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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Three

The Taming of the Muse

Encouraging Inspiration Through Craft and Play

Paula Munier

When it comes to courting the muse, writers are as superstitious as baseball players. Rituals, icons, and talismans abound, all designed to stay on the good side of the muse, who when pleased will let you go with the flow, fire up your imagination, and ward off potential evils, like flat prose and plot holes and writer’s block.

Leo Tolstoy and Friedrich Nietzsche both insisted that the best way to summon the muse is to take a walk. William Burroughs wrote down all his dreams because he believed that his muse visited him while he was asleep. Ken Kesey’s muse was William Faulkner, whom he read to “get going” when he sat down to write.

Some writers beckon ...

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