Soooo… Please excuse the ultra-descriptive title: I used up all of my words on NaNoWriMo.
Yesterday I said that I’ll talk more about my NaNoWriMo. Also, some people have asked me how I write. I have no idea why anyone would ask me, but I might as well reveal what I do during NaNoWriMo. If it can help anyone else, I’m happy!
Firstly, a few things about NaNoWriMo. I know that a lot of people criticize this endeavour. I know that a lot of people say that a good novel cannot be written in a month. And to those people I would say that you are absolutely right. A good novel can (probably) not be written in 30 days. However, this is not what NaNoWriMo is about. It is about sitting down and writing that first draft, while the experience of writing along with thousands of other like-minded people is your motivation to continue. NaNoWriMo gives you the freedom to write absolute crap and, believe me, a large part of my current novel is exactly that. Continue reading
Welcome to the first post where I am not going to draw anything or share a short story with you, but rather write about how I write. Remember I said I wanted to start sharing more of this, something which I only got a taste of during NaNoWriMo?
This post was inspired by something that I read over on Bethie’s HASH. She is busy with a writing challenge on different questions (Check it out, it’s really interesting if you are a writer!). The one that matters now was the one about writing and music with the question:
Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?
I was obviously all hugely excited by this post and eventually Bethie convinced me to make one too. So now I’m doing it. And probably blaming it on her as well.
(This is going to be long.)
Certainly I listen to music whilst I write. What would I be without the music I write to? That was a tad overdramatic perhaps, but it makes my point. I need music whilst I write – it is very seldom that I would write in silence.
I am also not the only one who feels this way, and neither am I the only one that begins to hear stories in music. One of my favourite authors, Diana Wynne Jones, said,
The Magicians of Caprona was odder than most, because I heard a piece of music and thought, ‘That ought to have words,’ and the story came into my head as I thought it.
I tend to pick what I listen to by need and theme, rather than any other reason. And I’ll admit it: I don’t like conventional, modern music. There will be the occasional pop song that I like and also the occasional rock number. But in general, I don’t like having to listen to those things. What I do like, is soundtracks. I’m crazy about the things actually. I believe that soundtrack-music plays such a large role in any theatre experience (it builds everything from emotion to tension) that it should get more recognition than it does. The only part of the Academy Awards that I am really interested in is the Oscar for Best Soundtrack. I remember being furious at the judges’ choice last year.
Thus, this means that the title of this post has a double meaning: not only does the music serve as a soundtrack to my writing, the music is also a soundtrack in its own right. And yes, before someone points this out to me in the comments, I do know that the correct term for the music to a film is “score”. I just don’t like that word. It’s not descriptive.
Though soundtracks do make up the majority of what I listen to at any time, not just when I’m writing, I do listen to other things as well. I like a bit of instrumental metal sometimes and also some folk (don’t judge). Also, I like to listen to trailer music, which is even more of a niche market than soundtracks. It is similar to soundtracks in that it is used in films (mostly only their trailers, hence the name) and commercials to create a mood, but different that they do not come in a series that, as a whole, tell an entire story. Trailer music is like a snippet out of a bigger story and I like it, because I can fill in the rest with my writing.
I listen a lot to the Lord of the Rings soundtracks (my favourite), How to Train Your Dragon, Harry Potter (especially the final soundtrack), the Tangled soundtrack and The Three Musketeers soundtrack.
Now… on to the specifics!
The first time that I actually started connecting certain tracks with writing and actually made a point of noticing that I did this, was during the first time that I did NaNoWriMo. That was when I set myself the challenge to do it at another time of year, because I could not make it in November: thus June/July 2010. The novel that I wrote during this time (and still have not finished) was dramatic, overly dramatic, satirical and verbose. I’ll tell you more about it someday, when it makes more sense to me.
Anyway, it was also during this time that I found an album by Two Steps From Hell, a production company that specializes in trailer music, Illumina. Then I went on and listened to it a lot.
Therefore there will always be a couple Illumina tracks that I will forever associate with writing:
The good news is… that that was not all that I listened to. There was one certain track that I used to write a death scene. What was it? Oh yes:
Remember When… This one is by Future World Music, another trailer music company. Future World Music actually became quite important to me during this time of my writing, because their track Dreamscapes and Wishes actually became the theme song to my novel.
During one of my other novelling adventures, which I named Arcana for the lack of better ideas, I never realised how much I based the ending of my story off one of the songs that I listen to so much: Send Me a Song, by Celtic Woman. I believe it is sung by Lisa Kelly.
Without telling you the entire plot (which I still have not written the middle of), it was roughly a story about music and the awkward relationship between a girl and her boy friend (emphatically two words). There was lots of music and he broke the law. For which he was banished. So yes, if you listen to the lyrics of that song, you’ll hear another story very much like it. I only realised what I did much later!
My latest escapade into the world of music and writing was, of course, during NaNoWriMo 2011. This was certainly the story that was most influenced by music, of any of those that I had written. You see, I got my idea for the plot when listening to Now and Then by Blackmore’s Night. When I heard the lyrics, especially the bit that said “I’ll heal in time”, I knew I was going to write a cross between historical novel and science fiction, telling the story of a girl going time-travelling to make sense of the death of her husband. Snapshots of Time was born.
Whilst I was writing this novel, I listened to whatever was on hand and had a fast beat. I would do anything that could make me type faster, because I only had an hour each day to write, and I was trying to do 1,800 words every time. It was a challenge. I went through quite a lot of the Harry Potter soundtracks in that time. It kept me going. I have the complete collection, 1-8. I listened obsessively to Weasley Stomp, because it was the fastest track from it that I could find.
When things were a little calmer in NaNo land, I turned to Tuck Everlasting. I have never even watched this show, but the soundtrack reminds me of open fields and buttercups. Why buttercups I don’t know, because I’ve only ever seen a few in my life. I wouldn’t know why I have an association with the things!
When my novel turned sadder, I also had my go-to tracks. Schindler’s List of course remains one of the ultimate tracks, and then there were also things like Hymn to the Fallen, out of Saving Private Ryan.
I should really stop now with this post. It has gotten completely out of control! I won’t even get started on favourite composers!
I hope everyone who read this far enjoyed it in its pictureless-state. You’d better. You’ve no idea how long it took me to write this thing!
Wow, that is a lot of announcements! If you are here only for the cartoons, feel free to ignore this post – this is just general blog-housekeeping.
Guess what?!? You know that I said I wanted to get an origami tutorials site up and running? It is finally live! I don’t know why these things always seem to take way longer than they should, but it is finally up and running!
Visit it at:
Again, I am really sorry that I could not organize it so that I could post the tutorials on this blog. But I promise to post full updates about the origami here, so that you need only click through to find the new tutorial. Then you don’t have to follow two blogs if you are not that interested.
Anyway… the first tutorial is… Yes, you guessed it!
The Origami Peace Crane!
Click on the image to be taken right to the tutorial!
In other news… those of you who have been around for a while will know me always singing the praises of daily freewriting over at 750words.com. Well, I am pleased to announce that I have finally achieved a year-long writing streak on Friday with this site. It means that I have written over 750 words every day, for 365 days in a row. During this time, I have written about 320,000 words (this includes my NaNoWriMo novel), which in print would be a novel of over a thousand pages, and I have gone from struggling with it for over half an hour to being able to easily write my words in 15 minutes. I consider this to be a big achievement.
Seriously, if you want to come into the habit of writing regularly, want to freewrite, or if you just want to improve your typing, I can really recommend this site. I only originally challenged myself to write 10 days in a row… and that turned into a year-long thing. Of course, I am not stopping now. Now I am shooting for 500 days of writing.
The last thing for tonight is… I want to expand my blogging topics. Mostly this is because I would like to post more regularly, but I cannot manage more than one cartoon every 7-10 days. After all, this blog is called Cartoons and Creative Writing, so I would like to start writing more about writing. Call it metawriting if you like. I would like to not only post finished short stories, but also write about the process of writing them. I will intersperse these posts with the regular cartoons and see if I can manage to post twice a week. I would have included a comment about how it is a free world and my darn blog, but it is not true. The bit about the free world, not about my blog. It is my blog.
I’ll be back soon with a cartoon-post!
I hope you all had a great weekend!
Well, no. Maybe not as bad as all that. Maybe not essential-essential. Maybe not pivotal… also, I think its crux has gone missing somewhere. But hopefully you will laugh –- and that will be good for your health.
Besides, I got your attention with that title, didn’t I?
Status update: I’ve been sick for most of this week. All this means is that I go even crazier and write even more nonsensical nonsense than usual.
Listening: “Kingdom of Avilion” – Jo Blankenburg
Reading: “Making Money” – Terry Pratchett
Everybody knows the truism that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. But has anyone ever thought that this saying sounds rather senseless? Of course everyone knows that it means that if you eat an apple everyday, it will keep you healthy, and therefore the doctor will not need to come out. But why don’t you just go and say that then? Why dress it up in obscure semantics – do you want people to be able to draw some extra meanings and mind-pictures out of there? Do you want creative misunderstandings?
In other words, do you want me to play with your saying?
I present to you…
(Apparently fruit-drawing is not my strong point… Please excuse!)
Well, I suppose it could work, but it would work even better if you got some of your buddies together to help you throw.
Eat your apples folks! Eat one for me too, willya? I cannot eat them – my jaw is formed wrong for that and it means I cannot bite into an apple. I suppose that also means I will never make a good vampire… And to get a knife and cut it into pieces (the apple, not the vampire) is just too much to bother with for something that does not even taste that good to me.
Hope you all enjoyed reading it, and…
C’ya next week!
Well, no. Actually, I don’t. But I know what I did yesterday. And I also know what you’re doing now – you’re reading this blog post. Does that count?
GUESS WHAT I DID YESTERDAY!!
I finally got a 200-day writing streak on 750words.com. Yes, that’s right. That means that I have been writing at least 750 words for the past 200 days. I think it started somewhere in February. And no, before you ask, it wasn’t difficult. It was only a challenge up to about 30 days. After 60 days, it was so part of me that I didn’t even have to remind myself to write or have to wonder what to write about. The most difficult thing to do was just getting 10 days in a row. At that stage, I was so constantly wondering what I could possibly say that would go on for that many words, and I was so typing so slowly 200 days ago, it’s laughable! Since starting this, I have suddenly metamorphosed into a touch-typist – something I have never been able to manage before. I don’t look at the keys any more when typing. Seriously, I don’t even always look at the screen! I remember, the fastest I could write 750 words in was 25 minutes, and that was only when I really pushed myself. Now my slow time is 18 minutes, and if I really push myself and refuse to let myself go back and fix typos, I can do it in 15 minutes. Argh! I’m rambling again.
Here’s proof. Look:
In other things, this blog post is really out of character. Don’t get used to it. First you have to wait for days for a new post, and then I post two days in a row?! Nope, this is definitely not normal! I just wanted to share my accomplishment (I’m very proud of myself. I’ve never been able to be consistent with writing before!) with you guys. [Sorry about the lack of cartoon-ish fun.] I still want to have a 500-day writing streak. What? Don’t look at me like that! It’s less than a year to go, isn’t it?
The other random thing is… you may have noticed something over there in the sidebar. –> I have a Twitter account now. And I post notifications of new blog posts on there, and also maybe some other random things. So… head over there if you want to follow me, or ask something, or perhaps even poke me and tell me I should stop being lazy and write a new post! Sorry about the random username. Silly Twitter wouldn’t let me have any of the things I usually have, or even just my name. And I didn’t want a string of numbers. So I used a username-generator to get something to add on to my real name.
I’ll be off! I still have a shedload of French homework to do. Guess I should start practising now.
Au revoir, mes amis! Jusqu’au samedi (J’espère!)!