Music and Writing (A Magical Duet)

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Music goes with a lot of things.  Reading, chilling, movies, break-up aftermath, homework, etc.  Music can also pair with your writing to produce material of extraordinary proportion.  Well, I may be exaggerating a bit.  Maybe not.  Only you know.

Before I start a writing session I make sure that I have my writing playlist on.  For me, my music selections depends on what type of scene I’m writing.  It’s almost like putting music to the scene of a movie even though it’s only a movie in your head.  If I’m writing a heavy, emotional scene, I’ll probably choose music that is slow, sad (in a minor key), and probably instrumental.

Need some examples of sad sounding instrumentals? You’re in luck!

Song for Bob by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber

She Remembers by Max Richter

What I usually do is find a heavily emotional scene in a movie and I take that music.  Many epics use voice and/or wailing to symbolize pain and heartache such as Sorrow from Gladiator and So Many Trails, So Many Tears by Zack Hemsey.  Ultimately, the music that you choose depends on your personal preference of course. But I’m just throwing some things out there.

Another thing I like to do is create character soundtracks.  Some of my characters don’t listen to to music, which is fine, but I always use hypotheticals to make my life easier.  What if they did listen to music? What if they existed in modern day Earth instead of two hundred years into the future? What songs remind me of this particular character? For a character who is refined, very graceful, and takes themselves seriously I might use a certain piece of classical music.  A good way to practice this is take a movie you like and listen for the type of music that plays for a certain character.  The same could go for television shows if it’s a drama.

Try looking up the soundtracks for these movies/tv shows as well.  Most likely the main character(s) will have a theme.  Princess Leia has a theme.  Rey has a theme.  To continue on my Star Wars streak, Anakin has a theme.  Other characters who exist out of the Star Wars universe have themes too.  Like Ezio from Assassin’s Creed.  He has a theme.  And the hobbits from Lord of the Rings have a theme.  They may not be a single character, but from hearing this you know it’s about the hobbits.  Any of them.

That’s all I’ve got for you.  I could add in more examples for other scene categories, but I don’t have to do that here.  If you’re in a stump or want some inspiration, shoot me a message or leave a comment! I’ll be happy to help!

Happy Musicing!

 

 

Starting that Adventure

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I sit down behind my desk and move all of my desk trinkets aside.  I am left with my small desk library, some tissue, coffee, and a world of silence.  A notebook with a blank page is under my hand as I twirl my pen, hoping that my first word would appear on that blank line at the top.

Starting a writing project can be daunting, but at the same time there’s an intriguing sense of excitement that comes from placing that first word on a blank page.  It’s like opening the cover of a brand new book that has an adventure that you have waited to embark on for a very, very long time.

Every time I have a chance to sit down and write with my fresh cup of coffee, I feel that excitement running through my fingers and the veins of my arms.  But sometimes that excitement turns into frustration as I rip the page from my notebook and throw it behind me with a sigh of exasperation. The excitement I felt doesn’t flourish, but instead it seeps into a discomforting wave of disappointment.

Frustration isn’t what I expect from writing, but that’s part of the adventure.  Writing is hard.  Writing is frustrating.  The purpose of being a writer is to write through the hardship and reap the rewards from the precious time that we place into our stories.  After all, we write for ourselves before other we write for others (unless you happen to be a ghost or freelance writer then…writing for people is your sole purpose).  For us fiction writers we have tales to tell, worlds to explore, characters to kill, and we enjoy it.

My life as never been the same since I started my writing adventure.  I have built worlds, created characters that have become a part of me.  Has anyone experienced my worlds and characters? No.  They may have read chapters but I haven’t gotten to the point where they have read a single work and have fallen in love with my characters.  My readers’ time will come soon enough.

Writing is a privilege and such a great way to emerge into a world that is far away from our reality.  God I love being a writer!

I have so many ideas, so many things that I want to get out of my head even though it may be a bit difficult.  But that’s okay.  That’s perfectly okay.  I live to place words on paper.  So do you.

Happy Writing!

Character Building

maxresdefault When I write stories, I love to start with the characters.  I tend to have a working character factory in my head, coming up with new traits, backstories, and the like.  Some of them move on to the usable stage, and others stay on the shelf until I want to use them or…until I never use them.   Characters can be difficult to create.  When I started writing I had no idea what I was doing and I was just replicating archetypes, creating stereotypes that are exceedingly overused throughout today’s media.  It was awful.  My character came out like canned cheese and I wanted to do something about it.  I don’t remember when, but I started reading articles about character creation and creating memorable characters.  Actually I probably just typed in “How to create memorable characters” into Google… Anyway, the main point is that I picked up was that I needed to create characters that I wouldn’t forget.  So that got me thinking….why do I like my favorite characters? What is it about Ezio Auditore do I like? What is it about Max Guerva, Ender Wiggin, and Korra that makes me so protective of them?

What are some elements of your favorite characters that you admire?

I like complicated characters.  Characters who are one-sided aren’t very memorable.  For the most part I appreciate when characters are written like actual people, where I am able to connect with them and call them my friends.  Whether I have taken my relationship with those characters too far or not is up to you, but I have subconsciously considered my characters my friends several times throughout my writing life. Now that I have officially confessed that, I will move on without any regrets.

Character building isn’t all about physical appearances.  Characters are essentially people.  They are supposed to have likes and dislikes, dreams, goals, fears, people they hate, traits that they hate.  Some of them may hate themselves.  When I’m writing, I usually tend to have a character sheet for all of my characters.  It looks somewhat like this:

Full Name: Occupation:

Physical Characteristics:

Background:

Habits/Traits:

Likes/Dislikes:

Notes:

Now, as you see I do include physical characteristics, but it’s not the main part of my character building process.  A large part of this character building outline is the “Habits/Traits” category.  That is the section that gets to heart of my character, the part which allows me to delve into the innermost part of my character.  These things are probably not going to be included into your story unless they are a large part of your character, but they are good things to know. The reader doesn’t necessarily need to know that your enemy is lactose-intolerant unless knowing that fact gives the reader an idea of how your hero is going to kill the enemy.  Writing down little bits of information gives you an idea of who your character is.

Here’s some random habit/trait question to spur your character creation:

Favorite color?

Vegetarian?

Favorite tv show?

Favorite quote?

How does s/he stretch in the morning?

Fashionable?

Favorite drink?

Favorite place to hang out?

How many friends does s/he have?

Favorite meal?

Any obsessions?

What would your character do for their dreams?

How important are their dreams?

Right or left handed?

Both?

Does your character like the read?

Does s/he fold the pages?

How organized is s/he?

Does s/he wear their hair a certain way?

Do they have an unconscious habit?

What do they do when they lie?

Do they like gum?

What is something they love to do?

Do they have a secret pastime?

How do they feel about love?

Do they like romance?

Do they like children?

These are just a few questions that I ask my characters.  I ask a lot more and I’ll possibly make a separate post with more questions but for now I will leave you with these.

Happy character-building!