Book Review: The Pocket Muse

This week’s review is not just a book review, but a bit of a muse too. (You’re getting a two-fer!)

Sometimes writers need to read in their own genre to brush up on what’s ‘fresh’. Sometimes we need to read things we’d never think about writing just so we can give our brain a break and enjoy just reading.

Sometimes we need to read books about the craft. We’ve got how-to’s and maybe-try’s and don’t-even-think-about-it’s all on our shelves telling us just how to pursue our personal craft. But sometimes we just need something that sparks, for no other reason than simply getting that fire going again.

Enter the Pocket Muses.

I discovered these little treasures about 2 years ago, but only recently have I put them to good use. Author Monica Wood has filled these pages with unique photographs, tips and advice, inspirational quotes, writing prompts, and more, all to get your muse out of a slump. These are probably my favorite books on my writing reference shelf, because they never fail to get me working again.

In fact, one of the short stories I am currently writing was actually born from a prompt I found in the first Pocket Muse. I found myself sitting at the computer one evening this last fall, eager to start a new project, but none of the ideas I had felt ready for pen and paper yet. They were all still simmering. So I began absent-mindedly flipping through my Pocket Muse when I came across this prompt:

“Fill in the blank: When I first told my family about __________, they didn’t believe me.”

Well wouldn’t you know it… there was an idea. Staring me down. I could hear the Western music in the background as I glared at that idea from across the corral, daring it to run and hide. But it stuck to me worse than static cling wrap.

Now you’re probably wondering just what I used to fill in that blank. The answer? Well, let’s just rewrite it as an opening line…

“When I first told my family about the dead bats in the dishwasher, they didn’t believe me.”

Don’t ask me where the dead bats came from. I can’t always be responsible for the strange dark alleys my mind meanders down.

What was your first thought for filling in the blank?

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10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Pocket Muse

  1. Considering the high fantasy i write in, it isn’t easy to come up with a fill but…

    When I first told my family about the glowing doorway, they didn’t believe me.

    I could just see the reactions of several different characters coming into play as the one who is talking tries to explain what they saw.

  2. I’ve never used a writing prompt but what a great idea.

    Reading in the genre we wish to write in is so important. It took me awhile to figure that out but once I did it made a world of difference. I think it is something that can’t be stressed enough to new writers.

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