Music as a soundtrack to a book

I don’t necessarily consider myself a fast reader.  I’m not exceedingly slow by any means, but I’m not a fast enough reader to understand why an author would post songs as a soundtrack to a book.

Music as a soundtrack for writing makes perfect sense to me, however.  I completely understand because I use music to set the mood.  Often times I find the tone of my writing changing in response to the tone of a song.  However, offering readers a song to listen to during a chapter confounds me.  It takes more than the roughly 3.5 minutes of a typical song to read a chapter, unless it’s so enormously short it could easily be likened to a car speeding past one’s house.

And while I will, occasionally, find myself liking a song to the extent I will listen to it on repeat, I don’t think I could ever like a song enough to listen to in the background, repeatedly, until I finished a chapter in a story, and then continue to do so with different songs throughout the remainder of a book.  That seems like insanity to me.

It works in movies because we aren’t having to spend long minutes reading the action taking place.  Rather, we are spending mere seconds watching the action as it occurs.

I must be a minority in this since there are entire blogs and such devoted to this.

^^I dare say, there appears to be a joke in that line somewhere.

On Finishing a Story

I follow #writingprompt on Twitter and found @toasted_cheese to be a good source of inspiration, even if it is mostly just making me want to write and never actually following the prompts.  Except for today.  If you head on over to the website you’ll discover there is a calendar of writing prompts.  I happened to skip ahead last month into the February prompts and read the one for today, and it didn’t really strike a chord in me.

This morning, however, when I went over to my TweetDeck window (which never seems to get closed anymore) and skimmed over the writing prompts, I discovered that I just couldn’t let it go.  Oh, I tried to let it go, reading my daily dose of comics and blogs, but it just kept nagging at me.  I started following even the most perfunctory of links in my friends feed to try and get my mind off of that prompt.

I failed miserable and wrote just shy of 450 words on it before getting so overly frustrated with it I couldn’t stand it anymore.  Someone said that meant I was doing it right.

Eventually I just closed that word processor window and continued to mill about online, still not having even touched my novel.  I couldn’t get this character I was writing about for some stupid prompt I wasn’t even interested in last week out of my head.

I sighed, exasperated, went outside, lit my cigarette, and paced.  It felt like I was obsessing over this new story that, in reality, meant nothing to me except for being a writing exercise to expand my skill as a writer.

Eventually I sat in my awesome smoking chair and closed my eyes, trying to get my mind off of the entire ordeal, ready to come inside and simply delete the entire file, when it happened.

There we were, both of us sitting at the bar, wallowing in whatever we were wallowing in: self-pity, shame, a lost job, an ended relationship.  I hadn’t been paying attention to anything around me, too busy trying to wash away my sorrow with the numbness brought on by my scotch, which was empty.  A disappointment.  I looked up hoping to catch the barkeeper’s attention, and saw her.  Whether it was merely the abruptness of my movement or she happened to be in need of a refill of the cure for the broken-hearted herself, I couldn’t be sure, but our eyes locked.

I raised the corner of my mouth in a half-hearted smile I knew couldn’t have possibly touched my eyes.  She returned my smile and even raised her hand in a half-hearted wave.  Suddenly everything was happening so quickly.

I grabbed my empty glass and went to her.  I said something.  She laughed.  And then suddenly, inexplicably we were kissing, her shirt on my living room floor, my pants around my ankles, and it was heaven…

Thankfully for the entire reading world that’s the end of that story.  And to save your imagination that didn’t actually happen (or did it?), but the point still stands: it was a sudden, gripping situation.  Suddenly, I had a completed story.  And entire work of flash fiction completed and saved, working title and all, on my hard drive.

How could this be?  How could I have gotten out of bed this morning, gone to my computer and not been able to think of anything to write for hours and then impetuously written an entire story?

I didn’t even have time to fully enjoy the afterglow of completing my work when a new itch, a new urge began to eat away at me…

Revision…

So I ask, when is a story finished?  Is a story ever truly completed?

Certainly everyone knows when the story has been told, but at what point do you feel it has been polished, edited, revised enough that you can say, “That’s it, it’s done.  My work is complete.”

Again with the Writing Post!

I’m probably going to get sick of writing about writing, but I can’t help it, it’s what’s on my mind right now.  Okay, that and this whole thing with work and the not working that it entails at the moment.  They said they’re going to get back to me on whether I’m going to be allowed to work with these insane restrictions I have from the doctor.  I doubt it though, which is kind of depressing, which is why I’ve been focusing on writing so much lately which was the entire point of this post so STOP DISTRACTING ME!

As of this writing I’m at about 6,000 words, which is good, because I’ve never made it that far before, but also frightening because I’ve never made it that far before.  I even went so far as to write out some of the plot before I actually made it that far into the story.  I’ve also been thinking about working on a couple other stories for some anthologies I saw open for submissions, but I’m not sure on those yet.  I have a vague idea for at least one of them, but it hasn’t solidified into something I can even grasp enough to have even a general idea of what to do with it, let alone the concept of characters in the story.  Don’t even get me started on how the plot would look, where it would be set, what it’s voice and tense would be…I thought I told you not to get me started!

Aside from all of that I’ve discovered that one of the best cures when I find myself suffering from the dreaded writer’s block is to read some writing blogs, or agents blogs, or editors blogs, or…well, I think you might get the idea from there.  And then I surf on over to Write or Die, crank up some tunes, and get to pounding away at the keyboard, using it as an axe to chop away at the wood of my story (thankfully my fiction writing isn’t nearly as crappy as what you guys have to suffer through here) until I have enough fuel for the fire of entertainment to burn forever within this novel that I’m certain you can’t wait to read regardless of you not having any idea what it’s about or even what genre it may be, just knowing that you’re so eternally grateful for the epic lack of run-on sentences that this book will have as compared to this blog you so admiringly read, day after day after day.

I’ve also been thinking of challenging myself to writing a certain something on certain days of the week.  Like doing a writing prompt day or a grammar attack day where I challenge the rules of grammar as compared to colloquial english, but I highly doubt I’m qualified for that second thing and that first thing just doesn’t sound entertaining to me because hello, this is a blog, not a fiction page! All that aside, though, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to write everyday now without having to feel exhausted, just a bit of pain, but I’m okay with that because, you know what?  I’m beginning to see the realization of my dream.  Just another 96,000 words and I can start my next project.

Cheers!