Thursday, July 26, 2012

The power of the muse.

A muse is someone who has great influence on another, so much so that he or she becomes the inspiration for that person's creative work.

And oddly enough I just realized I have a bunch of muses.

I know… you’d think that’d be something I knew, right? Well, I kinda did, but I wasn’t sure why this particular person intrigued me so much until about three o’clock this morning when I clicked, he’s my current muse. Doh!
Then I thought about it.
For killerbyte and terrorbyte I had a muse - the same muse for both books.
For Exacerbyte and Flashbyte - I had two. Exacerbyte was mainly one muse but Flashbyte was a combination of the previous muse and a new one.  
(Discounting the importance of music when I’m working and how that influences my work…)

Traditionally men’s muses were women. Well I’m a girl, so that wasn’t going to work for me because I’m already in my head, I know how women work. What I don’t know so much is men.

Some of you know who the muse was for killerbyte and terrorbyte. I thanked him in the acknowledgments of killerbyte. Without Chadd’s input I would not have had such an insight into who Mac was and it wouldn’t have been as much fun, to be honest, writing killerbyte involved a lot of hilarious conversations and MUCH laughter. Being able to get into Chadd’s head a little bit made Mac a more complete person. And I was lucky to be able to say to Chadd… “this, this and this is happening, how would you react?” And he’d tell me. From that I got to know what drove him and who he really was. The result was Mac became a character people cared about.
FYI it’s not easy to top a character like that.

When I was writing Exacerbyte - the muse was different. The muse came to me while I was in Christchurch for a Bon Jovi concert. The Lost Highway tour. I was sitting in a park and scenes started to unfold that was when I realized there would be a concert in the book, by the time I got back to Wellington my muse was pretty well set as Jon Bon Jovi. He inspired the character Rowan Grange but then I had help from a fabulous source to round out my rock star and that gave me the opportunity to bring some different characteristics into play and to move away from Jon and see Rowan emerge as his own person. (If you read exacerbyte you know that Lorenza Ponce helped me hugely with character development and life in general touring with a band like Bon Jovi.)
But the initial inspiration for Rowan will always be Jon - and that made it easy in some respects, because there are an awful lot of pictures out there of him and also the movies he’s done, so facial expression etc are documented and having access to that amount of visual information makes my job easier - I can pretty much make the rest up as long as there is someone to give me a few pointers at the end like, this guy would be more daring, or more insecure or whatever.

Next: Flashbyte. This one is a tad tricky. Kurt has more of a role in this book, and it became obvious that I needed help with Kurt… to get in his head. Music had already made itself known when it came to Kurt. He’ll always be Kevin Costner and Modern West to me. But as I wrote more with Kurt I realized that there was more to it than music. How I saw him in fact was as a slightly younger Kevin Costner. Awesome! So, I watched a LOT of Costner’s movies and listened to a lot of interviews and music. I could get away with taking bits and pieces and cobbling those together to bring Kurt to life a little more.
So now, I’ve got muses for Mac, Rowan, and Kurt… and they don’t leave, every time that character turns up in a scene they’re right there for me to tap into.
Can you see how this could get a bit crowded?

Then along came Soundbyte (if we’re lucky you’ll see that in 2013), Soundbyte is a team effort. So I have my sketchy muses for Lee and Sam, the more detailed Kurt and Rowan muses, and a new one. Because that’s how it worked out.
Only the new one isn’t his own character yet… he’s still himself. (Try to fathom that, why don’t ya.)

And now… I’ve just finished working on a kiwi novel called Nothing Happens Here. As I was re-working a character in that manuscript it became apparent that he’d completely morphed into someone else. That surprised me, because he seemed a little similar to a new character in the ‘unnamedbyte’ novel. There has never been crossover like that before. With a little more work and time I realized they definitely not the same character but they have the same muse and again he’s got a lot of work out there which makes it a bit easier for me (also he was awesome earlier this year and answered a bunch of my odd questions, because once again… I don’t know shit about what he actually does, I only see the result).
Eventually you will all read the book and without knowing who the muse is, you probably won’t recognize him. Except they have the same occupation. My muse for a new character in the ‘unnamedbyte’ is Mark Valley, his character is an actor, and he’s related to one of the main characters in the _Byte Series. The character is fun, I wasn’t sure at first but he’s really come along nicely and he may stick around, I don’t know yet.

It’s kinda fun writing and knowing who the muse is. It’s weird having two different characters with the same muse.

Wow, massive blog post. J
 I feel like there should be pictures! I can't post any of Chadd, because the photos I have are not on my laptop. 

Here's an image of Jon Bon Jovi - kinda similar to how I see Rowan in Exacerbyte

And Kevin Costner from the Bodyguard, pretty close but not quite Kurt in Exacerbyte:

And the new characters, for whom the muse is Mark Valley.
As I imagine Ben from Nothing Happens Here.

And as I see Steve from unnamedbyte

Fun. Big fun.


Melissa Bradley said...

Very handsome muses indeed. I have different muses for each story as well. I put up their pictures and write to them. It's great because it helps me see my story as a movie in my head.

Cat Connor said...

Thanks for dropping by Melissa. Interesting that you see your stories as movies too.
I'm a visual person (so it seems) so I see my stories and write what I see. :)

I see you...

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