I thought it would be a good idea to write down the various muse-boosters that help with the writing process though, for my reference as well as for anyone's interest.
Main Character Muse
Having a face to put on my characters is VERY important to me, it gives me something for my imagination to latch on to and 'picture' while I write. Having said that, my muse for my main character Nis'ku comes largely from the avatar that I've been using for the past five years, Sarah Wayne Callies. If I'm ever running out of muse I watch something she's been in, which is most often Prison Break, but also Whisper (2007), and Tarzan (2003). Looking at photos of her in various roles, as well as candids and photoshoots 'off the set' gives me a lot of inspiration for Nish (like personality, habits and mannerisms, background, etc), as well as a visual representation of the character I'm writing about. If my book was ever to be a movie, the character Nis'ku would have to be cast with her, or no one. That's it *lol*
My muse for the secondary character 'Max' (she will be renamed and reworked quite a bit, but I'm still calling her Max for now) actually started as being loosely based on Jessica Alba's character 'Max' from the TV show Dark Angel (2000). I rewrote the character to fit the board's setting, but she quickly became one of my favorites and I ended creating several story arcs with her. She will, again, be heavily re-written for the novel, but the same basic feel of the character will be there (I hope!) Because her character is a teenager and Jessica isn't, I wouldn't demand her for a movie, if such a thing happened. She could easily be recast, but she'll always be Jessica Alba to me ^_^
Other characters were cast as well. For the role of Rob, Nish's brother, I (or rather, my loverly Cylent who graciously played him for me) chose Karl Urban (with Mark Wahlberg as a close runner up), her abusive boyfriend Stephen was/is played by Josh Hollaway, her co-star from the movie Whisper. Other characters (created by other players) had their own avatars too that I'm attached to, but none so much as Nish and Max ^_^
Secondary Character Muse
Music! Ohh how well music and lyrics aid in character development and inspiration! I always load my iPod with music appropriate to what I'm writing. I've found that now that I'm working on the novel I'm favoring more mellow and alternative stuff like Moby and Franz Ferdinand. When I'm doing the actual writing part I put on soundtracks (current favorite is the score from The Fountain by Clint Mansell, and Hero by Tan Dun). Moby works well for that too ^_^ Lyrical music is good when the lyrics match up with the emotions I'm writing in any given scene, though I usually listen to that while doing other things, gathering muse for later writing. Right now, one song is stuck in my mind, and I think I'll need to aquire the rights to use it as quotes thruought the book (if I ever get published, that is lol). The lyrics to 'Lovers Walk' by Elvis Costello are perfect for the different parts of the book, and I'm just itching to use them. That song is a great muse booster for me whenever it comes up in my playlist ^_^
Other Sources of Muse
If I'm stuck on something, discussing my plot problems with a friend almost always helps. Often times a fresh pair of eyes helps solve things that I just can't figure out for whatever reason. Or the other strategy is to leave it alone and sleep on it - or even leave it be for a day or two and come back to it. Spending too long with the same thing can make it difficult to know what to do next, and that happens a LOT (especially when writing on the RPG board my characters came from). Also, researching something that is in the novel (addiction, wilderness schools, etc) generates a LOT of ideas, really getting me into the story and setting so that when I write it feels as if I'm actually 'there'. I like to say that writing is just like acting, without the body movements, because it's so similar. Creating, being in that moment...the only difference is, I write it down.
So that's it! I guess I have to go back to work now ^_^ I plan to write at least a little tonight, so I'll let you know how it goes.