Saturday, August 20, 2011

I have just found the perfect soundtrack for this year's NaNovel.

And it is epic.

I stumbled across The Clockwork Dolls while browsing, and immediately went and bought their first album, Dramatis Personae. Their steampunk-y aesthetic, combined with the epic nature of their orchestrations, makes them the perfect soundtrack for the tentatively-titled Pediophobia (which mean "fear of dolls" and would be perfect if it weren't for some unfortunate connotations).

I am now so excited for November.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

NaNoWrimo is Eating My Brain

Not in a bad way. It's just that I really want to start writing this story. Now.

I think it's better for this story that I have to wait, because it's uber complex and being forced to think before I write is going to help both the speed and the quality of the writing, come Novembertime. But... I just... wanna.

Since I'm in writing mode and can't write (at least, not what I want to write (how many more times can I say write in this sentence?)), I've been doing a lot of outline-writing and yesterday, I took a couple of hours and did the mock up for the book cover (and by mock-up, I mean that I have to add a synopsis to the back (probably better to wait until I've finished - or at least started the book before writing that) and get the dimensions for the spine).

Today, once I've had my nap (I was on my feet all day at work; don't judge me) I'm going to be doing research. I had a brainwave this afternoon and thought of an extra little back story I can add to explain a bit about the universe and a bit about one of my mains.

The more I think about this story and the more I look at the book cover, the more I think this book is going to kick ass.

*knock wood*

I know it's 2 and half months away yet, but has anyone else caught the NaNo bug or is that just me?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Writers Don't Get Sick Days

Well, we shouldn't. Not having the energy to change out of your pyjamas isn't an excuse to skip a day of writing, neither is not having a voice or coughing and sneezing inceasently. It's just one of those things.

A sick day from a day job is a prime opportunity to spend the day in bed with your laptop and not feel even remotely bad about the other responsibilities you might be neglecting. Of course, there's always the issue of fuzzy-brain, when stuffy-headedness, nausea or cough syrup-induced intoxication makes it really hard to concentrate on anything and all your ideas come out a little weird, but hey, that can be a good thing.

It's sort of like having a drink or two to get the juices flowing, but without the drink. The part of your brain that asks, "is this idea salable?" and "what's my target demographic?" shuts down and all your left with is pure creativity. Or pure insanity, depending on how you look at it.

I've been sick for days now and I've been using my down time - the parts of it when I haven't been sleeping or watching How I Met Your Mother to work out the plots and character sketches for my NaNo '11 story. My MC is a rabbit-woman-doll-cyborg with amnesia - and she's not even the weirdest thing about this story. I think this is going to be one of those books that I write mostly while sleeping. Wee!

So, sick days - good or bad for your writing process?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Character... Squids?

So, I'm thinking that if we have plot bunnies and marketing gorillas, we should have character squids. Squids, like the character descriptions, can sneak up on you. There are many, many different kinds of squids and all of them are complex and a little bit weird. And where plot bunnies can hop off in directions different from where we want or expect them to go, character squids can float in the water, waving their tentacles and making it really difficult for us to see what's what. In the end, if we're not careful, we'll just end up with a big inky mess.

This all came to me because yesterday, shortly after commenting on E's comment on my NaNo post, saying I want a shiny new story to write and how nice it would be if it popped fully formed into my head, I had an epiphany of sorts, and instantly got basics for two of the MCs for my NaNoWriMo story. Basic setting and plot elements started to form around these characters, and I now have six partially-to-mostly-formed characters of varying importance, a kick-ass (if I do say so myself) setting and general concept and a vague idea of where the story (or stories, as I'mna do three intertwining ones) is (are) going.

And I found that naming my characters really did help me pin them down. I was stuck for a long time between two very different names for my FMC and I couldn't work out her personality until I chose one.

Also, on the subject of genre, I decided not to bother with one at all for this story. It's going to be difficult to write because of the effed-up-ness of the setting and the characters and I can't even imagine what kind of genre it could try to fit into.

So, now of to to try to make sense of it all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Summer NaNo Post, Writer's Block and the Importance of Characters

I know NaNoWriMo is three months away, yet and we're all trying to enjoy our summers and relax (at least, I hope we're all trying to enjoy our summers and relax), but as I said last year*, August is when I always seem to have NaNoWriMo on the brain.

I have no idea what I'm going to write this year. None. I've been stuck in a perpetual state of writer's block since I finished 2010's NaNo - and even that needs a lot of polishing before it'll be anywhere near ready for public or semi-public consumption.

Just a reminder: three of us won NaNoWriMo in 2010. Therefore, we rock!

Out of everything I've written, Aigaion Girl has to be my favourite long piece (it incorporates my favourite piece of short fiction), so, lately, I've been trying to figure out why I like it so much more than my other work. I think what it comes down to is characters. A/G was relatively easy and extremely enjoyable to write (rewriting is another story) because I was in love with my characters. Even now, I keep trying to come up with an idea for a sequel so that I'll have an excuse to keep writing them. But I think maybe that's the secret - at least for me. I have another story I've been working on, 200 Pages which has a really good (IMO) concept, but I can't get the characters nailed down and it's killing the story. So I guess what I need, before I start trying to come up with a plot and an original idea and all of that, is a group of truly kick-ass characters.

So, NaNoWriMo - will you be participating this year? Do you have any idea what you'll be writing if you decide to participate? What do you think your chances of winning are?

And my bigger, kind of discussion questiony question: how will you find/create your story? will you work out a plot and create characters to fill it, or create characters and build a plot around them, or do it at once, or in bits and pieces as it comes to you - or is your process completely different?

*Can you believe that was a year ago?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Genre Crossovers

I like the idea of taking two kind of tired, slightly worn-out genres and blending them into something new. Terry Pratchett does this with satire/social commentary and epic fantasy. The writers of Pluto Nash attempted it with crime drama, comedy and science fiction and failed miserably.

Just wondering if anyone has any more examples of genre-mashing, whether brilliantly done or painfully unsuccessful. Also, are there any combinations you'd like to see but haven't, or any you'd like to write (/plan to write/are in the middle of writing)?

Pop into the comments and let us know.

I'm currently working on a post-apocalyptic(ish) fantasy road-trip thing. I like what I've written so far, but the going is slow. I think that has a lot to do with trying to keep the world and characters true to themselves but inclusive of each other.