Summoning Your Muse

Summoning your Muse

Did you know that your brain is hardwired to reply to the questions it's asked? That it won't stop questioning until it receives an answer? Here's how to make that very primitive part of your brain work for you.

Nothing summons a writer’s muse like the words, “what if?” Unless, of course, you’ve already answered that question and are obsessively asking yourself, “and then what?” This is when the muse kicks into overdrive. It's when the unconscious revs up and when the mundane suddenly takes on new meaning. You notice things. Your senses sharpen. You pay attention.

Write what you know, the experts say. Not always necessary but good advice all the same. After thirty-some years in the airline industry, I know a little bit about it. So when contemplating the premise of my second novel, Aloha Kiss, it was a no-brainer to come up with a story based on my experience. But what? How? Who?

Well, here's how it unfolded: Two unrelated things happened to me the same day. One, a fellow airline employee lost her manager’s job for no apparent reason, and two, I read an industry bulletin about a string of airline employees who were smuggling contraband aboard their company's aircraft.

Enter the muse; the questions came:

What if an airport station manager unknowingly stumbles onto a drug-running operation and subsequent murder but is unaware of what she’s walked into?

And then what?

Out of the blue, she gets fired and is given an all-expense paid holiday to Hawaii as part of her separation package.

And then what?

In the meantime, a shipment of contraband goes missing, and the kingpin - an executive with the airline - believes the station manager found out about the drugs and stole them for profit. The kingpin sends his con-man brother to Hawaii to seduce the truth - and the drug money - from her.

And then what?

The con-man falls in love with her.

And then what?

Well, you’ll have to read the book!

But I think you see what I mean? If you keep asking, "what if?" and "and then what?" in no time at all, you'll be writing - THE END.

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