Shaking Off The Rust

Howdy, howdy!  Yesterday was Dad’s birthday, so I want to say another quick happy (belated) birthday to him!  Feel free to leave him a greeting here or on my social media pages and I’ll pass it on to him.  Anyway, this week, I want to ramble a bit about figuring out when to switch projects and when to power through the slow points, which is something I really struggle with.  I was always encouraged to finish a project before moving on to the next one.  But what happens when you try to push through the mental wall blocking you from the story and three months later you’ve only managed to move forward thirty pages?  When is enough enough?

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It’s kind of like when your EVA goes berserk and tries to smash through the wall, but there’s just more wall behind that wall, until it finally it runs out of energy and you, the pilot, are left a bleeding and broken mess.  Yeah, like that.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little (okay, extremely) stagnant when it comes to my writing.  I fully admit that I haven’t been working on that front as much as I should, even though I have no excuse not to be writing.  But the words refuse to come.  I know the storyline and everything, but the novel doesn’t excite me at the moment.  In fact, it doesn’t instill any emotions in me.  That’s not to say that I’ve given up on it.  Not at all.  I know exactly why I’m lacking any emotional investment in this book (it’s the second book in my Demonic Jewels series, the first of which I’m querying agents with and I can only take so many rejections before I start questioning the entire concept of the series, but that feeling will eventually pass, I hope).  And I’ve been trying to push through all of this for the better part of three months, but it’s proving impossible.

I’ve tried a number of tactics to get past the wall.  I wrote some short stories then tried to go back to the novel.  Didn’t help.  I worked on revisions to a different novel then tried once again to get back to Bailey and her crew.  No luck.  I even tried just plotting everything out in my head so I’d know exactly where I was going when I sat down to write (a method that has worked well in the past), and still nothing.  What else can I do?  Seriously, I’m open to suggestions.

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I don’t think dropping an anvil on me will work, but you can try!

However, over the past two weeks, some characters who have lived in my head for many years (at least 12) have been pushing their way to the front of my mind.  Normally, they only bring vague story ideas with them, but this time they have something concrete that I’m actually super in love with.  It’s well outside of my wheelhouse, combining fantasy (I can do that) with a cozy-esque mystery (not so sure I can pull that part off) and a dash of romance (will probably fail miserably at that part).  But I’m excited just thinking about it, and the last thing I felt this way about I finished in record time.  So, I’ve decided to put Bailey on the back burner again while I revise my other novel-in-progress and write this new one.  Is that a stupid decision?  Maybe.  But if it gets me writing, who cares?

wish+me+luckWhat about you?  What do you do when you can’t get past a block on a project?  How do you know when it’s time to set things aside and try something else?  Leave your thoughts or comments or questions here or on my social media pages!

A To Z: Songs To Write By

Hello, hello!  As you can probably tell by the title, I’m having a hard time coming up with topics again.  Suggestions are most welcome.  Anyway, I decided to do an A to Z list (by song title) of songs that (usually) end up on my writing playlists.  Granted, every story is different and requires different music, so this is in no way comprehensive.  In fact, my current WIP has been written with little to no music.  Sometimes, noise just gets in the way.  But, when I do use music, you can be pretty sure the following songs will be playing.

A: “All of Me” by John Legend.  In case I have to write one of those sappy love scenes.  You know the ones.

B: “Battlefield” by Blind Guardian.  Because power metal makes everything you write sound more epic.  Even when you’re sure it sucks.

C: “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” by Yoko Takahashi.  “A” and “The” don’t count.  But this is the opening of Neon Genesis Evangelion, which reminds me of Shinji, who reminds me that it’s okay to write characters you know some people are going to hate.  Because I love to hate Shinji.

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She’s not wrong.

D: “Did You Hear the Rain?” by George Ezra.  It’s a new addition for my list, but it’s awesome and that’s enough of a reason.

E: “Eres Tu” by Kany Garcia.  Because sometimes you just need a bouncy song when you’re slogging through the tedious parts of stories.

F: “Float On” by Modest Mouse.  To remind me make everything worse before it gets better, but to have my characters take most of it in stride.

G: “Girl Anachronism” by the Dresden Dolls.  The song is great, but anachronisms are bad in stories.

H: “Hiai to Melancholy” by Matenrou Opera.  No special reason.  It’s just lovely.

I: “I Come with Knives” by IAMX.  For all those weird scenes that you sit there going “what the hell is wrong with this person?” as you write them.

J:  “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars.  Because sometimes I have to remind myself that I originally liked these characters for some reason.

K: “Kraam” by Bodyslam.  A soothing Thai song is always appropriate.

L: “Love Me Dead” by Ludo.  Because sometimes I have to write about unhealthy and creepy relationships, but Ludo makes it fun.

M: “Muma -the Nightmare-” by Buck-Tick.  Because Buck-Tick, that’s why.

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What’s not to love about Buck-Tick?

N: “Neo Universe” by L’arc en Ciel.  Upbeat for all the happy moments, rare as they may be.  Plus, they have Hyde-san.

O: “Odd One” by Sick Puppies.  Because everyone needs moral support sometimes.  Even the voices in your head.

P: “Postcards” by James Blunt.  For the sappy scenes.  I swear.

Q: “Quitter” by Edgewater.  Sometimes rage is needed in stories.

R: “The Rest of My Life” by Less Than Jake.  To remind me to include internal conflict as well as all the fun stuff.

S: “Sympathia” by Versailles.  Just because I really like it.

T: “Thank God I’m Pretty” by Emilie Autumn.  To remind me that even the luckiest of my characters need to have issues.  Everything, even beauty, has a downside.

U: “Ugly” by the Exies.  Because sometimes I forget how to do teenage angst.  Songs like this help me remember.

V: “Vinushka” by Dir en grey.  Creepy, rage, dark, disturbing.  That’s the kind of stuff Diru is helpful with.  Also, beauty and depth.

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Plus, Dir en grey has Kyo-san.

 W: “Wolfen (Das Tier in Mir)” by E Nomine.  Epic music makes for epic stories.  Also, werewolves.

X: Xanadu by Moi dix Mois.  It’s actually the only song on my computer that starts with x.

Y: “You Can’t Be Missed if You Never Go Away” by Cobra Starship.  In other words, heed that call to adventure and leave me alone.

Z: “Zakuro” by Vaniru.  It’s another one of those that I just like.  I don’t know the words, so I can tune it out if I need to in order to write.

What are some of the songs that usually go into your writing or painting or whatever other creative outlets you pursue playlists?  Feel free to share some links in the comments or on my social media pages.  And don’t forget to suggest some blog topics or ask me some questions if you have any.

See ya!

J-Rock: How I Became A Fangirl

Howdy all!  Last week, I asked for some suggestions on what to blog about, so Lew and Joe asked how I got into J-Pop/Rock.  It’s not really that long or interesting of a story, but they wanted to know.  So, please excuse me while I fangirl (get overly excited, squee, and babble on about a certain subject) over some of my favorite music and musicians while I relive those early days.

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And there are definitely some pretty men.  That’s Miyavi, by the way.

 

I guess I got into Japanese music the same way a lot of people do: anime.  I grew up with the Americanized version of Sailor Moon, then Pokémon and Digimon and Cardcaptor Sakura and all of that came along.  But it wasn’t until I was sixteen or seventeen (around the time I started looking to the Internet for friends instead of hanging out with my sister and her friends) when I began searching for fansubs and the original versions of the shows that I started my brief voyage into the world of J-Pop, then my descent into J-Rock.

It wasn’t just anime exposing me to the music, but also the friends I was making by hanging out in anime chatrooms.  (Do you even remember those?  The Yahoo chats?  Oh how I miss those days.)  It takes a lot for a theme song to entice me into looking it up, so I was a total n00b to the music compared to most of the people I met.  So, I listened to every song people recommended.  For example, one of the people I hung out with was a rabid fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion, so for a while, I knew every song (and every version) in that series because he would insist I listen to them.  It wasn’t that I enjoyed everything I heard, but I was open to the possibility that I might like it.

Then, I got into YouTube.  Back in the day, before Google and Vevo and all of the legal stuff, YouTube was a wonderland of obscure music.  Plus, it was great about recommending things based (no matter how remotely) on whatever you were watching instead of just suggesting whatever happens to be popular that week, which is how I found my way into J-Rock and all its lovely subgenres.  I had my first brush with bands like Dir en grey (awesome if you like metal), Buck-Tick (kind of an 80s vibe), Versailles (symphonic metal), and Miyavi (guitarist).  From there, I just kind of dug around on my own to find things that I adore.  It also doesn’t hurt that most of the beautiful women are actually men (a fangirl topic for another day).

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Versailles.  They’re all men.  Yes, even him.

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Exist Trace.  And they’re all women.

 

It was just something that happened.  There was no big plan involved.  It was just a new obsession stemming from an old one, like a slow descent into madness.  We all have these types of love, so tell me about yours.  What’s your random obsession that makes people wonder how you got into it?  And how’d it happen?