Words from the Otherworld: My muse and my villain.

My muse is a pesky thing. I know what he looks like, I know what he needs to remain nourished and fertile. I know his tastes. I know that he comes before just about anything and everything else in my life. I know that I have been in conversation with him since I was a very young girl.

Writing is my life and without my muse, there is no writing.

But I am under no illusion, that my process of working with my muse sends my co-writer and editors a little* insane.

I am a hybrid writer, I will outline a plot and then pants my way through. I am currently working on ‘Sweetest Tongue Sharpest Tooth’ with my co-author, and while we have the plot and approximately three quarters of it written, we had no idea who the villain really was.

I am writing the villain. Hrm.

So, the lynch-pin of the story was literally unknown. I knew what he looked like, where he lived, and what he would probably do. But these were all sketchy surface details.

Whenever the question came up my answer was always the same: trust my muse. He will unveil when he is ready. He is keeping the answer hidden for a reason.

And I was right.

Yesterday I stumbled across an image that inspired me in a way that went beyond words. It looks like an edit of some kind and I can’t find the source even with Google Image Reverse Image Search. I have included it below. In short, it is an image of Red Riding Hood being licked by the wolf. (Sweetest Tongue Sharpest Tooth is a re-imagining of Little Red Riding Hood.) The image is lush, dark, sensual, beautiful and depraved. And even though we are writing a m/m story, it immediately sparked an image of the villain in our story. I instantly knew how he would make his first real entrance into the story, the nature of his otherworldly terror, his motives, and his essence. I could feel him move through me as I wrote the words.

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His entrance is so subtle, chilling and utterly unexpected that I now understand why he had to stay hidden up until now. If I had known what was coming, the protagonists would have been prepared for it, and I would have been subconsciously writing towards it, leading the reader to expect what was coming. Whereas by having the villain remain hidden, even from me until now gave the character and the story a very real and fresh sense of fear and the unexpected. I can only hope that our readers feel this jolt of deliciously dark surprise and terror when they read Malick for the first time.

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Portrait of a Dead Man by Damien Mammoliti

 

 

 

*A fuck ton.

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