On Making Your Story Bigger!

As writing becomes more of a daily habit for me, and as I prepare for NaNoWriMo next month I’ve been teaching myself to “take a step back”.

After I’ve written something–whether it’s a character profile, a snip of a story, a plot point or a twist, I “take a step back”, take a long drawl on my pipe and ask myself, “How can I make this bigger?”

I’m a “discovery” writer. The story grows and develops before I even put the entire outlien together, and that comes from “taking a step back”.

Allow yourself to look at the smallest inception of your story and expand that inception into something bigger and better.

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Something Old, Something New

This quote from Aaron Sorkin has had me thinking over the past few days about my own writing. Looking back, a lot of write I write is just a mishmash of things I’ve snagged from some of my favourite writers, for both film and books.

Nothing is new under the sun, and we as writers may struggle to come up with “something new”. Chances are that’s not happening. There hasn’t been a totally original story in hundreds of years–all of them are in one form or another something that we’ve either heard or read elsewhere. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I encourge you to “steal” from your favorite writers. For the script I’m working on, I’ve been pulling through movies and shows like SupernaturalConstantineHellboy, and the Blade Trilogy .  For my novel I’ve been re-reading all of my high fantasy books such as Eragon, Fool’s Gold,  and The Nightangel Trilogy. I’ll take the things that I really like from those books and either alter them a little bit, or pull from other resources that may bnot even be related to my novel and make it my own.

That there should be the focus of writers. Let’s not focus so much on “writing something new”, but more so, “writing the story that we want to read”.

Music, Writing and Productivity pt. I

I’m always listening to something, almost no matter where  Igo, especially if I’m walking log distances.   Whether it be music or podcasts, having something in my ears helps my messy mind stay on track, otherwise, it floats away like the kid who lost their balloon at the carnival.

 

So, it’s no surprise that I listen to music when I write. Music does three things for me when I sit down to spin stories.

1.) Music Sets the Stage

I have MONTHS worth of music on my Spotify account–my longest and favourite being a  whopping 240+ hours of music. Having such a vast library allows me to pick and chose a music playlist that best sets the mood of my story. For example! I’ve been writing short pieces for a YA novel I’ll write one day, and the natural overdrive I hear from groups like Skillet and Five Finger Death Punch, and the melodic and symbolic lyrics from Nightwish and Epica set the tone perfectly for this universe. The feeling of love, loss, and desperation rambles around in my head and channels what I feel from the music to fuel the emotion and mood of the story.

For the urban fantasy I’m writing–my biggest and most important project–I have a playlist of swing, electro-swing and modern swing. The slick, sexy sounds of an almost alternate 1920’s universe set the stage for the slick, sexy and upbeat universe of an urban fantasy.

 

2.) Music Inspires

I don’t have to be in front of a notebook or laptop to be fueled by music. Like I said, I’m messy-minded, and music molds my messy mind of mine (oh, look! An alliteration!) into something workable. Music inspires me. Be it classical, dubstep, melodic metal or gangster rap, music has the power to spark a new story in mind. I may have a small spark of an idea floating around somewhere, and a certain style of music clicks with that inkling of an idea, and a song can take it from there, giving the story life.

What about you? Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind of music do you listen to?

Morning Patrol

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A soft, lilting voice gently stirred me from sleep. My eyes fluttered open; the scent of earth, wood, and our night of lovemaking still kissed the room. It wasn’t unusual for my darling to be awake at this hour; being a soldier in the Dawn Patrol meant sunrise marches. But this morning, was different. She wasn’t so tense like she is when I bring her the day’s lunch during her march. Her back ramrod straight, shoulders at a forty-five degree angle, slender fingers grasping a longspear, her armor casting eerie flashes across the ground. No, this time was different.

Facing the sun, and lazy day to come, her nude body was an oil painting of flawless imperfection. Her pale hair fell down the arch of her slender back. Milky skin, licked by fragments of the rising sun shafting through gauzy curtains. Ribbons of long, jagged scars danced across her soft back, her sides; an uneven landscape of pink and alabaster. Elven blankets pooled around, and between strong thighs, a tight stomach, and small breasts. Her pointed ears twitched once, and she turned her head towards me. Her high cheekbones were painted in azure; the Marks of War. She bit her lower lip, and tucked her legs underneath her arms, resting a cheek on her knee, almost…teasingly hiding her body from me. Periwinkle eyes twinkled in playful misbehavior and a crooked smile touched her soft lips.

“Good morning, darling,” she whispered softly.

I wrote this piece a couple of years ago, inspired by the artwork of wlop, and the Two Steps from Hell soundtrack Miracles. As you will see in more of my writings, I’m quite fond of elves, warrior women and the beautiful transpirings of eveyrday life. I’m not sure where this story will go in the future, or if it even has a future. Either way, I qutie enjoyed writing the two characters. 

Of Hookah and Story History

My best friend and I were sitting in a hookah lounge together, one wintery evening. It was the first time he and I hung out outside of work, and we got the opportunity to talk about Doctor Who, Star Wars vs Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. As he blew smoke rings into the air (and as I tried and failed horribly), he asked me about my writing. I flew into a frenzy, spilling a lot of my current project (more about that in the coming weeks!) with him. He mentioned something to me, that I’d love to share with you all. He asked me if I’d ever read The Silmarillion. Being the ever nerd that I am, of course I’ve read “The Silmarillion!” For those of you who don’t know, The Silmarillion is J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythopoeic narrative that of the universe of Eä in which are found the lands of Valinor, Beleriand, Númenor, and Middle-earth within which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.

And I thought to myself…

And thus began my new adventure in writing! And boy, what an adventure it has been! Writing down the history and lore of my universe allowed me to dig deeper into my characters and the way the world worked. From the behaviour of certain species of characters, to the history of my heroes and villains. I understood why the world worked the way it did.


As I began to carve out the history of my story, as I began to whittle the mythos of my world, a deeper, richer plot began to emerge itself from the wood shavings of imagination. I began to have a clear depiction of the story from beginning to end.

When I go back and begin the writing process, I don’t have to world build along the way. I can look back at my mythos, my Silmarillion and the story is that much clearer to me.


So I challenge you, fellow writers to do the same! Write your Silmarillion! Write out the universe of the world first. Before you plot, before you write that first chapter, carve out the lore of your universe, and watch the story unfold on its own.

Musings on Muses

“She is the beginning of new life, baby flower in the spring
The symphonic tune of summer that makes the world sing
She is autumn leaves dancing, illuminated by evening light
All assuring warmth, through a harsh winter’s night
The beauty in changing seasons is what I think of
When I stare up at the sky and ponder the woman that I love”


One of the most fulfilling and beautiful things about being a writer, is perhaps our ability to craft the most amazing tales of poems from the strange and wonderful world around us.

The above poem, dear readr was inpsired by a woman that I love very much. In fact, it is her that inspired poetry writing in me, but that is another tale for another occasion.

She is the well of life in which that poem spring from. She is the source. She is, my muse.

Many of us creative types are inspired by the amazing people around us. Throughout history, they have breathed creative life into our lungs, that would drive us to create our best work.

Patti Smith was muse to Robert Mapplethorpe–but oddly enough his photography was her muse as well.

Camille Claudel–sculptor and mistress of sculptor Auguste Rodin–a “revolt against nature; a woman genius”.

And let us not forget “youthquaker” and “it” girl Edie Sedgick–muse to oddball extrordinaire Andy Warhol–filmed shopping for clothes or smoking cigarettes.

We all are inspired by the wonderful, amazing and beautiful people that surrounds our day today lives. Whether total strangers, friends or lovers. There is–there CAN–be someone in your life that inspires you to create amazing, fantastich art. All because they are in your life. Thus dear writer, value your friendships and relationships. Build bonds with amazing and strange and wonderful people. You never know who will inspire a great work within you…