Me: Who the hell are you?
Some 3" tall dude in polyester: Your new muse, call me Frank.
Me: What the hell kind of name is Frank for a muse?
Frank: Look, I didn't choose it. Now, do you want a muse or not?
Me: I already have one.
Frank: Been so long since the two of you worked together eh?
Me: Yeah. It happens though...get caught up in research, squashes creativity, that sort of thing.
Frank: Research squashed your creativity? That's one hell of a lazy muse who lets that happen. Guess it's a good thing she died then eh?
Me: She died? She couldn't have she's immortal.
Frank: Been going to the beach a lot?
Me: The lake, but what does that have to do with it?
Frank: Vampires, sunshine, nasty pile of ashes, that sort of thing.
Me: Ok, so now what...Frank?
Frank: Let's start with the basics. How often do you want to write?
Me: Everyday would be good. I'm hoping for 2,000 words or so, but I'd be happy with about 500 at this point. I really can't write that often because of the kids. I think better when it's quiet, so either late at night or early in the morning would be good.
Frank: Ok, good, good, don't interrupt you too much when you're dealing with the children but get in about 2,000 words. I'd like to try for a goal of 5,000 eventually, but this is a good start considering your time constraints.
Let's see, what about your genre? (checks his notes) Ah yes, I see, horror and I notice you prefer to write ones with a psychological bent to them but you're not adverse to blood and gore or bodies piling up. Is there anything in horror you absolutely won't write?
Me: Sex scenes, whether they're titillating or violent. Not because I'm averse to them, just that I suck at writing them.
Frank: Well, let's see if we can work on that. No taboos is good though, gives me a lot more leeway. How much research would you like to do for each story.
Me: None if I can help it (laughs), but if a story requires it I'd rather spend more time writing it than researching it. I have a tendency to get lost in the research and use it as an avoidance tactic.
Frank: Ok, would you prefer to write short stories or novels?
Me: Well, novels are where the money is at, so I'd like to have at least one of them going at any given time. Short stories however, are better for contest entries and writer's groups of one sort or another. Getting my name out there as it were.
Frank: One novel, at least, and a short story. Do you have any limits as to the maximum projects you'd like to be working on at any given time?
Me: I really haven't found a limit, but I'd really like to be able to feel like I'm accomplishing something, so basically not too much, not too little.
Frank: Not very specific are you?
Me: Sorry, but how many projects I like to work on really depends on my mood. That's the best answer I can give you.
Frank: Do you use any special tools?
Me: If you call a computer and some spiral bound notebooks special, then yeah. Otherwise, no.
Frank: Can you write while driving?
Me: I don't drive, but when my husband does I can write in short spurts, nothing too intense though, mostly WIP* notes and the like.
Frank: One last question before I just hang out in the background and whisper in your ear. How do you feel about mixing horror and humor?
Me: I think it's an absolute requirement, even for straight horror. I also like tales that mix the two so much that it's difficult telling where one ends and the other begins. Granted, it's crappy for novels, but it's fine for shorts.
Postscript: After this conversation, Frank woke me up at 3:00 in the morning with an amazing story. I wrote close to 15K on it before I came up for air. What a freakin' rush, but apparently he didn't listen to the "it's crappy for novels" part since it's most definitely a humor-horror piece. Oy! Muses! Can't live with 'em, can't write without 'em!
*For those of you who don't know, a WIP is a "Work in Progress"