MERC vs. BOOK: Revising a Novel, Part 8–A Little Night Music and Stick Figures

Additional Posts In This Series

Part 0 | Part 1Part 2Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7.1 & 7.2 | Part 8 (you are here)

Music!

I love creating playlists for different projects. It’s not procrastination if it helps me focus, and music* is really good for stimulating my brain cells when I’m creating things.

Screenshot 2016-07-26 14.02.57
A selection of this novel’s playlist–it’s still growing…
*By this I mean carefully selected music that I like and have picked out and am familiar with. I can’t listen to the radio or most streaming services because there’s too much unpredictability.

What goes into the process of selecting music? Ahahahaha, I wish I had a scientific and logical answer, but it’s really “what sounds good, mood-wise” which is as subjective as words themselves.

I’ve chosen a mix of songs that vary in mood, theme, sound–generally nothing super fast-paced; instrumental or solo vocals with some choral; lower down in the playlist there is a lot of Two Steps From Hell tracks (from the album Batlecry), because they make epic music that is highly cinematic without being specifically linked to individual movies. So, because I am also a very visual writer, I like music that sounds like it’d be from a epic fantasy soundtrack, but without being associated with a movie I like/have seen.

For the tracks from albums or soundtracks that I’m familiar with (you will notice music from Hero and Dragon Age Inquisition: Tresspasser, as well as musicals and other films), the music is usually tied to a specific emotion or association–for example, songs by Rammstein (shown here are “Ohne Dich” and “Spring“) evokes tragedy and creepiness (respectively).

And then, after all that careful work to arrange them in an order I’m pleased with, I still tend to hit shuffle and go with it. >.>

PROCESS IN ACTION, guys.

FLOWCHARTS FOR THE FLOWCHART GOD! STICK FIGURES UNTO THE STICK FIGURE THRONE

A couple days ago, I had one of those ‘OH GOD EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE AND EVERYONE WILL JUDGE ME’ moments when thinking about the gender breakdown of characters in the book.

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stick figures to illustrate how characters and places are connected…

The majority of secondary, minor, and referenced characters are women or non-binary, aside from some token characters whose only purpose is to die, in which case, all those are men.

The POV characters are Bane (demi-male), Rajosja (female), and Winterblade (male-coded). The principle antagonists are the human queen (a woman) and the fae Winter Lord (coded male).

So where I hit a mental snag and flaily panic-state (brains are useful like that /sarcasm) was realizing that Bane, for a good third of the book, has almost an exclusively male support circle: his mentor, his mentor’s husband, and then Winterblade. Which is not to say only boys show up–like I noted above, the majority of secondary and minor characters are women. The most powerful mage in the country is a non-binary person. Most of people in power are women. There are definitely lots of ladies present, talking to each other, having their own lives that are completely unrelated to the males on scene.

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But, even with Bane having two excellent gay men as his mentors/father figures (and a psychotic fae prince as a BFF), the fact that it takes over a third of the wordcount to give him prominent women allies/friends, made my brain panic that UR DOIN IT WRONG ZOMG.

So then I made a flowchart! (It’s actually very soothing; I got a pad of easel paper–25in x 30in– so I had lots of space to work with, and just plopped it on my kitchen table and broke out the markers.)

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Did it help? Actually it did calm me down (as well as talking it out with friends). I’m still not sure if the doubtroaches are valid or if this is just another tactic to derail me from working. What I count as a win is the conscious awareness of what I’m doing–I can see how the patterns work, and will choose what to do about them going forward.

(That’ll be the focus ot the next post–narrative choices in action.)

Plus, I mean, I did get some adoable stick figures out of this exercise…

 

Coming up next: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?

2 thoughts on “MERC vs. BOOK: Revising a Novel, Part 8–A Little Night Music and Stick Figures

  1. Oh? Is that a Hamilton reference I see? Can’t wait to read your next post.
    Making playlists is simple for me. I’m the opposite in that I kind of enjoy predictability. Whenever I’m streaming music on Soundcloud or Spotify, I usually set it to random and add the songs that move me into my playlist.

    1. It is a Hamilton ref. ^_^ (SO QUOTABLE. SO GOOD.)

      I love hearing how people make playlists–so cool. 😀 (Periodically, when I have some additional spoons, I go browsing for new music to add to my collection. Then I have to break it in by listening to it for a month straight, so, uh… new acquisitions tend to be slow!)

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