Craft: Musing

The Muses (Mousai) were goddesses of song, music, dance and story. They inspired poets and where also the memory of knowledge. We have nine of them in later Greek mythology: Kalliope (epic poetry), Kleio (history), Ourania (astronomy), Thaleia (comedy), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (hymns), Erato (love poetry), Euterpe (music), and Terpsikhore (choral song and dance).

The 9 Muses

So while they inspired others, we can be inspired by other people’s creations in the same way.

I’m a big believer in using different inspirational sources to amp up my storytelling.  While there is reading (which always inspires me), I’m talking beyond the written word.

Just this past week, I have watched The Lord of the Rings again, and again marvelled at the imagery, the pace and the story telling. Yes, the story is JRR Tolkien’s but seeing it on the screen brings up so much more I can work with as awriter – especially for a quick boost. It combines all of the muses in a dance of story telling.

The Shire

To me, these films have really brought the story of Middle Earth to life in an awe inspiring way.  It’s showing not telling, and in this age of writing, this is a key element we are told to watch out for. Books of old were told in a different style. No less fascinating or entertaining, but more narrator based style- Tolkien, Dickens, Lewis, Austen.  While now with the audio-visual mediums of movies, TV, and the Internet, stories are more fast paced to go with our faster paced lifestyle.

The LOTR is epic (Kalliope) with a richness of world building supreme in literature as Tolkien created his own languages and an in-depth history (Kleio), where different lands have different views and ways; Hobbits being a folk who love a good party (Terpsikhore) and have a quiet life.  While others like the wizard Gandalf is more worldly and other-worldly (Ourania).

Aragorn and Arwen

In The Lord of the Rings books, the love story between Aragorn and Arwen is in an appendix. In the films their love (Erato) is in the forefront and woven into the tale, showing the motivation of the two characters; their goals and conflicts to be together. Their story is beautiful and yet tragic (Terpsikhore).

The battle scenes are amazing as the sound, sight and emotion creep up on you and you cheer for the heroes, laugh at their jokes (Thaleia), and cry over their losses (Polyhymnia). For those hours Middle Earth exists, it’s people real. It’s like a history that has never been recorded, rather than it being a made up world. And to me, this is inspirational.

The White City

I also watch the DVD extras- commentary and snippets on how elements were constructed in the story and in the world building, colours used, how characters were developed, why one idea was abandoned and another taken its place. I find the creative process fascinating, and it gives me an insight to different ways of working.  Ways, which may be a path for me to try.

So yes to me movies can be a way of juicing up our creative inspiration (as can TV, pictures, and music – i.e. Muses). They take us away to another world and let us return with a feel good sense, making us want to create our own worlds to hopefully resonate with others. It makes me want to pound out my own story on my keyboard.

The muses have jumped off the screen at me. No wonder I’m inspired!

Of course these two help inspire too 😉



So what other sources do you use? Have you a favourite Muse?

Leave a comment


  1. Eleni,
    I love the way you think!
    For me, it’s the Matrix Trilogy – and of course the lead actor – for world building etc.
    I too love watching the back scenes bits to see how the creators come up with such amazing ideas for plot and scenery. Thier story boards were literally out of this world, and isn’t that what we try to create as writers?
    Good luck with you writing,

    • Aww thanks Suzi re loving the way I think 😉 How did I know that The Matrix would be your Muse especially the lead :))

      Story boards are fascinating. I haven’t seen the behind the scenes of The Matrix, so I will add to the list.

      E x

  2. Eleni,
    the visuals in LOTR was amazing – and I too loved the Matrix (though felt the first was by far the better). I think visual aids stimulate the mind like nothing else, but then I tend to see things in my head, I don’t hear things like other writers do =)

    • Hey Mel,

      Yes both trilogies were amazing visually weren’t they. The Matrix is one of those story-lines that messes with your head 😉 I’m visual too – though music also is inspiring and I do ‘hear’ conversations- but with movies I think the whole package is what is magic- the imagery, the music, the dialogue, the settings, the costumes…. 🙂

      E x


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