Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Noise in My Head

It has to be dead quiet when I write. Why? Because inside my head it gets so Very LOUD. Any outside noise is not only distracting, it's just too much. Thing is, when the writing stops - even for the briefest moment - to switch out the laundry (such a glamorous life) or answer the phone, it becomes scary obvious how quiet it is in my outside world. The interruption is so jarring, I yearn to turn on the radio, a tv, something to create noise.
     And every time, when I return to my writing, it takes me a while to crawl back into my head. That place where it's loud. Where all my influences merge together with music, sounds, smells, and atmosphere and place me in the thick of my story.
     I call it 'circling like a dog.' It used to take days to get back into my stories, but I've gotten better. Now it takes a matter of minutes (or a break to write a blog post). But it does feel like I inhabit two universes. One is very quiet, and one is Very LOUD.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Pronounced pas-TEET-see-o. It's a pasta and ground meat dish held together with a bechemel cream sauce. It's very Greek and it's very good. And for some reason my protagonist's mother keeps stuffing it down my main character's throat. Funny when a thread develops a life of its own like that. When I realized it was happening I had to sit back and laugh. I have no idea why it became so important, but it did. It's a good thing I happen to adore pastitsio. In fact, I had some just last night at Mykonos Taverna as they celebrated their one year anniversary. OPA!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friendly Feedback

It's a wonderful thing when you have talented friends. Friends whose feedback you value and respect, who happen to give really great advice. I have several such friends and count myself very lucky. The latest gave me some extremely sound advice on my novel.
     The story is there, the characters are there, it doesn't even sag. However, the order is wrong on some things. The actual conflict isn't stated until too late into the novel. We don't know who the antagonist is until too late. And belief occurs too quickly.
     So, I will treat my novel like a jigsaw puzzle. I will chop it up and rearrange the pieces until they fit back together in ways that absorb and inform the reader at a proper rate.
     And then I will go back through and polish, polish, polish. That's actually the hard part because things get so jumbled in my head - it's tricky to keep it all straight. But this is what I must do to make the novel the absolutely best it can be before I send it to my agent. It's already been a TON of work, but there's still a bit more to get to the gate. (We haven't even made it to the race yet!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dueling Guitars

A key scene in my novel was inspired by this scene in the movie August Rush. I've watched this dozens of times and it still gives me chills.

My Moon My Man

Which I like to call "My Muse My Man"...

Talk of Muses - The Jungian Effect

It seems whenever a person mentions a subject, it suddenly snakes through human psyches popping up in seemingly unrelated places. Some would call it a sign, others call it an omen. I call it fascinating. Muses are being talked about at...

On the Muse by Cheryl Renee Herbsman
What is a muse? Hell if I know. by Lisa Schroeder
On Muses by Jackson Pearce
On Muses by Saundra Mitchell
How to Call in Your Writing Muse at eHow

I Carry Your Heart

One of my all-time favorite musicians, Michael Hedges, and his playing style ("slap harmonics" and "tapping") will figure prominently in my story. That won't be his name in the book, but anybody who knows music will recognize him. Why do I love his music? Have a gander at this - one of my all-time favorite songs - Michael's music set to "I Carry Your Heart" by E.E. Cummings (turn your sound up):

But while "I Carry Your Heart" is wonderful, it doesn't begin to show off what Michael could really do with a guitar. For that, have a peek at "Ritual Dance" (yes, that is ONE man on ONE guitar):

     You may recognize the song as it was used in the movie "August Rush" played by Kaki King. Get some previews here. And check out "Bari Improv" which is completely inspired by Michael's style (I'm guessing "Rickover's Dream" or "The Rootwitch"). Here's the clip from the movie:

     Unfortunately, as it so often happens with the truly talented, Michael is no longer with us. He died in a car crash in 1997. But I got to see him in concert, completely inspired, several times before he died (boxing shorts and all). Rarely have I ever felt so exposed to completely raw, pure, genius as when watching him play.
     Every now and then as I write, I stop and listen to Michael do his thing. It sends chills through me, which I hope I then apply to the page with my words. These are the things that inspire me.