music

Music and Writing

For me, music plays a huge part in my writing.

I need to have almost absolute silence when I write or when I edit. This means I either need the radio playing and any one else in the room can’t talk to me, or I need to put my iPod on.

Since I’m in my office editing most of the time, I put on my iPod. Depending on the scene I’m writing/editing or the emotion I am trying to replicate I will listen to certain music.

For fight scenes, I usually like to listen to upbeat music or purely instrumental. For emotional scenes I like to listen to Stephen Moccio’s Exposure album. Sometimes, I prefer to listen to J-Pop because I like the beat but I don’t get as distracted by the words since I don’t understand them all. Except for a few songs that I’ve listened to so many times I know the words, I just don’t know what they mean.

Music can be very important for me if I’m “stuck” too. It can help me hammer out something that’s maybe half-ass but that I know I can polish up later, it can help me figure out exactly what kind of emotion my character needs to display by evoking that emotion in myself.

Right now in my editing I’ve come across a scene that I rather like, but I feel as though it happened too fast. This afternoon’s editing is going to be reviewing what I reviewed yesterday and the subsequent chapters to see if I can cut the scene I wrote in half and space it out a bit more. Hopefully that will be doable and not take too much time. There’s probably going to be a lot of that since I’m at the part in my story that I was “meh” about and a lot of it was just written to bring conclusion to the piece.

Most of it is fine the way it is, but I can’t help feeling that for this particular scene I rushed some things and didn’t explain some things carefully enough.

I’ll see what damage I can do when it’s my lunch break 😀

Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, 1 comment

Inspiration

So a song just came on my iPod that made me think of this topic. It’s called “Spirit Inspiration” by Nothing’s Carved in Stone. The song is the opening theme from the anime Blast of Tempest and I’m not sure if the band that sings it is J-Rock or not as the entire song is in English and I haven’t had time to look them up.

I digress….

When I heard the song it made me think of where I get the inspiration for my stories from. I have touched on this before, but now I want to go more in-depth.

My inspiration definitely comes partially from video games. I learned this as I was playing Tales of Vesperia this weekend. Man, I love RPG’s. I love games where you can swing a sword around and learn special attacks and use magic and you’ve got this quest to go out there in that ‘world’ and find something or someone. These quest-type games were a lot of the drive behind Black and Red. There’s a world, something happens in said world, and now a group of unlucky acquaintances are off to travel this world and discover the reasoning behind what happened. There is magic. There are swords. It’s awesome. Well, to ME it is.

I also get a lot of inspiration from manga, as I’ve said before. I was never that into Western comics when I was younger. That could be because I grew up relatively poor and didn’t have the money to buy comics. It could also be that since I was poor, I didn’t watch a lot of tv so I didn’t watch a lot of the cartoons that were based on the comics like Batman and Superman and the Justice League etc. I discovered these shows and comics when I was much older and my love for manga had already exploded. I read a lot of novels like those by R.L. Stine (for my age group anyway, and some Goosebumps) and I loved the horror aspect of things. That was the driving force behind a lot of my earlier stories, which I no longer have. I have the basics of them locked up in my mind, but that’s it.

Some inspiration comes from music. The beat of it, sometimes the lyrics. An amazing cross between music and anime is the movie Interstella 555 which is a full length anime movie to the music of Daft Punk’s Discovery album. No words. Just the music. It’s frigging epic and I highly recommend it if either one of those things is your cup of tea.

And then, the inspiration for the characters. A lot of that is again built upon the characters of anime and manga, but also built on the people I know. Not so much the physical features, but the attitudes and personalities. Usually the people I dislike get…done away with in my stories 🙂

I’ve always used my writing as a sort of self-therapy and it helped a lot when I was younger. My darkest stories were always written during my darkest times which would be between 13 and 23. Now that things are much better in my life, I have to find a new muse.

Hopefully it’s not hiding somewhere I can’t find 🙂

 

Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, 0 comments

The Drawbacks of a Day Job

The time for editing is seemingly shorter and shorter.

I tend to write these posts at my day job as I usually arrive obnoxiously early and have nothing to do. That’s just the way traffic works for me.

IT’S SO SLOW AND BORING at my day job these days. I work for a educational institution as an advisor for prospective students. Since the May term is not one of our higher intakes, no one is coming in these days.

Which makes me want to work on my story. Which puts me in a dilemma. I have thought about uploading the story I want to publish by April to Google Drive so that I can work on it in my downtime (which seems to be all the time). But then I know I would feel guilty doing “personal work” on “work time”. Which is frustrating because I’m not doing anything anyway, so why not work on a personal project?

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!

Why do I have to be such a good worker and pour my everything into my day job?! Maybe because I have bills to pay and it’s impossible for my family if I were to not work full time.

*sigh*

On the good side, I’ve been looking into SmashWords more and I’m really leaning towards publishing with them. I have to review the tax information as I’m Canadian and they are an American company. I haven’t had time to review all their FAQs yet, but I think I might do that on my downtime.

This morning is going to be a staffing gong-show. (Gong-show is a phrase I started hearing a lot when I moved to Alberta from Ontario. It would be the same as “shit show” or “insanity”. There you go. Nuances of Canadian language lesson right there).

I’ve also FINALLY decided on a proper title for my book. The title I had been using was really more of a file name so I could save it under something and not get it mixed up with my other work.

It’s going to be called Black and Red.

“But Sarah, that’s not a very fantasy-adventure-like title,” you say.

That’s okay. Just because I write in that genre doesn’t mean I’m going to have an over-obvious title. One of my other stories (the one I’ll work on publishing next) has a more “fantasy-like” title. Black and Red just suits this one. When you read it (if you read it) you’ll understand more.

Well, it’s almost time for my day job to being. Better crank Styx while I can and dance in my cubicle.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Oh! The Tragic Hero! It's just……TRAGIC

So everyone has their own rituals or things they need to do in order to write ‘properly’ and everyone will have their own genre or aspect of writing that they are good at.

My thing is music. There needs to be music playing. I am horribly unable to cope with silence so there is usually some sort of noise going on in my house. Right now I’m sitting at my desk in my office with my headphones on as I am very early for work and no one else is here yet. It’s too quiet.

I don’t really have a specific music I need to be listening to. It’s really whatever strikes my fancy. There are a few necessities that need to be on my iPod or iTunes when I am writing though. First and foremost: Stephan Moccio’s “Exposure” album. I friggin love all that piano shit. It’s just piano. It’s beautiful. To me, anyway. Hell, when I got married I walked down the aisle to the song “Zephyr” and it was wonderful. Depending on what sort of scene I’m writing, I’ll throw Mr. Moccio on the iPod or whatever and pound away at my keyboard.

Other times, I need something exciting. This can usually be met with a variety of J-Pop and J-Rock or some good old 70’s and 80’s rock. Journey is one of my more favourite ones when I’m thinking of older music. Do As Infinity or Rookiez is Punkd for my J-Pop and J-Rock. Of course, there is MUCH MUCH MORE that I listen to and that I like, but that would be an entire post of just what’s in my iTunes library, and I’m sure that would be boring as fuck to read. So, if you want to know any more, just ask me 🙂

When I’m stuck and I just can’t seem to make my story move anywhere, I’ll take a break and just let my iPod go through whatever the hell it wants or I’ll read some manga or watch an anime. If I’m writing a battle scene, I try to read or watch something in a completely different area, like a comedy or romance. On the flip side, if I’m stuck developing romantic relationships I won’t watch my Shojo anime or read my Shojo manga. It’s usually Shonen (manga and anime geared to boys so there’s lots of fighting and robots and stuff) that I turn to or something in the mature stream. It’s a  nice way to clear my head with something I love and won’t overly influence the current thing I’m fighting. *pow!*

Another way to clear my mind is to play a video game. Right now, my games of choice are Borderlands 2, Resonance of Fate, Tales of Vesperia or watching my husband play Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch on PS3. If I REALLY want to play on PS3 myself, I pull out the God of War series and let Kratos beat the living snot out of EVERYTHING in his path. It’s awesome.

As for the things I know that I usually write on: my heroes/heroines are usually of the ‘tragic’ persuasion. So these people have had such a hard life or there’s just something about them that makes everyone around them uneasy and junk. I can’t write fluffy feel-good stories. There is blood. There is murder and killing. There is agony and heartbreak. As I stated before, my stories are not for children and they are probably not to be read by teeny-boppers. Now I understand that just because you’re 14 doesn’t mean you won’t be old enough or mature enough to understand and appreciate the stories I write. I grew up reading Stephen King and John Saul when I was 13+, so I’m with ya there. I’m just saying if you’re looking for something like “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” you might want to look elsewhere.

Will this turn people off my writing? Well, yeah. Probably. But I don’t expect everyone in existence to absolutely love everything I write. I don’t love everything I read, after all.

A lot of the time when I write, I envision what my story would look like it if were an anime or a manga. *heh* Since those are my two loves and that entire culture influences what and how I write sometimes, it’s inevitable. If you’ve never read a manga or watched an anime doesn’t mean  you won’t get my stories.

They are fantasy after all. There’s magic, and swords, sometimes guns and fantastical creatures. If you appreciate the basics of fantasy and love fantasy stories for that reason, you may very well enjoy what I write.

I’m currently waiting for Amazon to get back to me about that Direct to Kindle Publishing issue I previously had. Yeah, I’m still waiting. I contacted them again last night so hopefully I will hear something by the end of this week. I really want to start sharing the details of my stories or posting a chapter or two to gauge some reactions. Even if I get a bunch of people hating on my work, I’m still going to go forward with publishing. If there is constructive criticism, I’ll listen to it and see what I can do before finalizing my draft and submitting it for publishing. But I’m not about to stop or change a whole lot just because one or two people don’t like it. Why? Because I said so. Because this is MY work and if I don’t want to do anything different, I won’t.

I’m sure you guys won’t be assholes though, right? Don’t be assholes. Assholes don’t usually have friends 😛

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments