As if I Didn’t Have Enough to Do

Camp NaNoWriMo
She’s at it again

Yeah, I’m just that crazy. I have no kitchen, a s**t-load of work to do and now I’m finishing the final draft of the novel I finished two years ago. My, but the time does fly.

I’m also trying to upload it to the web. I have to figure out how to use a certain writer-friendly set of plug-ins, but doing is learning. It’s a craft that requires patience and a high tolerance for frustration. But, hey, two chapters down and I’m already walking in my characters’ footsteps.

Come Do the Happy Dance With Me!

I’m done!

I finished my novel, including the epilogue, yesterday. It’s a steaming pile of crap, as first drafts always are. However, there’s enough there to tuck in and polish, chuck and add, when the editing phase begins. Right now, though, I’m just sitting back and feeling very proud of myself.

Getting this done in one month was no bed of roses. I knew it would be a slog, so I hired a friend of mine who’s a writing coach to be my official nudge. She has done her job and done it well. I’m done!

Songs and Places

I’m going for a two-fer today: write about a place and a song. That’s going to be a challenge, not because I don’t know what to say, but I don’t really know where to start. That’s what happens with too many choices.

I’m not in the mood for straight fiction tonight, although I do want to talk about the story. I have an image in my head and it’s this one:

My fantasy with the two travelers, named Daniel and Mira, includes a new home, away from the devastation – kind of. The travelers and their eventual companions are traveling east, to a place called the Deep Lands that may or may not exist. There are stories about them and they’re pretty frightening. In one version, the Gods cursed the land for some infraction or another and killed off its ability to support any kind of plant life. In another version, the air itself has been removed. It’s a place no one in their right mind would want to go. Mira’s hard nosed and skeptical. No air, indeed. It’s just a story to scare kids into behaving, or so she explains to Daniel.

So, what is this a picture of? Mars, actually. Probably taken from one of the rovers happily wheeling around out there. I’m fascinated with the place, although not enough to actually want to go there. I tried to think of the most desolate, loneliest place anywhere. That’s what came to mind.

So, as of my last writing the group of travelers (yes, there are a bunch of them by now and they’ve already had some adventures) have arrived at the beginning of the Eastern lands. They’re currently camped in the remains of an ancient, ancient city and they’re getting a serious case of the creeps. Something feels wrong, although they haven’t found out what yet. They’ve just met (at spear-point) a group of area residents and are about to hear a story. That’s when I had to stop.

So, the music? Eerie, ominous. I grabbed a soundtrack and made a video out of it. Maybe I’ll show it to you later. For now, here’s the music:

Unlock the Mind

So, from Blogging 101 to Writing 101. You’re in for it now! I joined this writing challenge to get my fiction muscles back in shape. I haven’t worked them out for quite some time. I joined in a NaNoWriMo challenge last November, but stopped when my mother passed away early that month. I really didn’t feel like doing any fiction writing until earlier this year, but got sucked into some life challenges that dropped me in my tracks. Now there’s another NaNo challenge in July and I’m going to try it again. In the meantime, I’m going to see what I can do during this challenge to prepare for that.

I have a book I’ve been trying to finish for years. I started it during the worst part of the recession, when both my husband and I were pretty much hung out to dry. I suddenly started thinking about two travelers in a ravaged countryside, two people who had lost some very significant things. One person, the female protagonist, lost her entire family and village and the other, the male protagonist, a soldier who was blinded in an attack. I set this up as a fantasy, set in some pre-industrial era. I started it, then stopped, then started, then stopped. I signed up for NaNoWriMo in 2012 and got my 50,000 words in, but the novel still wasn’t finished. Since that time I’ve written about another 2,000 words.

So, I’ll give Writing 101 a try – if you guys can stand it. I may also post chapters and plot synopses, to see what you guys think about it.

So, here we go again!

30 Days of Margy

Oh, boy, just what you wanted! Now my Blogging 101 mentors have directed us to create an editorial calendar to schedule posts over the next 30 days. Hey, no fair guys – that’s work! They have a point, though: discipline, discipline, discipline! My blog isn’t going to write itself. That being said, I still want to have fun. Remember, I Majored in English in college. I had to write lots and lots of term papers. Even though I was quite good at cranking them out, I really didn’t enjoy the experience.

It’s different with blogging. Here I’m just talking and sharing stuff with friends. I’m having a good laugh, not analyzing Shakespeare (or Ralph Waldo Emerson). True, the analysis did help develop my communication skills, but not as much as just plain old writing.

So, in that sense, a calendar makes sense. I’ve already committed to a weekly feature (The Weekly Bean), so there’s that to plan for. Yes, good practice. And especially useful for my business writing which is a challenge to keep from being so dry it’ll float away.

The Muse And Me

I was listening to the radio this morning (NPR Morning Edition) and caught something very interesting: a music competition hosted by the owner of Bleeding Fingers (Hans Zimmer), which produces music for television. Zimmer created a piece of music, very cinematic, and challenged musicians to compose pieces based on it. The winner would be hired as a staff composer at the studio.

Here’s the piece of music that the challenge is based on:

Yes, very cinematic. It’s something I’d expect to hear at a movie theater. Pretty grand overall.

The contest winner was announced on Morning Edition today. His name is Daniel Suett and he’s a 22 year old composer from London, England. He actually submitted 12 variations and each one was better than the next! This guy is brilliant. Here’s one riff he took:

Very open, very grand, no? But how about this one:

I must say, it knocked me off my socks! There are myriad themes he incorporates, some contemplative, some fiery, some exotic, some playful, some sad, all fabulous.

I could listen to these all day. But something else happened, too. I suddenly started thinking about the ways music has inspired my writing. I listen to music of one type or another all the time. I listen to some because I enjoy it. Others make me feel a certain way, like Daniel Suett’s did. I have a little library of sounds, like music snippets, stingers, loops and full-out songs. I like to play them, just to see what pictures and words fill my head.

I was browsing a royalty-free music site a few years ago and came across a piece by a German composer. It was one of their promotional free offers. The piece was moody, low, contemplative. It touched me somehow and I added it to the music snippets I so frequently listen to.

I was listening to the piece one night and words suddenly started popping into my head. I was having a bad year, I recall. It was shortly after the recession of 2009 hit and I had lost my job and run out of money. I was able to get back on my feet, but not without doing things I didn’t really want to do. I had to swallow a lot of pride that year and I hope to God I never have to do that again.

In my mind the words matched the music and, by extension, my mood. I started jotting the words down, trying to find the right balance: a beginning, a middle/climax, an end. Just like music, actually, and just like a story. I started hunting down images and videos, mostly my own, although there was one I took from a free image site. Then I began to put a video together, combining all those elements.

Spring Flower

The result after many, many edits, was a poem called “Ruminations.” It doesn’t rhyme, but I think it does have a certain oral balance to it.

So, this is my brain on music:

I’ve got other ones, mostly trailers for books or short stories. Damned if the videos aren’t better than the stories. I’ll have to do something about that!

 

 

To You, Dear Reader

Now that the holiday weekend is behind me, it’s time for some catching up. This blogging challenge – write a post to your dream reader – is making me think. Who is my dream reader? My blog covers a little bit of everything, so at first it seemed like there needed to be more than one.

Is my dream reader a foodie? A gardener? A lover of parks and easy walks? A fiction reader? A humorist?

Yes to all of these, and more. But, then I thought about it some more. What elements do these readers have in common? After a day of thinking about it, I think I’ve come up with an answer:

My dream reader loves a good story. That story may be about anything, but it needs to have a beginning, middle and end.

That’s as true for a short story as it is for a home-made vacation video. I always try to start at the beginning and make my way logically to some type of conclusion.

So, dear reader, I hope you’ll follow me as I go on my various adventures. And, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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Now Come Along, Everybody