Tag Archives: subconscious mind

Does Your Story Have Its Own Soundtrack?

We’ve talked about at the role that music plays in the story in fiction, as well as examined the Irish Trad music that accompanied much of the writing of Irish Firebrands, and ended up representing specific scenes in the story; we’ve also looked at the influence that Wagnerian music has in my background, and how it’s come to have a part in the writing of my work-in-progress, The Passions of Patriots.

I believe that the practice of listening to music throughout the process of writing Irish Firebrands was instrumental (no pun intended!) in preventing writer’s block. From what I’ve read at other Indie Authors’ blogs, if they write to music (vocal or instrumental), it’s to works that have distinctly identifiable artists, themes, genres, or cultural origins.

Today we’ll talk a little about tapping a source of music that’s not already identified with other particular forms or artists, and using that music to come up with a unique “soundtrack” for our own literary art.

Kevin MacLeod’s INCOMPETECH.COM is an excellent source for mood music to accompany any artistic endeavor – and he offers his compositions ROYALTY FREE. This is amazingly generous of the man, because what he’s got on his websites counts into the hundreds of works that range in length from just a few seconds, to the duration of a typical popular song, and even performances that rival the length and complexity of the movements of major orchestral works.

The great thing about MacLeod’s music is that it has no strings attached to other works of art, as do songs performed by vocalists, or the works of classical composers, or the soundtracks of motion pictures. The pieces you find on the website are simply snippets of feelings captured in sounds – a talent for musical expression at which MacLeod excels.

The works that appear at INCOMPETECH can be searched for genre, mood, and other qualities. All pieces have their own descriptive names, but they’re not labels that will necessarily interfere with the listener’s own interpretation of the music. This makes them valuable for constructing “soundtracks” to accompany the writing process. MacLeod often gives us the benefit of his creative impressions of many pieces, he usually lists the instruments (or choral accents) that are programmed into the performances, and he also provides suggestions for how to loop, mix, or otherwise manipulate much of the music. The tracks are downloadable in MP3 format.

I spent a few hours listening to and downloading selections that “spoke” to me: a 90-minute playlist to accompany my creation of The Passions of Patriots. This new collection makes the third set of inspiring musical works I’ve collected to help me visualize scenes and give cadence to dialogue for this particular writing project. I can listen to them uninterrupted during keyboard time, and also play them at night, to help seed my subconscious mind with “memories” of events in the Parallel Universe of Fiction.

Check out Kevin MacLeod’s site, and see what he’s got that can help smooth your creative path in the world of Written Artistry.

 

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Solving the Puzzle.

 

Do you have “writer’s block”?

Maybe you need to look at the pieces of your story in a different way.

Perhaps you have a strong urge to write, but you have no idea what to write. Staring at a blank page and trying to make sentences come without words is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with the backs of the pieces facing up.

Words are the bits of the patterns on the fronts of the puzzle pieces. The pieces have to be turned over before you can work with them, but they have to turn themselves over. Until they do that, you’re best off leaving that blank page alone and doing something else. (Always carry a pocket-sized notebook and a writing instrument, so you don’t lose a great idea while you’re busy pruning trees.)

Don’t strain your brain: the ideas are there, but they have to assemble themselves from bits and pieces of your life experiences. In other words, if you arbitrarily decide, “I’ll fictionalize the time when (fill in the blank) happened to (fill in someone’s name),” it won’t work well, and sooner or later you’ll get blocked again. It’s like trying to force a jigsaw puzzle into a shape it wasn’t designed to fit. This is one of the hazards of trying to plan or outline everything.

Try writing by the seat of your pants: Let ideas flow, and commit them to the page, just as they come to you. You don’t have to begin at the beginning: middles and ends will do; and you don’t have to finish one chapter before beginning another, nor even one scene before starting another. This is because your subconscious mind needs time to find bits of ideas and start hooking them together, like matching the patterns, tabs and slots of puzzle pieces.

The best help you can give your subconscious is to do research on your story: learning new things helps stock your mind with information that your brain will later disassemble, sort and match, and reassemble into the false memories that constitute fiction. When each fictional memory comes to you, no matter where it belongs, write it down. Periodically comb through what you’ve written, to do basic proofreading, reorganize sections, and get inspiration for filling in blanks. Eventually, all of the holes in your chapters and scenes will hook themselves together, and you’ll have a complete story.

This is the way I wrote Irish Firebrands: all 196,000-plus words of it. I never experienced “writer’s block,” and I had so much enjoyment in writing the novel, that every time I pick up the book and read a bit of it, I can still feel the way I did when I wrote the passage that I’m reading.

Think about how good it feels to find a puzzle piece that fits. Writing should feel good. As long as we’re having fun, we’re doing it right.

 

 

 

 

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Author Interview – Christine Plouvier.

I’m honored to be the lead-off author in Rachel Carrera’s Call to Writers Interview Series! I look forward to learning about the others she has gathered for this event. Thank you, Rachel, for warming us with your spotlight!

Rachel Carrera, Novelist

I recently posted a Call to Writers, asking those of you who write to allow me to interview you for a guest spot in my blog.  The response was magnificent (and if any of you still want to participate, please contact me for details).  I planned to feature a new writer once a week on Fridays.  However, last night, when I received the response to my interview questions from my friend and fellow blogger, Christine Plouvier, I knew I had to post her interview today, St. Patrick’s Day.  You see, her featured novel is titled Irish Firebrands, so, what better day to put the spotlight on her?   In my interaction with Christine, I have found her to be very intelligent and thoroughly knowledgeable in her subject matter.  She is quite interesting and I am enjoying getting to know her, as I’m sure you will once you check out her…

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