Each year, in the spirit of challenging my writing skills, I like to submit an entry to the Florida Writers Association Collection Competition. Entrants need to write (a story or poem) to a specific theme and sixty submissions are chosen for their annual publication. The theme for the 2018 FWA Collection is
Where Does Your Muse Live?
Up to now, my writing journey has been hugely inspired by my family, and a lot of the interesting people I’ve encountered in my life. As I've mentioned before, people fascinate me! I’m incredibly intrigued by what people do, what they say, and mostly, how they feel.
I’m not sure, though, that all people are my muse.
What is a muse?
I found three common definitions of the word ‘muse’.
In Greek Mythology, The Muses were the Greek goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts.
A muse is also defined as a guiding spirit or source of inspiration.
Finally, the verb form of muse means to consider something thoughtfully and/or reflect deeply on a subject.
My muse is my inner child.
In most of my written work, regardless of genre, my inner child speaks to me and influences what I write.
Imagine a chatty little girl about ten years old, sprouting hair with pigtails and a giggle in her grin. When I’m trying to form words, this little chatterbox magically whispers in my ear.
T carries my emotions, experiences and all my life lessons with her. The good and the not so good stuff. Her grin fills me with happiness. Her heart reminds me when to feel loved and her voice inspires me to seek the truth of life.
Most of the time, T’s voice comes through in some of the characters I’ve created.
She definitely came to life in Emma from ‘Put Away Your Phone!’
Emma shares similar personality traits that Little T has- a smartypants who is kinda clever, humorous, and impatient.
She also inspired the gentle and super compassionate nature of Jamie in ‘Too Many Things!’
In contemporary terms, Little T is a Social Justice Warrior and wants to save the world one character at a time.
As mighty as she is, there’s a tragic side to Little T. I believe this has only made her more resilient and overcoming her past adversity is what gives her the courage and endurance to continue to inspire.
The most recent character I’ve created is all 'T'. Her name is Demi and she’s the protagonist in my new (unpublished) middle-grade novel called ‘Unplugged at Sea!”
Here’s the premise… Most ten-year-olds would love to be on a cruise ship for vacation, but Demi isn’t so sure. Her mom says there’s a swimming pool and hot tub. Only Demi struggles with her weight and being in a bathing suit feels so uncomfortable. Her Dad says the ship has everything she could possibly want…ice cream, a library, and even a Tween Club. But, what it doesn’t have is WiFi!
Can Demi make it a whole week without internet service? Will she feel comfortable swimming in public? At least, will she make a new friend to help her through this device-free holiday? Sometimes you need to get away from it all to figure out what matters most.
This work is still in the creative stages, but I think Demi will be my truest portrayal of Little T. She is just as innocent, vulnerable, and loveable as all T’s alter egos have been, yet there’s an even deeper realness in her voice that will hopefully speak to all kids aged 8-11 who have difficulty fitting in.
I’ve submitted ‘Unplugged at Sea’ to several agents, so cross your fingers for Demi to come to life and for another chance for my muse to be heard.
I promise you, it will be amusing!
Tracy Bryan writes whimsical books for kids ages 4-12. She likes to tackle important and diverse topics that affect kids and their families. She also writes a blog for adults and one for kids aged 7-12 called The Awesomeness Blog.
Visit her website welcome page, and on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.