Justine Larbalestier and Maureen Johnson have been debating the uses of muses, their very existence, whether they’re useful fictions or debilitating creations that plague those who come to depend on their mercurial inspiration. Says Maureen:

When writing goes well, it feels magical . . . but there is no magic to it. Writing goes well because you have done some work. You have spent MANY MANY MANY HOURS sitting at your desk, written pages and pages and pages of useless crap, read piles of books, done a lot more wrong than you have right, questioned your sanity and talent . . . and just kept going. No muse involved.

Muses Justine: Maureen is against muses. In fact, I suspect that she would advocate killing them:

(back to Maureen here) I hate muses . . . I mean, with the obvious exception of Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu. This idea that all you have to do is sit around and a muse lands on your head, dances around your desk, and whispers in your ear and BANG! BOOK!

Forget that. Get yourself a can of anti-muse spray. The things are credit-stealing parasites.

I’ve got an easy solution. I know exactly that of which my muse is composed, how to summon her, and how to keep her kicking even when she’d rather slip on some shades and head out to the Meatpacking clubbing district. The trick is caffeine and good music. You serve yourself a giant mug of something black and delicious and slip on headphones and play some new Beck or whatever floats your float and your muse will come. You play that music and your fingers will play over the keys like they’ve got nowhere else to go. Your muse will get all hypnotized and bemused, she’ll start to dance and twine herself about the beat and out the words will come.

It’s that easy. Caffeine and music=hot sexiness on the page.

Try it if you don’t believe me. Just be sure to thank me in your dedication when your book goes multi-platinum.