Influenced While Writing

I was finishing up a meeting today when a friend called to break the news about Linkin Park front man, Chester Bennington.  I hadn’t received any notification via CNN or ABC News on my phone and when I went to their webpages all I saw was news concerning the upcoming release of OJ Simpson.  I had to run to another meeting so I hung up the phone and continued my search for news about Chester.  All it took was a quick visit to Twitter and there it was, a tweet from Mike Shinoda letting everyone it was real news.

I’m not a die hard fan of Linkin Park but I did see them during their Carnivores tour and I’ve bought almost every album.  Honestly, I knew them as the band where the lead guy screamed the lyrics and I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to be screamed at for a long period of time.  After my own small identity crisis (that can be more for a later time) I started listening to Fort Minor which led me to Linkin Park (thanks Mike Shinoda), right in time for Minutes to Midnight.  It’s not everyone’s favorite but it definitely sealed my love for LP.

I was excited with LP’s latest release, even if it has a strange, sad undertone.  Heavy was released first and I wondered what would cause such dark struggle.  My depressed characters gravitated towards it and also wanted to push it away, there was something which hit deep for them and their own internal mind games.  And then, when their tour was announced I was thrilled to buy tickets and see them at Citi Field.  And now, everything changes.

This song was my ringtone for a long time, it wasn’t that I was depressed or thinking about loss, I just thought it was beautiful.  Now, it’s fitting.

“And the shadow of the day
Will embrace the world in gray
And the sun will set for you”

Thanks, Chester and Linkin Park, for the lyrics and for being an influence on my writing.  Rest in Peace.

Shadow of the Day – Linkin Park

Hearing Voices?

I missed a couple of blog posts this week.  I blame my getting acquainted with Twitter and reading all of the fun tweets.  I can see how easy it is to scroll through things and get caught up in the short, simple messages.  So, back on track, back to the words and the typing and the creating of word soup or maybe word vomit.  I’ve had a lot of different characters come down and sit with me lately, all trying to get an edge in over the other, trying to sell me on why they should hit the page.  Some have definitely not made the cut, others are getting fleshed out (this is a strange and creepy expression if you ask me) and others are quiet.  It’s those quiet ones I worry about, they grow into the loudest voices after a while.  They kick the chair over they’ve patiently been sitting in and then demand the attention in the room.  And you know what?  All those other voices, primary, secondary, maybe even the tertiary ones, they all shut up and listen.

I thought I’d share a small sample of a character I killed off a couple of years ago when I was fooling around with darker characters.  I loved Nigel, I still love him in some small way since he pops back up in my waiting room of characters.  I went through a phase and read a fair amount of Regency romance and other historical romance novels and like I do with everything, I wondered if I could write in that genre.  A little backstory, Nigel was a Victorian doctor.  He lived on the outskirts of London and after aiding a few prominent families be began to make a name for himself.  He rarely accepted dinner invitations as he held a dark secret.  He lost his wife, he was unable to heal her and now he’s taken on the idea he can craft her spirit a new body, from his patient’s bodies.  Even if his patient’s didn’t need to lose a body part, he made it happen.  He was unable to shake the spirit of his wife and move forward, the pain too deep.

This is Nigel’s last scene:

There was a heaviness in the air, a finality that weighed down the ruined estate even further in its despair. The secrets that the estate held, they whispered excitedly to each other as a realization shone through the darkness. The image at the bottom of the stairs, what did it mean?

The day had been ordinary, dull. The same stagnant breath that slowly repeated day in and day out, uninterrupted unless the owner decided to haunt the premise. The owner had not been out to visit of late, the house accustomed to having only the ghostly tenant wander through the halls. The air rent with a strange tingled sensation as the owner suddenly appeared by horseback, his body slouched and inebriated, the horse slowing and stopping to bring its swaying rider to a stop in front of the broken, unhinged doors.

The doctor fell to the ground with a resounding smack. The harsh, hard earth did not even register though the alcohol daze that he had drowned himself in that morning. He lifted his head and squinted through the door and down the great hallway. Rusted suits of armor, rotted tapestries and countless other remnants of his former life taunted him to enter, to lose himself like he always did when he returned to wallow. Arm over arm, he crawled his way in to the hall. Slowly pushing himself up to his feet, he walked towards the back hall where he knew his darkest demon would find him.

“Nig!” the tinkling tone broke through the silence. A sounding of a bell, but not quite a perfect ring. “Nig!” she called again. The doctor felt his body convulse as her voice beckoned him more fervently. He stumbled down the hall and towards the mess of bottles, his boots crunching on shards of glass. She appeared from around the side, ethereal and beautiful as always. His breath knocked from his laboring chest. He reached for him and screamed in torment, agony from her chase of him finally beating him. He fell to his knees, collapsing in grief and hurt. He could no longer continue, he had to be free.

The drug moved slowly through his body, he was slightly conscious of the fact his fuzzy mind may be hallucinating due to his delusional thoughts or the poison working itself through his system. He could no longer take a full breath, he closed his eyes and waited. Suddenly a laugh broke from his throat, he covered his ears and screamed again as he could not stop her voice calling him back to her. He grabbed blindly for the shards of the discarded bottles from previous visits, raising a jagged end, he pressed deeply into his wrist, no pain registering. He sliced across both his wrists and felt only relief, the end to a torment. He felt her presence as his heart pumped precious blood out through his open wounds. She stroked the hair from his forehead. “Finally, Nigel, baby. Come back to me. Please.”

With a confidence that he would finally be free, he exhaled and closed his eyes, leaving behind only a trace memory of his existence.

How Do You Write?

I vowed after translating the majority of my last novel out of notebooks, journals, napkins, and scraps of paper, I’d never hand write another book.  I struggled, at times, to decipher sloppy cursive passages I’d scribbled at the end of a long work day.  After translating most of it and learning the joys of trying not to self-edit as I type (something I’ve already done a million and one times to this simple blog post) I felt comfortable writing at length on my laptop.  Hearing the clack of the keys as my fingers flew in an attempt to capture all of my wild thoughts became a simple pleasure.  A night cap, if you will.

So, why am I drawn to start almost every new project by committing pen to paper?  I’m back in the same tortuous loop of decryption!  It’s laborious.  It almost feels like a waste of writing time.  But is it?  The muses seem to strike best when I’m conversing with my characters and letting their dialogue flow across the page, as though I’m their therapist taking notes while they speak to me from whatever seat happens to be in the room.  I don’t go back and self-edit, it’s more stream of consciousness writing.  In some small way, the same feeling I get from my fingers tapping on keys, I get from keeping my cursive skills alive on the page.

I know I’ll be cursing in a couple of days or weeks when I start my conversion to the computer.  Hand writing anything seems so analog today in the digital world.  Maybe it’ll be a nice keepsake down the road, the scraps of writing from a crazed mind.  And maybe it’ll be fuel for a backyard fire.  Either way, as the ink flows, the hope is the words will too, and then the click of the keys will sound.  All things which equal a happy writer.

Finding Motivation

Quote: You fail only if you stop writing. - Ray BradburyI’ll admit it, I’ve been through a writing dry spell lately.  At least, novel writing.  I still get the same old clips and phrases and prose, which tend to roll out of me when I’ve been inspired by a song or visual stimulation.  (Have I mentioned before I have a love of landscape photography?)  I have started more than 2 novels and have a notebook full of ideas for more novels.  So, why then can’t I settle on one idea?  There are numerous excuses I could post here, including many which would explain my blogging hiatus.  But, at the end of the day, it’s just that I have not cracked my knuckles and felt the keys fly under my fingers as I get a solid idea put on screen.

It’s been a year since I finished my first novel.  A book which took me 5+ years to pluck from the depths of my dreams and believe it was worth telling.  My goal was to complete it by the time I turned 35, the bonus would be if I could find representation and/or a publisher to start the ball rolling on getting it out there to readers.  35 is right around the corner…  I’ve finished and I had Sunday Submissions set aside and somehow, I submitted to Sunday and the craziness of life.  Time to whip myself back into writer shape.  It’s time to really focus and get this going because this dream isn’t going to just come on a fluffy pillow presented by some footman from the days of old.  Nope, this is an elusive one I’ve got to chase down.  The chase is on, my friends.

Motivational Monday

Forward is ForwardI find this one to be very appropriate today.  My notes and writings may be a jumbled mess but at least I’m going.  I’ve worried going back to work would stifle my creativity and ruin my writing time.  I’ll admit I’m pretty tired most nights but I can feel an inking of the writing gene kicking back in.  So, slowly but surely, the next story will come.  I had planned for it to be the next book in my series, however, I think this crazy bird story idea is calling my name. 

Writer Wednesday

It’s Wednesday, right?  I think I might be turning into a pumpkin earlier and earlier at night, this does not bode well for my writing.  What happened to my ability to stay up late and jam to music and write?  Perhaps it went dormant or maybe it’s in a state of shock!  I’m currently working on writing a synopsis as I work toward finding an agent.  The rejection responses (or lack of responses) have started to roll in.  I’m really trying to find the best agent who will appreciate my storytelling voice and the fact I’m not able to pigeonhole my manuscript to one genre.  There are elements of paranormal, sci-fi, and romance in the novel.  But at the end of the day, it’s about character building and layering and hooking my readers into the world I’ve created.  Hopefully, that equates to a marketable audience.  Does anyone else have these kinds of thoughts?  Sometimes I worry I’m on the wrong track and I should have made different edits or cuts throughout the book so it would take on a different tone, but then I wouldn’t have been true to myself and the story I want to convey.  <deep breath>  This is only the beginning of the journey, I mustn’t weight myself down so much with worry.  Time to turn into a pumpkin and work more on the synopsis tomorrow.

Sunday Queries

Time to buckle down and submit another set of queries.  Since my work week is now unpredictable and busy, I think Sunday will be the day to sit down and write and query.  I’m looking forward to trying to find the schedule I’ll need to be a productive writer and member of the Corporate World.  Any suggestions on how you all have found the balance would be great!  Also, has anyone heard or using a My Trending Stories site?  I received an email inquiry from them the other day but I’m slightly skeptical.

Lazy Sunday

e-card: Going to do some gardening today.  I'm going to plant myself on the couch!I’ve missed a few blog updates this week, chalk it up to user error with WordPress.  I’ve posted a couple of things on my Facebook author page, but they’re all coffee related.  Coffee is definitely a staple in my life.  I made the edits suggested by my critique partner earlier in the week and since then, I’ve been letting the book marinate.  I’m surprisingly happy with the emotions and reaction I was able to provoke from my partner.  Now it’s time to re-crack open the book concerning agents and figure out this querying process.  Monday will kick off some serious searches.  But first, time to curl up on the sofa and watch the end of the Olympics.