BRINGING A STORY TO LIFE: MUSIC TO MY EARS

The time after handing a manuscript to a beta reader can be challenging in that if I don’t have a project in the works I need to tune in and decide what’s next.  Even when I do know what I want to work on it can be difficult to take time to ponder.

Pulling creative whisps from the ether to shape into characters, settings, plots and subplots.

It’s a tricky business when thoughts get in the way of the creative process.  

Especially thoughts of what I “should” do.

I’ve come up with a few tricks, my favorite of which is listening to music.

As opposed to doing housework.

A fan of playlists I have music that relaxes, music that inspires, music that evokes specific emotion(s), and music that serves no other purpose than to be background noise.

Background noise doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the music.  It’s simply music that isn’t distracting to the creative process.

This morning while working on firming up the opening scene for the next Dragon Core book I put on a playlist – a recent creation – songs with a specific theme.

This list serves multiple purposes depending what is going on.

I was about 2/3 of the way through the list when the lyrics of the song that was playing came into sharp focus.

Now and Forever.

I realized it was perfect for the playlist I had yet to create for the book I’m working on.

It’s almost eerie how perfectly the song matched the scene I was working on.

Happy with that bit of progress I created the playlist and added the song to it.  When the next song started I found that it, too, fit the scene.  

Interesting that The End of Dragons will fit into [at least] two upcoming Dragon Core novel playlists.

At this point I took a step back to consider whether the album the songs were from would fit the book if not the series.

Similar to how Nigel Stanford’s Solar Echoes fits the Metatron’s Army series, with  Entropy perfectly setting the mood for the opening scene in Advantage, first in the series, and Sea of Tranquility perfectly framing the ambush scene in Diagonals, Book 10 in the series.

Though I won’t be putting every song from Gary Numan’s Intruder album into the Daemon playlist, I will be adding several that serve as inspiration for various parts of the story.

I anticipate Daemon will be ready late winter/early spring.

The Isle of Future Past, also a Dragon Core novel, will be ready autumn 2021.

Stay tuned

BRINGING A STORY TO LIFE: WHAT’S IN A NAME?

All in all a successful weekend.

How’s that for a lead-in?

Thanks to a visit with friends I discovered some new music.

The title track is absolutely haunting.  I love this album!

After finishing the Dragon Core novel currently under construction I went to lunch as a way to clear the mind of current projects and ended up confirming recent observations shared in Ignoring the Rules.

Yesterday evening after a final check I turned the Dragon Core story over to the beta reader and though I am really happy with how things turned out, I’m also a bit worn out.

This story ended up being quite the challenge.

When a Working Title Doesn’t.  More often than not I have a title in mind when I start a new work and this Dragon Core piece was no different.  

I try to make the titles relevant to what is going on in the book, often finding ways to have the title itself appear in the story.  

That’s where the trouble began.  

Too Much Going On.  As I got toward the end of the first draft I started to see that something was off.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a position to be able to analyze the problem.

I was on a trip wherein I was doing final research for Ignoring the Rules: An Intriguing Approach to Resolving Calcium Toxicity as well as getting the book ready for purchase.

Pushing the problem to the mental back burner I focused on other tasks.  

Aha!  I am one of those who finds shower time to be a great source of inspiration as new ideas and problem resolutions present themselves.

Popular theory is that the negative ions from the warm water stimulate creative flow in the brain.

The morning after setting the Dragon Core puzzle aside it occurred to me that simply changing the title to the story might solve the issue.  As a result The Day Before became Dream Keeper.

As I was editing the story with an eye to the new angle it became apparent that while the new title was an improvement, things were still off.  Deciding it really did need to be set aside because I had other things to deal with I pushed it to the mental back burner and head to the hotel bar to work on Ignoring the Rules.

At that time of night it was empty but for one guy sitting at the bar talking to the woman who, in addition to her work, was helping housekeeping staff that was understaffed catch up.

Even as I put the finishing touches on the nonfiction manuscript I couldn’t stop thinking about what was off with Dream Keeper.  As I stared out the window, the businessman’s conversation background chatter I realized the title didn’t honor the other characters let alone the complex plot.  I tweaked the title again and set it aside.

The story was still under construction and as there was no pending deadline like there was with Ignoring the Rules, I decided I’d eventually get it figured out which enabled me to relax and enjoy the rest of the trip.

All That Work!  When I got home, with Ignoring the Rules available, I turned my attention to finishing Dream Keepers and though I was making progress I was still aware there was a serious problem with the title.

It did not do justice to the supporting characters or the complexity of the story both as it stands on its own and as it fits into the series.

I was also staring another issue in the face.  I’d already completed the cover.  If I changed the title to Dream Keepers – with an S added to the 2nd version of the title – I was going to have to redo the cover design.

Though it seems simple enough it wasn’t.  I liked what I had.

Once again pushing the problem aside I focused on finishing the manuscript.  

Right In Front of You.  I was about two thirds of the way through the final version when I realized the title was already in the book!

And had been there all along!

As I sat there staring at the scene it occurred to me that if I adopted this phrase as the title to the book not only did it honor the characters and the plot, it kept the book’s context within the Dragon Core series in tact.

And as a bonus I didn’t have to change the cover beyond updating the text to reflect the new title!

The Isle of Future Past is on target for a fall 2021 release.

Though I’m hoping to have it available by the end of October I have several other projects including another nonfiction booklet for The World of EMF and a number of videos I only recently found locations for shooting in the queue.

Stay tuned!