Some stuff before Weird Idea Wednesday...

The Weird Idea Wednesday post will come later today, but for now I just figured I'd post a little update...


I'm still waiting to hear back on a lot of the queries I've sent out. Hence the reason why most of my Twitter posts have been me staring/ranting/cursing at my Yahoo inbox over the past week. Apparently I'm an impatient person--news to me. So that's not what the update is about. Since I've finished Revision #6, and Revision #6 is the first in a trilogy, I thought, Might as well get started on the next one. Because I love this story and I'd like to see it finished, regardless of whether or not any agent wants to represent it.

So Book 2 has begun! I'm two chapters in already--I'll post the dates on the "Journey So Far" page. (Ooh, that's a good idea, a page for dates...)

MUSIC & WRITING MONDAY #1: Why I can't have one without the other

I know a lot of published writers get questions like: "Do you listen to music when you write?" or "Does music inspire your writing?" The answers are, like many answers to questions like these, always different. Some writers need absolute silence. Others need music so loud they can't think.

I've always been one of those people that veers toward the Can't Write Without It end of the spectrum, but it's more than that. Music helps me develop my plots and my characters, but whenever I listen to music, I can't not think of my writing. Every song I listen to makes me think of some character, or some scene, or some story element. I can't write without music, but I can't listen to music without thinking about writing.

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Here are some of the songs/artists that I listened to most while working on Revision #6.


1. PENDULUM 


Holy shit, I love these guys. Pendulum is a drum n' bass group from Perth, Australia. Drum n' bass, if you're confused, is like techno but better. (In Layman's terms.) And Pendulum has been ridiculed a bit, I've heard, because they incorporate rock guitar and more steady lyrics/melodies than traditional drum n' bass. I think they're the fucking bee's knees. 


The first Pendulum song I ever heard was Hold Your Colour. It blew my mind. Then I found things like Propane Nightmares, The Tempest, Mutiny, The Other Side, Girl in the Fire, and Granite. Then their album Immersion came out, and I wept tears of undying joy.

In short, I love Pendulum. They meet all my high-octane science-fiction needs.


2. COLDPLAY

Mmm, I sure do love me some Coldplay. They've got that bittersweet mellow sound that makes you want to lie back and look at cloud shapes all day. (Talk, Clocks) They've got songs that make you want to bawl your eyes out. (Fix You, The Scientist) And then they've got songs that make you smile involuntarily. (42, Strawberry Swing)

Coldplay is the relaxing lazy river ride to Pendulum's fifty-foot-high waterfall. They create the novel's atmosphere. They're a field of daisies on a warm summer day, and that feeling you get in your chest while you're watching fireworks.


3. ULRICH SCHNAUSS


I'm just going to warn you right now, this guy is definitely an acquired taste. His music is mostly electronic, known to some as "shoegazing" (because performances mostly consist of him standing in one spot, looking down at a screen/keyboard, so it looks like he's gazing at his shoes). But if you're really into atmospheric music with few/unintelligible lyrics, you should look into Ulrich Schnauss. The guy's a beast.

Some of my favorites of his: Goodbye, Fahrenheit, and most of all for Revision #6, Stars.

Note: Listen to this stuff while you're trying to go to sleep. It's like an electronic lullaby.

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Now for other songs that helped with Revision #6....


"COSMIC LOVE" - FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE


I've never listened to Florence and the Machine before this, but my God is this song beautiful. It takes you on a fucking adventure. Try to listen to this song and not want to stand on a cliff edge at night with the waves beating the rock face and the Milky Way stretched out overhead and your arms flung out like you're going to fly. This is music, friends. This is exactly what I was talking about. This song created the idea that changed the plot and paved the way for Revision #6.

"S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W" - MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE


If I ever get published, this is probably going to be asked, so I'm going to head it off right now: NO, THE TITLE OF THIS SONG IS NOT WHERE THE TRILOGY NAME CAME FROM. 'Kay. Now that we've got that out of the way, I'd just like to say that this song is perfect for Revision #6 because of its dry, affected edge. Plus it has that great dual meaning with love and war. And the line, "Love won't stop this bomb."

Some day, I will make a poster for my series with the title, "Love Won't Stop This Bomb."

"TO LOSE MY LIFE" - WHITE LIES


To Lose My Life is one of those songs that you're not quite sure what you're listening to at first, but then you get to the end of it and you're sitting there drooling and trying to pick the remnants of your brain out of the mass of steaming entrails you left on the floor. This song wasn't even for my main characters--it was and is for a beloved secondary character whom I always picture singing the song--but it seems to fit a piece of every character in Revision #6. They all did something they're not proud of, and they want to cleanse themselves of it.

Another great White Lies song? "Bigger Than Us." I have no fucking clue what it's about, but it blows my mind every time.

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Wow, this post ended up a lot longer than I thought. I see music as an important, almost inseparable part of my writing process. Music and writing are one and the same because they're both rooted in emotion. I can read or write something and feel deep emotion from it, and I can listen to music and feel deep emotion from it, so the two become intertwined.

How does music affect your writing? Or does it? Or what do you even think about when you listen to music, you weirdo, if you don't think about what I think about, because obviously everyone in the world needs to THINK. LIKE. ME. *shot*

(For the record, I was listening to Pixie Lott's "Boys and Girls" for the duration of this post.)

FUCKING AWESOME FRIDAY #1: Cuss words

You know what's fucking awesome? Cuss words.

I don't use them all the time. I use them when they're needed. When it would be difficult to fill that vocabularial gap with anything else. When I accidentally shove a carpet staple under my fingernail and I really just need to yell "SHIT!" at the top of my lungs.

Cuss words get across emotions that it would otherwise be very hard to convey. I don't like using them as nouns (save for Hell and maybe fuckery) and there are some words that I just won't say because they make me want to wash my own mouth out with soap. I like cuss words because when you use them right and not too often, they can have even more of an effect than any other word.

I understand when people don't like using cuss words. That's cool, it's your vocabulary. I also understand not cursing while you're around customers in your place of employment, or when small children are around. But I do not, for the life of me, understand why people insist on telling others not to curse. Like, really? Are we really doing this? THEY'RE MY WORDS. If I want to say 'fuck', I'm going to do it. Not around customers and not around children and probably not around my parents or the elderly, but I'm going to say it.

But yes! I love cuss words. I think they're brilliant. They're ingenious. They're a way to express ourselves through words. They're wonderful and I love them.

And So But Then...

You know that weird feeling you get when you realize that your blog has no structure? Like someone just actually beat you over the head with a wet noodle and you can't quite grasp the fact that they did. Yeah--that's where I'm at right now.

So I'm giving this blog STRUCTURE. I heard something called "themes" was a good way to do that. Picking certain things to blog about on specific days of the week and then giving them alliterative names, or some nonsense like that. So I thought, hey, that'll keep me on track! Sounds like a good idea.

SO! From now on, I'll do my best to post Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

MUSIC & WRITING MONDAY

In which I talk about, well, music and writing. I usually can't have one without the other. I like exploring how music influences the way we think and, at least for me, the way our imagination functions. I might just talk about music, I might just talk about writing, and I might just talk about both together.

WEIRD IDEA WEDNESDAY

I have a lot of weird ideas. Like the perfect cookie. A lot of weird ideas go into my books. (What am I saying? A lot of weird ideas ARE my books...) I figure, being forced to think up one weird thing a week will keep me on my toes. Usually I don't have to force myself to think of weird things, it just sort of happens, but as a precaution...

FUCKING AWESOME FRIDAY

Yep, I said 'fuck'. And it's going to be in the title of my Friday blog posts EVERY WEEK. I think a lot of things are awesome, but as a nerd, I like to get extra fanatical about them. Like fonts. Or Christopher Walken. Basically, Friday will be my day to let my inner nerd roam free. (Haha, as if I don't do that every day.)

Yes! We're goin' goin' goin'...
...going to wait for that email.

See you tomorrow for the VERY FIRST FUCKING AWESOME FRIDAY.

On how much I hate waiting.

No but really, I hate waiting. I'm a patient person, but waiting for this email is like gouging a little piece of my heart out every day with a teaspoon. I don't even care what kind of response I end up getting, I JUST WANT A RESPONSE. I want to know if I should stick around or move on.

*breathes fire*

Pah. I hate waiting. I'm sure you all hate waiting on emails like this, too. So here are some things to do while you're waiting.

1. Get a hobby. I like video games, drawing, reading, and *LE GASP* writing. So I do those things to pass the time. Take up, I dunno, cooking or something. You might get fat, but then you can just take up exercise.

2. Get a job. You might hate it, but one ten hour shift and BAM. Day = gone.

3. Sleep. Actually, it's probably not the best idea, and if you're trying to sleep when you're not tired you're not going to be able to sleep and then you'll just get frustrated and have to go back to whatever mundane hobby you chose.

4. Do something with friends. Call someone up and ask them if they want to go see a movie or go out to eat or something. There's so much shit to do in the world, I'm sure you can think of something. (Although your friends might hate you for being so out of it--THE EMAIL STILL HASN'T COME.)

5. Write nonsensical blogposts that are basically just you rambling about what you do when you're waiting for an important email but you're just doing it so that you can waste time until your important email comes and then you add that into the blogpost because it's ENTIRELY RELEVANT. Hmm....

*crawls back under rock*

Some Art While I Wait For An Important Email


I've really got nothing particularly interesting to say at the moment, so here's some Revision #6-related artwork. (It's that lineart from before, only colored. Finally got around to it.)

Ba-dum...ba-dum....ba-dum ba-dum BA-DUM BADUMBADUMBADUM--


Suspense. How did I only learn about this wonderful thing a few short days ago? Sure, I knew that stories need SOME sort of suspense, but I didn’t understand exactly how to create that gut-twisting, page-turning, I-think-I-might-throw-up-but-I-really-can’t-stop-now SUSPENSE.
The stakes need to be high. If you really want that awful, wonderful, bittersweet suspense, they need to be HIGH. In any other story, the darkest moment occurs when the MC has lost/is about to lose their ONE DESIRE. Their reason for being. Their over-arcing goal. But with this suspense, they have to lose everything. EVERY. THING. 
You know what that means, right? 
Right. DEATH.
(Actually, I’ve found it works better if you don’t threaten the MC with death, but the person the MC is closest to [especially if your audience loves that character].)
To be totally honest, there are plenty of ways to instill that ultimate sense of suspense in your story that don’t involve death. Death it just one of those things that the majority of the reading population is afraid of. It’s the easy suspense generator. What happens if your MC doesn’t stop the bad guy? SOMEONE DIES.
Using death as a suspense tool isn’t wrong or right. If it’s done right, it can make the reader want to tear their hair out as they devour your book. If it’s done wrong, they’ll probably laugh at you. Like anything, I suppose, it just takes practice.

IT IS DONE.

Dear world, I have successfully completed Revision #6. After a bit of critique and some cutting and stitching, it is done. Here are the final counts.

Words: ~82,400
Chapters: 22

I'm quite happy with it. Tomorrow I'll skip off to the store to buy more printer ink. Editing will begin, probably interspersed with a little agent research and query pondering. But first editing. Always.

So, how do I edit? Well, this time I think I'm going to cut it into a five-step process.

CHESSIE'S FIVE-STEP EDITING 

 STEP ONE: PRINT OUT YOUR MANUSCRIPT. I know it's tempting to just edit on the computer screen. And maybe that really is easier for you. But I like having the hard copy. I like being able to see the words on the page and mark them up with my own hand instead of a cursor and keys. It's like looking at a picture. When you have it on your computer screen, you can only see small sections at a time. But when it's printed out, you can see it as a whole. It gives your mind a sort of freedom you can't get on a computer screen. (Plus, it's bad to stare at computers for too long. Eye cramps.)
STEP TWO: FIND A GOOD PLACE TO SIT AND BREAK OUT THE RED PENS. Don't have any? GET SOME. Red pens are amazing. When you look at the page, red is the first thing you'll see. Plus they add nice accents. It's almost like creating art. OH, WAIT. And if you don't have an atmosphere conducive to thinking and paying attention and FOCUSING ON EVERY SINGLE WORD ON THAT PAGE, then you're not in the right place. Go somewhere else.

STEP THREE: EDIT. Yay, the fun part! I've heard of some people going through their manuscript for a different thing every time they read it. Once for spelling, once for grammar, once for style, once for consistency, etc. BORING. Takes too long. I do them all at once. Part of my brain is doing spelling, grammar, and style, the other is doing consistency and all those other plot/character related goodies. Like I said, you're seeing the whole picture. SO EDIT THE WHOLE PICTURE.

STEP FOUR: EDIT AGAIN. I didn't say I didn't go through more than once, I just said I did everything all at once. So I do them all at once for a second time. Sometimes a third. It's up to you. Just don't edit too much, you know, like where you get to the point that your novel doesn't even look the way it did when you started. (Read: Don't be like me and get halfway through editing and wind up changing something in the plot that makes you revise THE ENTIRE BOOK. ><)

STEP FIVE: GET SOMEONE ELSE TO READ IT. Could be a critique partner, could just be a trusted relative or friend. Make sure it's someone who's really going to read it and give you decent feedback. You might want to have two people read it: One person to tell you what they really think, and one to tell you that it's awesome and amazing and that they definitely want you to write more. Sure, people like that aren't going to help your writing much, but they will help your self-esteem, and sometimes that's just as important. 

And that's it! The five-step editing process. Okay we're done! Now go edit! 

Picture time!



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