Monthly Archives: January 2013

Scribbling to a Soundtrack

Someone on Twitter asked if playing music while working was helpful or hindering to one’s writing. My answer boiled down to “it depends” (I know, so helpful). Frequently, music can be a huge distraction – having the radio on while I work is typically not helpful for me. However there are times when I’m trying to write something specific and, in those cases, having a sound-track to write to is actually a big help.
 
I’ve played mixes of Florence + the Machine, combined with bits of SJ Tucker’s “Quartered” album to take me into heady, club-land sensory overload, so that I can see the swirl of strobe-sound-smell-touch that my characters are being swallowed by as I drag them down the rabbit hole. I’ve played jazz, big-band, and classic torch songs when I’m writing stories like “In the Pink” (about a soft-butch seduced by her burlesque dancer bff/crush); and buckets of Ani DiFranco (am I showing my age?) when writing about queer-femme-punk girls hooking up at a rock show (“Rock Star”).
 
In these situations, yes, music also has a hand in the actual story – Miss Kitty Velvet dances to “Love Cats”, but gives Jessie fever later on; fangirls swoon when Jane Cherry howls into her mic, but Bikini Kill is playing in the background when they get it on at the after party. You get the idea. But that isn’t always how things work out. For example, when I wrote “Wolf and Scarlet” (about misfit teens from rural Idaho being all grown up and finding each other – now both openly kinky dykes, and both still carrying a bit of a torch for each other – at their highschool reunion), I spent days listening to a mix of Dixie Chicks and Taylor Swift combined with Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album… and it worked. Equal parts “bad kid”, “mean”, “heavy metal lover” and “not ready to make nice”, mixed with “cowboy, take me away” “you and I” and “mine”.
 
Do you write to a soundtrack?
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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OrgASM – The Continuing Saga

So, no suprises here, I’ve written 1/4 stories that I said I’d have done for Friday.
But I’m not posting in order to talk about procrastination or doing things at the last minute. I’m posting because, well, my Leather Woo Porn turned out not to be porn.
My wife has yet to give it “the boner test”, so it may yet turn out to have some sort of hotness factor. But, yeah. Not so much for me.
I think the Woo overtook the Porn in this particular leather adventure. There are areas where I could add explicite fucking and/or more turn-on (sure ways to make something porn, afaic), but they don’t fit with the actual story. The story is someone’s symbolic death and rebirth, done to allow her to leave her past (the many things she considers to be her failures) in the past and get on with life, having made a fresh start.
And on that level it totally works.
But it’s not porn.
The MC, while she’s attracted to her friend/domme/priestess, isn’t preoccupied by, or focussed on, that attraction. The dynamic tension (confict?) in the story is “person against self” rather than “person against person”. It’s a good story – or the first draft of a good story, more accurately – but it isn’t porn.
 
And I’m not sure what to do about that, given that the story takes place during a suspension-&-power-exchange scene. Crikey.
 
So I’m feeling a bit stuck, I don’t mind telling you.
 
Maybe the next one will go more according to plan?
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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OrgASM – Just the Beginings, But It’s A Start

So Circlet Press has organized a writing challenge, for those smut-writers who choose to accept it.
OrgASM stands for “Organized Advanced Smut-writing Month”.
They are basically offering anyone who writes erotic fiction the chance to have a Writer’s Group (online) for a month. It’s like Nanowrimo, but for porn. 🙂
 
I’ve set my own (very small) challenge, which is to draft four short (1000-3000 words each) stories in the “genre” of Leather Woo with the intention of having four short stories that I can shop around to various anthologyies as they come my way.
It’s a really modest goal.
 
Right now, I’m 1000 words into my first story, and I know how the scene (bondage and violet wands) is going to play out. I’m pleased with that.
That I’m halfway through the month and less than a quarter of the way to my end-goal… less pleased. But I’m still started and working and getting there. So good. 🙂
On to more writing. 🙂
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Character Archetypes – A Handy Chart (link)

Here. 🙂 Have a link to a list of twelve archetypes that an author can use for character-building.

I look at that chart and see that the MC in my novel is a mix of “The Innocent” and “The Everywoman” in terms of what she’s afraid of and what she hungers for… but also because of how boring she is.
I’m wondering if the way to bring her into her own (and make her more interesting) is to thrust her into a position where she has to fill the rolls attributed to the archetypes on the opposite side of the chart – “The Explorer” and “The Creator”.

There are ways I can do this – mostly (duh) through putting her in situation where the way out of isolation, and the way to avoid succumbing to her fears, the way to get what she hungers for, is to put her in situations where she has to explore her creativity (not just art but ingenuity).

Which is all well and good to say, but it still means figuring out what scenarios to use in order to make that happen.
Still, it’s a help and it gives me a dirrection to work in. 🙂

TTFN,
A.

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Chasing Poetry

I wrote a quick post for the VERSeOttawa blog, and I thought it would also fit here, thus I’m cross-posting:
 
~*~
 
I have a question for anybody reading this: Where do you find your poems?
I don’t mean “where do you find inspiration”. Inspiration is all over the place. The antique refreshments trolly sitting in my living room with the fancy wooden inlay: inspiration. The falling snow and the minus-27 temperatures and the walk I took early this morning: Inspiration. Idle No More: Inspiration.
Inspiration is everywhere.
 
What I’m asking is what does it for you. Does it take heartache and emotional turmoil for a poem to come out of you? Does it take a deadline[1]? Do you need to sit yourself down in Raw Sugar and refuse to leave until you’ve got something, anything, written into what might qualify as the first draft of a poem? Does it take months, even years, of having a myth or an event or a piece of family history percolating at the back of your mind before – blamo – a poem falls out of your head whole-cloth onto the page? Does it take hanging out with other poets, listening to their work, to get the words flowing? Does it take ritual? Does it take hand-writing? Does it take cutting yourself off from the internet for a week and then opening your notebook *before* you open your laptop? Does it take bouncing through fourteen blog posts about Topic X, or playing Wikidrift for three hours, before you wind up writing a poem about Topic X as seen through the lens of some solar phenomenon you got to after entry-hopping from Adam Lambert or Polar Bears?
 
A jazz musician (I want to say Louis Armstrong, but it might have been someone else) once said that finding tunes was easy, you just reached up and plucked them out of the air. I feel like, as a poet, I’m working a bit like a trapper or a hunter. How do I set the mood, the day, the environment, so that I’m prepared and ready and in the right place at the right time to catch a poem as it comes flying through my head.
Maybe you have a different aproach, a different way of relating to your writing/composition process.
Do you chase poetry? Do you seduce it? Do you build it out of bricks?
 
Let me know.
 
~*~
 
 
Thanks.
TTFN,
A.

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