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How to Drive Your Muse Insane in Three Easy Steps by Beth Daniels, aka Beth Henderson, J.B. Dane, Nied Darnell

It’s easy to drive those around you insane.

The first people you practiced this talent on were probably your parents and yet they still loved you. Maybe not “liked” you all the time since you knew what buttons to push, but the love was still there.


If you had siblings, they were your next targets.

If you had an older sister you might have raided her closet, used her makeup, told everyone she didn’t want knowing that she had a crush on a certain boy. With a younger sister, you thought up ways to get even for her doing all the things noted above, right? With older brothers, you might have tried tagging along on whatever adventures they were off to have with their buddies, been a shadow. Told on them when they did something the parentals would frown on. As they got older, it was ferreting out which girls they had a crush on, telling their girlfriends horrible (to the brother) stories about things they’d done when younger. Mothers and grandmothers, of course, had the franchise on showing baby pictures to those girlfriends. And if you had younger brothers, like I do, you trained them to be henpecked. Oh, they weren’t always “obedient” to what I told them to do, but they did learn to take instruction well from the female of the species. Only one of my sisters-in-laws wants to send her husband back to me for remedial training, and he was the youngest of the crop, so I probably slacked off in his induction to the way the world worked best. My second husband hadn’t had an older sister to train him, but he told his sons (my step-sons) that the best way to deal with any female was to say “yes, dear.” When the oldest said this to one of the girls he knew when in high school, she hauled off and slugged him in the arm. However, I don’t think his wife does, because I’m pretty sure he still says “yes, dear.”

It goes without saying that we know the best ways to drive our mates insane, though they do get compensation.


But this is about how to drive your MUSE insane.

What is a muse? Well, in the ancient Grecian formula (sorry, I can’t resist playing with words, even if the results makes everyone around me groan – all part of that driving insane thing – I’ve expanded my scope), there were nine females a Greek with quill in hand might text. I’m sure there was a way even before cell phones. Anyway, the girls were all daughters of Zeus, all had the same mother, all were conceived a day apart (really screwed up biology on Mount Olympus), and they were handed over to Apollo for training. He aimed their interests toward creating the arts.


Clio was into history and playing the guitar.

If you write historicals or have characters who are rock stars or just like strumming a bit, she’s the gal to go to.


Thalia was gung-ho for comedy and, oddly enough, geometry.

Well, maybe you need a good sense of humor to enjoy math. She also lists her interests on the dating site as architecture and agriculture. As the Greeks wrote comedic plays, it’s not surprising that she is holding a theatrical comedic mask in most of her selfies. If you write comedy of any sort from romantic to urban fantasy snark, she’s your contact.


Euterpe does the soundtracks, she’s all about music.

As all of these girls have other interests as well, she’s also involved with courses and dialectic stuff. She might be able to help with making your characters each sound a bit different but getting that flute away from her lips to understand what she suggests might be tricky.


Melpomeme goes the other way.

She’s all about tragedy, drama. Yes, the original Drama Queen was her best friend, ‘cause, you know, the Muses themselves aren’t queens. I understand she keeps a bat, and I don’t think it’s to play baseball with, though, who knows, bats may be good ball retrievers for night games. Mel’s the tootsie you might take tea with if you’re writing suspense, mystery, dystopian tales, or if you’re Shakespeare after Thalia kicked him out the door. It is so tempting to say she’s the creator of the Meme, but I bet Thalia came up with those postable goodies in revenge for Mel taking Will under her wing.


Terpsichore likes to dance so she’s our party gal.

But she also invented the harp and education. She’s your research source, though you’ll need to carry a notepad around with you as you ask her questions because she’s always got that harp in hand and her feet grooving to a tune. The harp makes breakdancing a bit difficult, but I’ll bet that doesn’t stop her from doing it.


Erato is the muse of love, love poetry and weddings.

When it comes to romance, she’s got a revolving door to swoop romance writers in and spit them out with a fresh set of sharpened quills. These magically morph into keyboards in the real world. This girl is into every type of romance you care to write and she thrives on “and they lived happily ever after”…or close enough to it.


Polymnia may very well wear glasses. She invented geometry and grammar.

As Thalia claims she also invented geometry, we may have a cat fight on our hands. But as Polymnia is the protector of divine hymns and mimic art, and invented the lyre (not the liar), she could join the band. We are, of course, all about using proper grammar (except in dialogue, of course) and since stories fall into niches, we’re all mimicking certain elements in stories. Poly’s not going to be telling knock-knock jokes, but she’s good to have on your side.


Ourania is the protector of both celestial objects and the stars.

That means she’s a geek, really into sci-fi and futuristic stories that take place elsewhere in the universe or, as Earth is a hanger on of a celestial object (“Hi, ya’ll. I’m the Sun.”) she could also help out on stories that involve Earth catastrophes: earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes or tornados, drought, floods, avalanche, extreme ice melt, pollution, meteors, solar winds, and the thing that threatens the planet the most, people. Oh, ‘Rany’s got a cool compass, too.


Calliope is the head muse.

Even Homer asked her for ideas when he was jotting down the adventures of Odysseus. She hangs around with princes and kings, stands by during negotiations as her specialty is justice (she could help with those mystery elements) and serenity (a satisfying end to the story, hey?). She’s really into heroic tales, so don’t be surprised if she pushs for the Hero’s Journey sort of story, and also likes rhetorical art – that, if you didn’t realize it, is the tricky manipulation of words to convince an audience to think the way you think – and we definitely want our audience to think of our story worlds as pretty real, don’t we?).

Okay, these are the “official” muses. But I didn’t say we were going to drive THEM insane. I said we were going to drive OUR MUSE insane.

As with everything, these nine gals are not languishing in those Elysian Fields. They’re up with the times. That means they delegate, out-source the muse work to the muses that are supposed to guide us as we spin tales.

I don’t know about you, but my muse is male. He tends to look like the hero of the moment. This makes me want to hang out with him a lot.


So, how does one drive their own muse insane?

#1 – Procrastination.

The muse is primed and ready to go but you’re finding excuses, ways to dilly dally.


#2 – Not having the least idea what the story will be about.

You gotta give a muse some guidelines. Just saying “I want to write a story about a couple named Jack and Jill and in the story they’ll go up a hill.” The muse needs to know if the hill is a metaphor, are they overcoming emotional or physical difficulties, how long is this story supposed to be, what genre does it fall under, is there a niche you’d like to snuggle into, is there a deadline, is there…well, I’m sure the muse has a lot of questions. Whether you have answers beyond “huh?” is another case.


#3 – Not making use of the wealth of information the muse generates in helping you construct a story.

It’s like they wasted their time fleshing all this out, coming up with the reasons why your character can do certain things or react certain ways. Picture them pulling at their hair. Visiting Bacchius’s liquor store.


Love this?

And that last one (not the liquor store but the rest) is what the upcoming workshop, PREQUELLING: HARVESTING BACKSTORY FOR FURTHER TALES (running April 1 through the 28th here at Savvy Authors) is all about.

Make your muse happy. Don’t just tuck the backstory elements in here in there, use them to write yet more stories! Oddly enough, there are lots of ways to do this.

Hope to see you in the virtual classroom. It is perfectly all right to bring your muse along. We won’t even charge extra as they’ll be sitting in their offices in our mind monitoring everything on their own electronic devices.


Visit Beth at,, or

Ravens Rest

When Holmes goes missing, Watson turns to PI Bram Farrell, aka The Raven, to locate and possibly rescue the world’s only consulting detective.

Unfortunately, the trail leads into the Brothers Grimm forest, a place with the reputation for being hungry…very hungry.

This prequel novella is the lead-in to the first Raven Tales novel, RAVEN’S MOON, due for release in October 2019.

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First published in the romance market in 1990 and went on to write over 30 books under a variety of pseudonyms and subgenres (romantic comedy, histori...