Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs

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Muse Fiction

Please welcome, Deirdre Murphy (aka [info]wyld_dandelyon*), joint winner of this year's Meager Puddle of Limelight Award for Best Short Story Title, who's stopping by to tell us a little about 'Muse' Fiction.


So what exactly is 'Muse' Fusion?
Harlan Ellison did a series of "stories under glass" in which he sat in a bookstore window and wrote a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Elizabeth Barrette (aka [info]ysabetwordsmith), another Torn World writer and our Torn Tongue teacher, has been doing “Poetry Fishbowls” in LJ on the first Tuesday of the month for some time now. I love her poetry—and I’m impressed by how many poems she can write in one day.

Based on her success with the Fishbowls, shortly after Torn World opened to the public, we decided to try something similar, but the name was a problem, since we do fiction, poetry, mythology, art, and metafiction. All that plus fishbowl is a mouthful! Someone suggested Muse Fusion, because our readers get to be our muses for the day, and the name stuck.

We started with a 12-hour time period for creating, but we have writers and artists in various time zones. With just a part of one day, we found that no matter when we scheduled it, people had conflicts with important things, like sleep! So now we do the Muse Fusion over a weekend.

You say people act as your Muse—how does that work?
People can ask questions, offer titles, topics, or even just a list of words. Sometimes people say they would like to see more of a particular character or ask to see how one of the Empire’s odd laws affects the people there. Then each Torn World creator who’s participating uses one or more of those prompts as a jumping-off point, and makes something new and lets people know what they’ve wrought. Then, time permitting, they pick another prompt. I find that I most often find inspiration in a combination of prompts, like there’s some mysterious alchemy—a fusion, so to speak—happening in my mind.

So, can anyone write about one of your characters in Torn World?
Yes, but with rules. Many of the characters I create, especially the bit characters, are not “adopted” characters. If someone else writes about my characters, I have to approve of the portrayal or the story cannot become canon, and likewise, if I write about someone else’s characters, I have to get their approval. It sounds complicated, but in practice, it’s usually just a few edits to tweak things into shape.

When is the next Muse Fusion?
It will be this coming weekend (of June 24th). You’re all welcome to stop by our LJ community
([info]torn_world) and check out the event. If your prompt is used, you’ll get to see the first draft, usually before anyone else, even if the story is otherwise reserved for subscribers to the site.


Deirdre M. Murphy is a writer, musician and artist. She’s spent most of her life squeezing creative pursuits into whatever nooks and crannies of “spare time” she could create. She lives in a big old Victorian house surrounded by different varieties of rose, mint, herbs, and a bit of grass sprinkled liberally with dandelions.
When she was a kid, she wanted to learn everything, and read all the science fiction and fantasy ever written. As an adult, she realizes that’s not a realistic goal, but she believes in dreaming big.



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