06-18 Sarah Raplee – WHY PSYCHIC AGENTS?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanks for the Inspiration...

...even when it arrives after the book is finished!

by M.L. Buchman

Inspiration for a writer is a strange and tricky house guest. There are ways to attract it and make it a comfy place to visit, but it has a travel schedule all its own and the writer has to be prepared for that.

There is only one true way to prepare, already be writing when Inspiration shows up! Easier said than done? Gene Fowler would agree:
"Writing is easy. 
All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper 
until drops of blood form on your forehead."

But it is only by writing every day that we can be prepared for the visit. That way you'll already be moving when the idea shows up. 

My romantic suspense that is releasing in just 6 days is a perfect example of that (available for pre-order now, hint, hint).
I knew the heart of this book had to occur in Australia. But it was only when I reached Australia after a whole lot of words and sweat, that I understood that the Outback was both the metaphor and the curative for my hero's and heroine's hearts. And that it was only by passing beyond Australia that they could finally shed their shields and find each other.

Inspiration waited at a cozy pub down the road until after I'd written that whole section. What it did do, was it gave me the final scene, the Happy Ever After that tied up the neat knot.

There you are, innocently writing along when WHAP! Inspiration hits...and you feel like such a dork! My Dead Chef foodie thriller, released Nov 5th, definitely had that issue.
I had set off to write about murder in live-broadcast television kitchens, world-trotting adventure, and global political threats, when Inspiration popped up and insisted that it was set at a small, exclusive Scottish Castle Hotel that I'd never been to.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Fort William, Scotland
I had a sneaking suspicion that the Muse Calliope (of epic poetry) had been replaced by Thalia, the Muse of Comedy and they were both down in that cozy pub laughing at me. How in the world was I supposed to set a grand epic thriller in a remote Scottish castle? Well, thankfully, after 30-odd novels, I've learned to not second guess these peripatetic visits. Inspiration knew exactly what it was doing, even if it wasn't bothering to inform me (after all, I'm only the writer...c'mon ladies, please?). Ultimately the castle, the Rolls Royce, and even the chess set all became essential elements of the crisis. 

The ultimate joke Inspiration occasionally pays is putting in an appearance...after the book is finished!

Just last week I released my Night Stalker's Christmas novel.
I was working on the final copyedits to the final proof, when one of the military blogs I follow wrote an article about "Steel Beach Day." It is a day of relaxation on Navy ships serving far from home. It includes barbeques, sports, even beer. 

Panicked, I read the article and a dozen others references. I was worried because the key scene, the Happy Ever After in Christmas at Steel Beach, is a "Steel Beach" scene. I deeply feared that the Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, had visited my doorstep. 

Imagine my huge relief when I discovered that all unknowing, I had gotten it right. Inspiration had arrived after I finished the story, and it had still come out okay. 

...is the most powerful tool I know. I feel gratitude for my life as a writer, for the stories I get to tell, that my fans seem to enjoy them. 

And what I've learned? Giving thanks ahead of time is the very best Inspiration attractor there is!

Hoping you have a World's worth of Thanks to give every day!

M. L. Buchman has over 30 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.


Sarah Raplee said...

Matt, you are so right about inspiration being capricious! I and many other fans are glad it strikes you so often. Being disciplined enough to write regularly keeps the juices flowing.

Your new books all look so good, it's hard to decide which to read first.

Judith Ashley said...

I totally agree being grateful and giving thanks is the best Inspiration Attractor there is. I find Inspiration likes to visit when I'm going to sleep - just as I doze off or as I'm coming awake. I may have to try hanging out at a cozy pub to see if she can find me there. That sounds like it'd be fun!

M. L. Buchman said...

Thanks Sarah. I can't recommend where to start because I so loved writing them all. Did I mention that I have the coolest job in the world as a writer? :)

Judith, One of the tricks I do, especially if I'm feeling stuck or a pinch on a story, is as I go to sleep, I ask my subconscious to cook up a cool idea for me in the morning. It's amazing quite how well this works.