My name is Jill Williamson. I am a novelist and book reviewer. My first book, By Darkness Hid, is book one is a series about a medieval fantasy world. I review books on my blog: Novel Teen. I’m thankful that Valerie asked me to stop by and write about working with my muse.
Having grown up in Alaska without a television for half my childhood, my imagination was something I relied on in my day to day play. My siblings and I created a city in the forest around our home. We rode our bikes through trails that represented a McDonald’s drive through, a bank, and a school. In these daydreams, I became a rock star, an actress, a dancer. My imagination was a way of escaping my reality an embarking on an amazing adventure.
Reading a book has always offered a similar experience. And the best way for me to create such an experience for my readers, or to get ready to write, is to daydream. I can be doing anything–”walking, cleaning, resting”–but at the same time, I’m dreaming up scenes and conversations. I always have a pad of paper close by, because once I’m happy with the scene in my brain, I scribble it down so that I can put it in the computer later. But this is not what inspires me. This is simply my method of moving the inspiration from my mind to paper or computer.
When I think of a muse, I think of the movie Shakespeare in Love and how he found his muse in another person. That’s not how it works for me. In the dictionary, muse is both a verb and a noun. The verb is: to think or meditate in silence, as on some subject. So my process of imagining out my scenes is really the verb form of muse.
The noun version of the word muse says this: any goddess presiding over a particular art. This is what Shakespeare felt for Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in Shakespeare in Love. While I don’t like the idea of going to any ‘goddess’ for inspiration, for fear such an act would create an idol out of that person, I cannot help but smile at this definition. For my true muse has always been God. I started writing fiction to tell stories that would reveal God’s truth to the reader. But God is my muse in that I relate all I know of him to my characters. I always ask myself, How can my characters learn this truth?
I am most often inspired by the Bible. As I read it, I find wisdom for my characters and parallels that I can use for their lives. Nothing inspires my like reading God’s word. It’s actually difficult for me to read it for me alone, these days, now that I’ve gotten into the habit of letting it speak to my characters. The Bible is the deepest, most entertaining and wise book ever created. It is the very breath of God. He is my muse, the only God who presides over my art of writing.
Valerie says: Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for a review of Jill’s novel, By Darkness Hid. I’m expecting my copy to arrive any day now! It’s been getting great reviews from the likes of Publisher’s Weekly.