BRINGING A STORY TO LIFE: WHO WRITES WHO?

Listening to the Police Spirits in the Material World – on vinyl and contemplating a twist in my creative career.

It’s fun adding “favorite vinyls” back into a collection I gave away in the 90s after trading for CDs.  More interesting is discovering Aaron and I are in agreement with “must have” vinyls like Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road.

Who Made Who.  Okay, music on the mind.  Cheesy movie but the AC/DC Soundtrack to Maximum Overdrive is pretty awesome in my opinion and while that movie considered the question of which came first the robot chicken or the tech egg I’m dealing with an observation of a similar yet parallel – as in universe – consideration.  

Does the author write the story or the story choose the author?

This question occurred to me as I considered the twisty turny way The Day Before has come into being  

  • Started as an image that appeared on my mental screen
  • Observation allowed me to get a feel for the character which led to who, what, when, where, why
  • Fingers to keyboard and watch as 50 words explodes to 25000 with an acceleration rate that started somewhat slow then exploded up – or out depending how you visualize.
  • Realize that in spite of my initial thoughts if not beliefs on what this story was – it wasn’t that simple.
  • Follow the trail of breadcrumbs.

Follow the Leader.  Ironically, the image that presented itself early on was a soldier standing waiting for someone to catch up to him as he stood on a path.  I stepped back to notice the environment he was in and who it was he was waiting for while taking his measure as to why he was waiting for the individual known as a retrieval and more to the point – who was he that he was the one leading?

And why him?

Turns out this character – Cai Ranger – is not only a guide for another character he is the guide for the author.  

I began the story confident it would be a success even though I hadn’t planned it.  As I went along I saw numerous possibilities for where it would fit in my catalogue, numerous directions the plot could twist and turn, and numerous branches it could extend for future books.  And yet…

It soon became apparent that somehow the story had – like a manifestation – managed to show up in my world in a manner that showed me the story – not the writer – is in charge of this excursion.

A central theme behind manifestation is you visualize something – feed it energy – and it outmanifiests itself.  In this case – the story “manifested” into my creative studio – the place where body mind and spirit come together to create.

What’s Happening?  Though I was happily working along producing and satisfied with where things were headed I got a strong urge to step aside and read a book that showed up in my sphere one day.

Unsurprisingly there was a seemingly cosmic message delivered along with a much needed break.

This action led to another which led to another and suddenly I realized the story itself seemed to be leading me along a path to completion.  

Including where it will fit in the catalogue – Dragon Core.

It made me stop and wonder – do we pull from the well of creativity or does it drag us into itself?

Do we dream the dream or does the dream dream us?

BRINGING A STORY TO LIFE: THE DOTS CONNECT THEMSELVES

After taking time to bring a couple of visions to life in the form of new t-shirts I was setting up to work on The Day Before when I made a decision which circled back to an action taken earlier that ended up being like a tap on the shoulder from the universe saying, “How’s this for help?”

Help I hadn’t asked for but now see I definitely needed.

I did take time to just chill today but I truly am happiest when I writing/creating. 

Folding Back on Itself.  As a follow on to a conversation about Neil Young and Crazy Horse last night, Aaron sent a link to an article on Nils Lofgren this morning.  While reading it I saw an ad pop up for a musician.  The title intrigued me so I typed it into a document with the idea I would circle back around to it at some point and check it out.

I often jot titles of groups or songs down to circle around to later and typically that later is weeks from the date I jotted it down.

Right after bringing the manuscript for the latest Dragon Core story up I decided to check out the artist’s new album.

I was that intrigued by the title – Where the Guitar Meets the Forest.

I launched iTunes and – the album wasn’t listed.  However, several other songs were available so I clicked on a few.  One jumped out not because of the song’s title but because the lyrics perfectly fit the essence of the book I’m working on!  The song, 1000 Days, reminded me that I hadn’t yet set up a playlist for this book and while that isn’t technically necessary it often helps put me in a frame of mind for a scene or a character.

In this case the song is helping with two scenes, the one I’m working on and one that’s toward the end of the book.

I couldn’t help but think of the breadcrumbs that had to be laid in order for me to circle around to something I needed yet didn’t know I needed.

  • Trip to Record Store to land a gem that led to an interesting and somewhat passionate conversation about Neil, CSNY, and a number of other issues intertwined over the decades.

The guy just got the Neil album in. It wasn’t there when Aaron visited 24 hours earlier.

  • Aaron deciding to send me the link and then putting a bit of pressure on me to read it.

It was one of those things I was going to look at later but he kept talking about it – read an excerpt – so I read it.

  • Seeing an album with an intriguing title while reading the article.

I normally ignore ads.

  • Deciding to look up the artist then deciding to check out her other work when the album in question didn’t show up.

The first couple of songs I listened to turned me off to the point I was going to give up but something told me to try other songs.  Glad I followed that instinct!

  • Choosing the song that ended up being a perfect match for what I needed for the scene I’m working on.

It helps me think ahead and keep to the theme line I’ve got going, something that isn’t always easy when you have multiple plot lines going.

Secret Messages.  As a final note I can consider that there are multiple messages in these events.  In taking time out to put this article together I ate into time I might have spent on the novel.

It’s time for dinner.

My guess?  Someone’s telling me I need more chill time.

Happy 4th of July!

The new t-shirts are on my store under the EM logo.

WRITING: IN THE HEAT OF IT

Taking a break from The Day Before in what locals call unusual heat and as most houses don’t have AC (including this one) finding creative ways to address challenges.

You know it’s hot when your champagne glass needs its own ice bucket.

As uncomfortable as it is, it’s not nearly as bad as what I’ve dealt with over the years.

  • Michigan

Grew up without central air.  Add humidity to heat and you get something called the heat index.  Plenty of nights sleeping on top of the covers.

  • Louisiana 

School lets out in May for a reason

  • Arizona

The day Aaron and I unloaded the moving truck?  It was 118.

The day we moved into the Fort Collins house? Minus 18 – real not wind chill.

A balm to it all aside from the trees and cooler night temperatures that allow for a comfortable sleep is the fact we recently invested in an Audio-Technica turntable with Boston Acoustics Pre-Amp and ELAC speakers.  While Aaron was eager to grab up Neil Young and Radiohead LPs- though I surprised him with a Ray Manzarek collectible – I opted for the following as my first repurchases

  • Emerson Lake and Palmer Works I
  • This is The Moody Blues
  • Beatles Rubber Soul
  • ELO Time

I grew up on 8 tracks and vinyl, graduated to cassettes including those I recorded from vinyl, then CDs, and eventually streaming.

I eschew satellite because thanks to compression ratios, guys sound like they have their speedos too tight.  No thanks.

We’ll definitely be adding to the collection including Bob Seger’s Live Bullet and Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road, though we won’t be replacing everything we listen to.

I’m making great progress with The Day Before which will fit nicely into the Dragon Core series and is more fantasy than sci-fi.  As always I have plenty in the queue and will be updating as appropriate.

In the meantime, keep cool and

Stay tuned