Where Were You When Your Muse Broke Free?

Tree HouseHave you ever wondered where an author was when s/he made the leap from reader to writer?

Would you believe my very first novel began in a tree house on the slopes of Mt Rainier? It’s true. I kid you not.

Dear Husband’s sister and her hubby were visiting the Pacific Northwest from their home in Colorado and had arranged for a stay in a tree house. They kindly invited DH and me along for the experience.

DLM-Tree HouseThere must have been something magical in that mountain air, because my muse broke free and gifted me with dreams of druids and dragons.

I snuggled in a hammock and imagined characters and plot. Mind you, I didn’t have a clue about story or craft, but ignorance is indeed bliss. If I’d known just how clueless I really was, I’d never have had the courage to begin this journey!

Less than a decade later I’ve published several novels and novellas, had my short fiction included in anthologies, attracted the attention of a NY agent, and started my own publishing company. Not a bad track record…and I’m just getting started.

Of course, the story I dreamed that day in the tree house has never seen the light of day—totally clueless writing rarely does. However, my muse and I have developed an awesome relationship and I’m delighted she decided to come out and play.

So what about you? Where were you when your muse broke free?

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About Debbie Mumford

Debbie Mumford specializes in fantasy and paranormal romance. She loves mythology and is especially fond of Celtic and Native American lore. She writes about faeries, dragons, and other fantasy creatures for adults as herself and for tweens and young adults as Deb Logan. Visit debbiemumford.com to learn more about her currently available work.

Posted on February 22, 2012, in about writing, Authors - Debbie Mumford and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Fabulous, charming story Debbie. Anything with a hammock in it (except the writing itself, of course!). I often wondered how all the ancient Greeks managed to write so much stuff, with only nine Muses to work with… overtime galore.

    My muse didn’t break free. She broke in.

    I have been aware of the Lands of Hope since at least 1979, but was only “playing” at my job, which was to chronicle them until mid-2008. The other witnesses, my close friends that outsiders would call “players”, kept urging me to set pen to paper (back then, children, we used pens when we wished to write something… yes, that’s right, filled with blood). But I resisted and kept on just “playing”- with maps, with painted figures, designing dioramas, everything else but. Then the game-part died out as everyone moved away and families began to grow.

    But when a close friend and crucial hero called in 2008 to ask me to play one more time, as a birthday present to his teen-aged SON, I was happy to crank up the machinery of the game again. Spent a marvelous weekend doing all the things I used to do- drawing terrain, positioning monster figs, singing ballads, creating props- and came back with a new perspective.

    The muse was in. I still didn’t think I could do it, but she was in charge of the nerve system now and I had to try.

    So far I have no complaints. Probably shouldn’t have waited.

  2. Great story, Will. Thanks for sharing!

  3. A tree house! How fun! Mt. Rainier is beautiful.

    For me, I can’t say I have a “moment of truth”. As long ago as I can remember, I would fight off sleep by telling myself bedtime stories. I’d fall asleep anyway and my dreams would usually continue the story. Nothing ever got written down from these, but I still do “sleep on it” when I need character or plot ideas.

  4. Oh, I agree! I’ve always told myself stories *lol* My muse breaking free was simply my ego letting go and allowing her to tell those stories in a form *intended* for public consumption. I’d been avoiding thinking of writing as something I could do…and I’d especially been avoiding thinking of myself as a WRITER. The tree house experience was when I gave up and gave myself permission to write.

  5. I was always a reader and a dreamer. “What if” was always running through my mind. Visions of stories danced through my dreams. Writing them down? Not so much.

    I wrote snippets here and there through the years, but never even considered publishing until I was in my late thirties. My husband encouraged me to send out my writing and I had some short stories and articles published, then a novel.

    Then being “safe” and “perfect” interfered.

    Years and years later I’m back into writing. Safe and perfect? Fooey on you!

  6. My Muse has always been there, and she insisted on being heard. I send my first ever full novel (75 pages, *blush*, written when I was 18) to several publisher. That was way back, when they still accepted unsolicited material. For a while, life took over (getting a degree can do that to you, as does marriage), but then my writing dream came back with a vengeance. ever since, I’ve been working on my dream.

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