30 Oct 2011

AudioFuel - Top 10 Songs/Music To Write To

Another Nanowrimo oriented post, but one thing I really noticed last Nano, was just how much music I listened to when I was writing. For me, music is the equivalent of an airplane when it comes to taking me to that place in my head where the writing bits live. Music, to paraphrase Madonna, takes me there.

It would take a whole other blog post to go into why music does what it does to me (and many other people) but I thought it would be interesting to share the music I listen to when I write - it's partly what fuelled my Lyric Day posts also - as I listen to music when I blog.

Last year, for Nano, I compiled a playlist called, rather originally, Writing Music. It's got 62 tracks on it which obviously I'm not going to list in its entirety here, but it covers everything from Bjork to Britney Spears via Tori Amos, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Garbage, Counting Crows and The Chemical Brothers.

In addition, last year I also compiled a special playlist of music that helped me focus on my main characters - it plotted their story, music-wise. It might sound a bit odd but it really enabled me to get inside their heads and think about them as real people - and the sort of music they might like.

I'm curious to see if this year for Nano, my writing music tastes change because I'm writing in a different genre (dystopia to thriller). As a result, although this is a top 10 post, really it's just a list post, to help me categorise the music I listen to when I write.

24 Oct 2011

A Universe In A Grain of Sand - Last Year's Nanowrimo Novel

As promised on yesterday's post - top tips for Nanowrimo - I *was* supposed to be blogging about my plans for this year's nanowrimo novel. However it occurred to me that I should probably do a short post about last year's first......

Um, so I dreamt the plot of last year's novel. Farcical as it sounds I really did. I woke up one morning at the end of August thinking huh, I just dreamt a novel idea. After not ever having one before, it was kind of exciting (a novel idea that is, not a dream, i have a lot of dreams - the less said about them the better). So the novel idea kind of percolated round in my head for a bit, I attempted to draft a few sentences, jot down a few notes etc but didn't really do much about it.

"Let's do Nanowrimo" says @aliamck
"Huh, wtf is Nanowrimo" says I.
@aliamck sends me a link
"Hmmmmmm" says I, "you may be on to something here what with this book plot thingummy I dreamt up"

After agreeing to partake in the madness that is Nano, I felt I was off to a good start as I had a title. Oh yes, a title - before I'd written a word. That title is/was Condemnation. I have yet to come up with a better one. Husbando thinks it's naff, cheesy and obvious. (It's a dystopian novel set under a totalitarian regime Con Dem Nation.....) I could also summarise my novel in less than 10 words: Dystopian love story in which everyone dies. Also impressive I think you'll find.

Certainly both of these were a hell of a lot easier than writing and structuring the damn thing. So for your convenience, here's a summary, a character guide and a chunk of the book itself....

Lotte is trapped in a life serving a man she is ambivalent about, living in a house with a woman who hates her and a society that condemns her very existence as a government prescribed sex slave. Taken from her family as a young woman to be trained into a life of servitude, the best she can hope for is to keep the same master until she grows too old be of any use. When Gideon walks into her life, will she learn what it really means to love someone - and then risk everything for it? Defying her training, her security and ultimately, the government of Condemnation, Lotte finds out how far she will really go to achieve a life she'd never even dreamed of.

Main Characters
Lotte - sex slave and around whom the book revolves
Michael - Lotte's master
Evy - Michael's frosty wife
Gideon - Lotte's love and Michael's colleague

Key Facts
Condemnation - a totalitarian government that has divided the united kingdom into tribes depending on wealth and education, and renamed them all by colour.
The Black - slang for the main city in Condemnation
A Breathless - what Lotte is, a sex slave (I'm thinking of changing this name, but to what, I don't know)

Chunk of book
"I was seeking comfort more often now, a sense of belonging – I thought it had been triggered by seeing the man on the Omnibus. The attraction I had felt for him, even for just a few seconds had been a reminder of a feeling that I could not name precisely, but even so was tugging at the edges of my consciousness, a sense of belonging to someone or something. I knew that I had felt similarly at The Convent but I could not quite place a finger on when the feeling had gone away – and how. 

I was doing my utmost to conceal this during my day-to-day activities and behaviours but when alone I was spending a lot of time thinking; about my current situation, about being a Breathless, about escape even and most importantly about the man on the bus. These thoughts themselves concerned me, I felt powerless to do anything about them but I worried away at them in my mind, like a dog chasing its tail." 

What Next
So I've not done anything with last year's book. I wrote my 50k words but it's nowhere near finished let alone edited. A couple of friends *have* read it - and asked me what happens next and suggested I finish it. I don't know if I will or not. I love the story and the characters but it's just so hard with so many plot strands and bits + pieces. Any comments welcome, I'll try not to cry :P

Anyway tomorrow I'll be posting about this year's Nanowrimo book idea!

Thank you and good night

Stupidgirl has left the building

23 Oct 2011

Didn't You Get The Memo? My Top Tips for Nanowrimo

This post has been a long time coming, but seeing as Nanowrimo starts in eeeep....(counts on fingers) 9 days, I thought I'd better put it out there. So, if you're thinking of doing Nano, you're a newbie and you've signed up or you've done it before (winner or not), this post is for you.

Btw, if you're wondering wtf Nanowrimo is, it's a crazy month of madness whereby you try to write a novel - or 50,000 words of one - in a month. Hence National Novel Writing Month. I've only done it once before - last year - when @aliamck encouraged me to do it. However I should add that prior to November 2010, the last time I'd written more than a sentence was at university. So doing Nano last year was a little like running a marathon with no practice. That's not to say it shouldn't be done like that. Anyway, on with the tips aka "what I learned from Nanowrimo 2010 and how it might help you"

Tip One: Write Like No One's Going To Read It
You know that expression dance like no one's watching? And then you see people dance who adhere to that - some are bad, some are good, some are awesome. But, they're all putting their heart + soul into it. Well from what I know about writing, that's how you should write. Sounds a bit crazy I know, but the books I most enjoy and the authors I most admire, are the people who write with a true clear voice and stick to it.
That's not to say you won't worry about people reading your writing, but with Nano, I worked on the basis that no one was ever going to see what I wrote. Not my husband, not my friends, not agents or publishers let alone the general public. Nope, not a page/sentence/word/letter. Remember that actually, you're in control of who sees your writing, so if you don't want people to see it then uh, don't show it to them. I found that reminding myself of this - and I did most days when I was nano-ing - really helped me overcome my writing inhibitions

Tip Two: Have Fun!
I can see the looks on your faces....how does writing 50,000 = fun? Well try not to take it all so seriously. If you're adhering to tip 1, you're well on your way there....remember if your book/character/plot is boring you - chances are, it'll bore other people. When you're a writer you effectively get to play god :)
A good example from my experience last year was when I got totally stuck. I'd written about 12k words and I knew what I wanted to have happen but I seemingly couldn't get there without writing pages of crap. So I asked my husband what I should do. (Warning: typical man response coming)
"Blow something up!"

13 Oct 2011

I'm a Freak and I'm On Fire - Lyric Day

So, I *may* have mentioned that I'm a Garbage fan. And I `like` their page on Facebook. Well recently they've added a Garbage Radio app and put all their b-sides on it. Which, if you're a nerdy fan like me, is freakin' awesome :P

So today's song is one that I've not listened to in literally years and I first had it as a b-side on um, my cd single of Stupid Girl. Yes, I was that much of a fan that I remember this shit. It's a great song if you're a little pissed off, it puts a bit of fire back in your mouth and in your head. And Shirley Manson clearly is not to be messed with. I still don't understand why they didn't put it on any albums, cause it's awesome - and here it is, so turn it up......

And here are the lyrics:

Trip My Wire - Garbage

Be easy on me, I'm fragile
I'm easily broken, be careful with me
I'm a fighter, you're a cheat, and you're a liar
I don't need this anymore
This is not what I came for
I won't stand for this at all
I won't see you anymore
(And All you do is) Get burned, Get burned x3(whispered)

Be easy on me, don't trip my wire
I'm a freak, and I'm on fire
Be easy on me, trip my wire
I'm a freak, and I'm on fire
I don't need this anymore
This is not what I came for
I won't stand for this at all
I won't see you anymore
(And All you do is) Get burned, Get burned x7(whispered)

(Be careful with me, I'm fragile
I'm a bitch babe, and I'm on fire)x2====>
Burn, Burn, Burn,and Burnx32
Trip, Trip, trip, tripping on my wire, and oh my well then
Baby I'm a spider
Keep, keep, keep, on tripping on my wire
You can light my friend and baby I'm a fighter
You're a cheap, cheap, cheap, and baby on my wire
And I will think, think, think, but baby I'm a fighter
Becareful with mex3
I'm fragile
You'll still keep trip, tripping on my wire
I'm a freak, freak, freak, but Baby I'm on fire
I don't need this anymore
This isn't what I came here for

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

6 Oct 2011

Badgirl Blogger

So I've been very bad and hardly blogged at all recently. I'm really, very, truly sorry. Forgive me? *bats eyelashes winsomely*

I don't even really have a decent excuse. Oh! But, remember the ankle debacle - fell over hiking in august, hurted ankle, cried, resting it. So yah, I like totally like fractured it dudes. (not sure where the valley girl speak just came from). But yes, I've been walking around on a fractured ankle for a month. Cause I'm hard. Sort of. Or maybe it's just not as painful as one might expect. Although I now know why it hurt so much when I went on a trampoline on it!!

I've never fractured anything below, and I got to see my xrays and everything. Very excited indeed.
So i'm resting it and mainlining ibuprofen :P

In other news I've been to gay Paree again (Paris folks) for a lovely work meeting with some drinks after. I'm hoping I didn't talk too much crap. Or worse, attempt to speak french....merde!

And now I'm just chilling out and giggling away at damnyouautocorrect.com

So I promise, this weekend, I'll sort out the blog and actually write some decent posts this month. This post is just to apologise and tide you over. Have fun!

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

4 Oct 2011

Fun with Trees - Our Holiday in Chamonix pt 2

So, just one last photo essay on Chamonix for you, but I think it's the best. It's just pictures of all the scenery and trees around the mountains and how everything is beautiful and complementary. Hope you like it!

Oh, and before I forget, if you have any questions about starting climbing or hiking or anything about our trip, just let me know and I'll do my best to answer :)

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building