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Posts Tagged ‘music’

See how good I’m being?

I said I was going to write, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’m up to about 88,000 words on my WIP Coming About. I’m smack in the middle of writing my climactic scene, in which… no wait. I can’t tell you that. That would ruin the surprise.

At this rate, I might just complete the first draft of this manuscript by the Surrey International Writer’s Conference on October 20-23. I know, more workshops, but I never miss it, and by then it will be a well- deserved break. I registered for three Master Classes this year, and I’ll be pitching. Probably The Aviary again. Maybe I’ll even sell it this year. But I’d be happy enough to start with agent representation.

Back in May, when I pitched to a couple of editors at the Write On Conference of the RWA-Greater Vancouver Chapter, one of the two asked for a full manuscript (not sent yet) and the other talked about how difficult to define Women’s Fiction is, and how important it is for writers of women’s fiction to work with an agent, who can get to know the work and target it to the editors and publishers most likely to appreciate it.

True, true.

On the subject of women’s fiction, I want to note here how much I appreciate Amy Sue Nathan‘s regular women’s fiction writers blog, in which she interviews… wait for it: women’s fiction writers! I have discovered many terrific new books and authors here, expanding my reading list every week, and I particularly appreciate the stories of their journey to publication. Amy asks each of her guests to define women’s fiction, and although there is overlap, each one is unique in its perspective. This week’s guest, Stacey Ballis, author of Good Enough to Eat and soon to be released Off the Menu, said it thus:


I have always found it interesting that if you are a woman who writes a book with female characters about life and love and relationships and career, it is called Women’s Fiction, and if you are a man who writes a book with female characters about life and love and relationships and career, it is called A Book.”

Hmm. Yeah. Well, nuff said.

In other news, I’m doing my happy dance because– I just got tickets to Sting’s Back to Bass tour in Vancouver December 9th. I haven’t seen him since the Police reunion tour a few years ago. Yay! I’m not really dancing. I’m not much of a dancer. Except in my head. In there, I’m definitely doing my happy dance. ; )

Back to work.

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Last Friday I was invited to guest post on Blame it on The Muse. Below is a copy of that post.

God Shuffled His Feet

(with a bow to the Crash Test Dummies)

Story ideas come from many places, but often they are stillborn, or lie stagnant, waiting to be infused with inspiration by you, the writer, while you wait for a visitation from your muse. I have a digital drawer full of story ideas, but what makes one of them rise up and speak to you, demanding to be your next WIP, and then come to life on the page?

For me, it turns out that music plays an important role. This began quite inadvertently when I began my first completed novel, about four and half years ago. My mother had passed away a couple of months before, and I guess I was brooding and hiding from the world. I wanted to start writing Reconcilable Differences, and I found immersing myself in music helped to sooth me and keep me focused. I was drawn to the music of one of my favourite artists, Sting, and as I listened to his songs, one album (Brand New Day) soon became the soundtrack for the book I was writing, and one particular song (Ghost Story) its theme song. As I listened, the lyrics of that song, and it’s haunting mood, came to represent my characters situation and emotions. I now have the transcript of that song as a forward for my manuscript, and hope I can include it one day when it’s published.

I listened to that music over and over and over while I wrote and revised that manuscript over two years. Just popping my ear buds in was all I needed to immerse myself in my fictional world and resume work with passion and commitment. I even listened to the same music at other reflective times, such as driving and exercising and bedtime, because we all know the writing continues even when we’re not sitting at the keyboard. To this day, my son complains if I put Sting on, poor thing.

When I began my next novel, The Aviary, I thought, hey, what worked before might work again. I need a sound track that’s appropriate and inspiring. So I actually did a little internet research, found out what was popular in England in 1997 (where the novel is set) and downloaded a whole slew of music, some of which became new favourites. One band, The Verve, I loved, and one of their songs (Lucky Man) again became a theme song. One of my main characters even evolved into a musician, who played and sang some of those same songs!

Over the years, I’ve become a more disciplined writer (I’m a plotter) and so the evolution of my story and character arcs is much more worked out before I start. I even have a scene plan that I follow pretty closely. Nonetheless, I still have to sit down and infuse life and emotion into each and every scene. I have to be in that world and in those characters heads and hearts. Music can be the muse that helps me get there. So I think even with my carefully crafted plan, I still need the muse to make it happen. My current WIP is going well enough, but I’m still searching for its perfect soundtrack. Perhaps Coldplay…?

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