I never go looking for a particular kind of music [to write by]. It’s always a case of knowing it when I hear it. That said, I have favourite Indie composers whose work resonates with me and often puts me in the mood to write.
Jo Blankenburg is one such composer, and his album ‘Elysium’ was at the heart of Miira, book 1 of Innerscape. This time around, the minor keys and slightly syncopated rhythm of his track, Stillness Speaks, is helping me find the mood for Death, a very different kind of character.
“The camera focuses on a small section of rubble, which moves ever so slightly. Then a hand emerges, nearly obscured by dust. The hand grabs a sharp edge of concrete, and holds tight. More debris moves, and a person eases out, so covered in dirt that every part of them—body, face, clothes, shoes—are all the same color.
The camera pans back, shows what’s left of the building, then the street, then the neighborhood, then the city…and on and on and on until we see the country, the oceans, the entire world. Rubble, ruin, disaster.
Amidst it all, though, are intact buildings, beacons of light.”
That quote was taken from the start of a brilliant article by Kristine Kathryn Rusch in which she tries to make sense of the year that was. It’s the first article in what will become a series, and I strongly suggest that all my writer friends read it because Rusch has her finger on the pulse of publishing, both Indie and Traditional.
In fact, that’s one reason I began following Rusch’s Business Musings in the first place; she knows the publishing industry inside and out because she’s been both a traditionally published author and an Indie. This is her bio on wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristine_Kathryn_Rusch
It’s thanks to Rusch that I stopped [secretly] hankering for an agent and a publisher. I may never become a rich and famous Indie, but her knowledge of the industry made me realise I wouldn’t have become a rich and famous published author either. The key difference, however, is that as an Indie I retain my rights to my work.
Is that important? I believe it’s vital because nothing on the internet ever goes away, and ‘sleepers’ abound, sleepers such as Andy Weir’s The Martian. The book was self published and hung around for years, not doing very much, until it suddenly became a hit and was turned into a movie. I know because I read it before it became a hit. And that gives me hope. Innerscape may not be setting the world on fire now, but in 20 or 30 or 50 years that may change. Vanity, I know, but I like to think that at some point, real world technology will catch up to the tech in Innerscape and then…then my Offspring may reap the benefits that I cannot. Posthumous fame and fortune isn’t so bad. 😉
Anyway, the important thing is to be informed. The old paradigms have shifted, and they’re still shifting, especially for Indie authors. Ditch the rose coloured spectacles and see the world of publishing for what it is:
A pantster is a writer who ‘writes by the seat of their pants’ – i.e. doesn’t outline in advance. I’m a pantster, mostly, and I learned a long time ago that pantsters have to trust their subconscious. If that little voice says ‘no’ then we have to listen, even if that means deleting thousands of perfectly good words.
Today I deleted 3688 words from the second book of the Suns of Vokhtah. I replaced all those words with just 490. To give those 490 words some context, the MC, Kaati snuck into the Healers’ Settlement as a refugee, not knowing that refugees were locked up like caged animals. It needs to escape but the other refugees are too beaten down to help. Or so it thinks :
Kaati woke to the sound of voices raised in anger. Propping itself up on one elbow, it peered across at the lattice and saw that the Big Twin was shouting at a group of iVokh armed with buckets and baskets. Clearly, the drudges had arrived, and they were not happy.
Rising to its feet, the young Trader was edging closer to hear what they were arguing about when Hands appeared by its side.
“Wait!” the Refugee hissed, grabbing Kaati’s wing with one hand. “Drudges not wanting to take body. In case being contaminated. Insisting that Healers should being called.”
“Not being sick!” the Guard shouted as it flung open the door. “Seeing for self. Dying of wound.”
Two drudges entered and placed their loads on the sand before gingerly peering down at the still form lying on the ground. One of them nodded, albeit reluctantly, and the Guard retreated back down the tunnel.
“Getting ready,” Hands whispered as a small group of Refugees began drifting towards the door. Were they trying to escape?
Apparently not. As soon as the small group reached the baskets left by the drudges, they darted in and began cramming their mouths with food.
“Ho!” Hands shouted, its voice shrill. “Should sharing!”
“S’so!” Someone else cried.
The cry was quickly taken up by all the Refugees in the cavern, and in moments the area directly in front of the door was a pushing, heaving mass of angry iVokh.
“Guard!” a drudge shouted as it pushed inside, using its basket as a ram.
But the Refugees were in no mood to be intimidated. One tore the basket from the drudge’s hand while the others shoved it up against the lattice. The whole structure creaked and groaned as more and more iVokh pressed against it.
“Now!” Hands whispered as the space before the door suddenly cleared. The two took off at a run but were still five wingspans from the opening when the Big Twin stormed into the cavern. Shrilling in fury, it began lashing out with its switch, and wherever the switch landed, iVokh keened in pain, Refugees and drudges alike.
They all fell back, except for Kaati. Ducking under the Big Twin’s arm, it grabbed the switch with one hand and a bunch of cilia with the other. And then it snapped the guard’s head down onto one bony knee. The iVokh was dead before its body hit the ground, delicate echo chamber smashed like an egg.
The young Trader roared in triumph as it brandished the switch in the air.
The drudges in the tunnel dropped their loads and fled. A moment later, a bone jarring crash came from behind.
Spinning around, the young Trader saw a band of iVokh pour over the fallen lattice. At their head was Hands. The two locked eyes for a moment before Kaati turned and ran after the drudges.
It felt good to be a hunter once more.
Despite losing so many words, this scene was very…therapeutic to write. This is the music that drove the words:
For those who are interested, LiquidCinema is a music production company similar to Two Steps From Hell, but not as well known to listeners. I’ve just discovered their music myself, and I’m totally in love.
Now I’m going to log on to ESO and kill some different kinds of monsters.
As a gamer and denizen of Melbourne [Australia], how could I resist this New Atlas article about an AR game set in the city I love?
‘The game is the first in the True Crime Mysteries series by indie studio 10Tickles, helmed by husband-and-wife team Andy Yong and Emma Ramsay. The couple are both fascinated by true crime, history and the city of Melbourne itself, and so set out to build an augmented reality experience that tapped into all three.’
You can read the entire article by clicking the link below:
Music has always been a vital part of my writing because it speaks directly to the emotional and creative side of my brain. In a very real sense, it puts the logical side to ‘sleep’. For me, that is a necessity because technical writing comes so much easier.
But finding the right music for the right story has never been easy. Until today.
I give you, ‘The Journey of a Scarecrow’, by Indie composer – Jean-Gabriel Raynaud:
The instant the Scarecrow track began to play [on Soundcloud], I knew precisely who it was for. The quirky playfulness screamed ‘Acolyte’!
For those few brave souls who read my scifi/fantasy novel, ‘Vokhtah’, you may remember the small iVokh who worked for the Healers in Needlepoint. The Scarecrow is its signature song.
For everyone else, here’s a short excerpt from the book that introduces the reader to the Acolyte:
The Female was fast asleep when the steady drip, drip of the timepiece was joined by the scrape of wood across sand.
It was a small sound, as was the gap that appeared between the edge of the door and its frame. The gap was just wide enough to admit two twiggy fingers tipped with blunted claws. The fingers strained at the wood to no avail.
A dull thump sounded from the other side of the door as something heavy hit the sand. Two more fingers appeared and four blunted claws dug into the wood as the fingers jerked at the door. Each jerk widened the gap a little further until persistence finally triumphed, and the opening became wide enough for a small black face to appear.
Everything about that face was small, except for the eyes, which glowed huge and golden in the soft, blue light of the chamber’s single glow-worm.
After darting a timid glance from left to right, the face disappeared only to be replaced a moment later by a small black rump. Over-sized, jet black wings swept the sand as the hunched shape of the small iVokh backed into the chamber, dragging a sloshing leather bota. The water sack was almost as tall as the iVokh itself.
Diminutive by any standard, the healers’ acolyte looked more like an iVokhti than a fully-grown iVokh. In fact, the only parts of its anatomy close to normal size were its wings, and they seemed far too large for its small frame.
The Acolyte’s lack of stature was accompanied by a corresponding lack of strength. The Junior mocked its weakness at every opportunity, but the young iVokh prided itself on never failing in its duty. Clever and resourceful, it compensated for the weakness of its body by using the power of its wings. Only rarely did it have to rely on brute strength as it did now.
Bent over the bota, struggling to regain its breath, it stiffened as derisive hoots sounded from the outer cavern.
The Acolyte’s hide took on a hot, yellowish tinge. It did not like being closed in with the female, but it liked listening to the Junior’s oh-so-witty barbs even less. Pulling itself upright with a jerk, it grabbed the leather handle of the door with both hands and pulled. Embarrassment was a powerful motivator, and the door closed quickly.
The Acolyte features in Book 3 of The Suns of Vokhtah. Unfortunately, I’m still on book 2. That means I mustn’t allow myself to listen to this new music until I’m ready to write the Acolyte’s story… -cries quietly-
I hate these games I have to play with my subconscious, but my muse is temperamental at the best of times. At least now, I have a lot to look forward to.
I met a lot of my closest online friends via books. I’ve also read a lot of wonderful books through my friends. Here’s hoping that Charles French’s generous initiative helps us all find new books, and new friends. 🙂
No! Not that kind of weekend…;) This kind of weekend:
The lighting effects are truly glorious in Elder Scrolls Online, and they inspired me to create classically inspired interiors for my in-game house. That involved finding recipes, gathering ingredients and finally crafting beautiful items like:
…the goblets and knick knacks you can see displayed on that shelving.
I also splurged and bought a very expensive recipe for a glass goblet and some ‘food’. In this last screenshot, you can see my wedge of cheese, the bread platter, and some kebabs. Dinner chez moi. 🙂
I loved the player housing in Final Fantasy XIV, but the housing and control in ESO are an order of magnitude better. Harder to master, but I think the effects speak for themselves. And yes, I did spend a lot of time playing this weekend. But I also spent a lot of time, and most of my energy mowing. I literally did not have enough oomph left over to write. Today, though, I will make up for lost time.
Nano took a back seat this morning as I’ve been searching for the ‘right’, writing music. I listened to new music by old favourites, but nothing really matched how I feel about this new story. So in desperation I went to SoundCloud and there, thanks to SoundClouds great recommendation engine, I found…
This is the playlist I just put together. It’s a bit rough as I just grabbed songs as I heard them, but the very first one – A World Asleep – is glorious and should give you some idea of the kind of music I need this year.
Jon Altino? If you’re reading this, I wanted to buy the album, but iTunes only offered Superhero. Please, please put a new album up there!
Well, time to put this lovely music to the test and fire up StoryBox. I have this feeling P7698 is going to flow a whole lot better today than yesterday.