to stand up and say it’s [bpthey're (since you're talking about Muses plural[/b] all bogus; like the tooth fairy helping with your homework, or the Easter Bunny filling out your tax forms. I like the humor here--esp about the Easter Bunny--gosh, I wish that over grown lagomorph would fill out my 1040s!
Good writing skills are honed from deep within; they don’t come from a spirit guide with an English degree looking over your shoulder.I didn't get this. Do muses have English degrees? I guess I tend to think of muses as the embodiment of some deep, internal urge. They embody freedom from the editor--this makes it sound more as if they are the critical voice I scratch out my stories the hard way never asking for anyone’s help. But recently, an unexpected visit changed my way of thinking.

The hook seems to be that this writer experiences something that makes him or her believe in muses. While the humor is fun, the premise doesn't really catch my attention. Maybe if you started with the incident, or foreshadowed something bizarre about it I might sit up and listen--er, read.


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Toby Western
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The piece is about a writer who discovers that the Muse is a literal figure rather than a literary figure?

First off, I liked the voice a lot: wry, but down-to-earth.

As Snapper remarked, “Muses, my eye” could do with a stop after it – I’d make it an exclamation mark, myself!

The second paragraph doesn’t work quite as well for me.

quote:

Good writing skills are honed from deep within

I’d scratch this. It sounds too “preachy” for the voice you use, and the rest of the passage gives the sense without it. If you keep it, blunter phrasing might help, “Great writing comes from within…”

Rearranging slightly to keep the rest:

quote:

I scratch out my stories the hard waycomma never asking for anyone’s help. They don’t come from a spirit guide with an English degree looking over your my shoulder.

Something in the last sentence doesn’t quite work for me, either – and this is probably the key line that leads into the rest of the story.

quote:

But recently, an unexpected visit changed my way of thinking.

Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t sound as dramatic as it might. Here is a strongly spoken, no-nonsense character telling us about something fantastic that happened to him. I don’t hear the drama and I don’t hear the voice as strongly as in the rest of the 13 lines.

I’d be glad to look over the whole thing, if you like.


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Toby Western
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By the way, if the story is about a writer who finds a real Muse, Neil Gaiman wrote a storyline based on this premise in Sandman ("Calliope”, published in “Dream Country”).

You might find it interesting if you haven’t already read it. Definitely adult themed, though.


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Merlion-Emrys
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I'll take a look at it as well if you like

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