Walter's Writing Blog

On Music

One thing that hits every single aspect of my life is music.  Be it the background noise while I’m writing, what I do to keep me just distracted enough to keep me focused while doing my day job, or what I bounce to while I’m cleaning.  Music is in just about every aspect of my life.

Stephen King writes to artists like Metallica.  I was talking to another writer about music (Soren Summers) and he mentioned that he listens to artists like Gesaffelstein.  I, personally, listen to classical music for what I need in my environment when I write.  But it’s not just the music that’s there – it’s the music that enhances what you’re writing.

For instance, Soren’s choice of Gesaffelstein is something that I could definitely listen to if I was writing erotica.  There is something sensual in the beats, the rhythm, the trance that the music puts you in, and that overall it just gives you the chance to let go of yourself.  And if you’re writing an effective sex scene – not a lovemaking scene, a sex scene – then why not listen to something that’s raw, and a bit animalistic?

When writing parts of A Million Miles Amok, I actually chose to write without music, and used the noisy aircraft cabin as my ambience.  But when I wrote Migration: Beginnings, I actually varied what I wrote.  In the “setup” type scenes, I listened to regular classical music. But in a couple of pivotal action sequences, I actually put “O Fortuna” on repeat.  Why?  Because it’s one single piece of music that has been used in critical action sequences in multiple movies, and I wanted to see if I could capture that same type of energy as I wrote.

Music is pretty big for me, and as I don’t have much to blog about right now (because rewrites kinda suck!), I thought I’d start a little side bit here about music.  Not just music when it comes to writing, but also music in the movies.  Because music can make or break a film, turning a cinematically-filmed marvel into a two dimensional piece of entertainment.  I mean, when it came to films from 2005, the cinematic marvel was “Brokeback Mountain”, though it would not be as successful if Gustavo Santaolalla hadn’t penned the beautiful piece “The Wings“.  What would Close Encounters of the Third Kind be without the pivotal “Dialogue” scene?  And the movie Jaws wouldn’t have been half as scary without those few low notes from a tuba and woodwinds that started it all.

I, personally, was ready to dismiss the remake of the 1950s classic “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – until I not only saw the movie, but the accompanying music.  Sure, the scene with Walter Mitty jumping on the helicopter as Kristen Wiig and David Bowie sang “Space Oddity” was a turning point not only for Walter, but for the movie itself.  But to me, both the cinematography and lyrics to the song “Far Away” do the most when it comes to non-verbal communication with the audience.  Mitty, a guy who has a nonplussed life, suddenly is feeling alive again as he skateboards down a deserted road.  Even the lyrics are there.  “Step in front of a runaway train, just to feel alive again.”  There’s a link on Youtube, but unless you see the whole thing, it doesn’t impact you as much as the whole film does.

So here goes.  A dialogue on music that’ll happen from time to time.  Because why not?

Not a fan of the Kindle? That’s okay!

So many people like and use the Kindle format, either on a Kindle reader itself or within the Kindle app.  I tend to read that way, because it can keep track of your progress in a book, sync with Goodreads, among other things.  But the thing for me is, it doesn’t sync between devices – at least not for books that you don’t get from Amazon.  And if you take part in ARC (advance reading copies) programs or downloads from Instafreebies or the like, then that book stays on the device you downloaded it to and doesn’t get shared with your other devices.

Which is why I’m happy to announce that Migration: Beginnings is now available on not just Kindle, but iBooks, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and even libraries starting Tuesday, March 7th!  The book is live in many of these bookstores, but get delivered to Kobo and libraries starting tomorrow.  And as a special for libraries, I’ve made the books free.  So if you’re interested in reading from your local library (many of which take advantage of the Overdrive reading app), you should be able to download a copy and read it from your libraries starting soon.

Hope this makes people’s Mondays just a bit better!

First Book Published!

So Lisa and I have been working on a nonfiction travel book for the last couple of years.  Well I’m proud to say that as of 5:30pm Pacific today, that book is published!

Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal. But you have to consider that this is the first book either of us have published!  

Here’s a blurb from my iPhone that shows the book available in the Apple iBookstore.  It’ll be available soon in Amazon’s store for their Kindle.

Update: The Kindle version of the book is located here.

Dealing With Rejection

So as writers, one of the things that you deal with most often when you want to get something published – by a publishing house, and not self-published – is the issue of rejection.  It’s not something that is easily brushed off, and it can negatively affect your mindset.

I originally submitted my Migration series to a publishing house, and after a couple of months, they gave me some good feedback with a, “Sorry, but we’re going to pass right now.  But make the changes and resubmit!”  I took it to heart, and made the changes that they asked for, then resubmitted.

Well, after making the requested changes and waiting more than four months, today I get the, “No thanks,” rejection email.  The publisher was nice, but the reviewer made it seem like I had offended them and not made any suggestions they gave.

Ehh…  Oh well.

The problem, however, is the self-doubt that comes out of the process.  Migration is a hard story to tell, because you have to build the world up before you can destroy it, and I do just that.  There’s a prologue that gives you some of the necessary data about the story, and then a 2 chapter buildup.  It all amounts to about 10,000 words that the specific publisher is saying needs to be cut.

Can I do it?  Can I hack my baby up into smaller pieces – going from the original 85,000 words, down to the 78,000 words post-initial submission rejection, to maybe 68,000 words?  Without sacrificing the whole of the story?

I get it – I really do.  And part of me wants to jump on the bandwagon and make those changes instantly; that’s the part of me that wants instant gratification, and seeks out approval.  But there’s the other part of me that wants to stand tall, tell the critics to get bent, and self publish.

So I’m going to compromise.  I’m going to hack it down some, and then see how I like it.  If I do, then I’ll go with the new version.  But if it sacrifices too much, then I’m going to bail, go back to my original storyline, and self publish.  Only time will tell what path I decide to go down.

But first, I’m going to self-publish our (me and my coauthor Lisa’s) nonfiction travel book.  I would like to get that out the door, published, and off my plate so that I can focus on the Migration series.

So that’s how my birthday went!  How about you?

One Book Down, One To Go!

So my “books in limbo” just got subtracted by one.  At least meaning in limbo by me.  The first book in the Migration series, my SciFi/Action/Adventure series, has been completely edited, polished, and sent off to the publisher for consideration.  This is the same publisher that I’d originally sent the manuscript to, and while they turned it down initially, they gave me some really good feedback and told me that if I made the changes, they’d be “more inclined to offer me a contract.”

I’m not taking this as gospel that they will still like the book and will want to publish it, but I’m still a bit hopeful.

So now I have to polish the non-fiction book that Lisa (my cowriter) and I worked on for NaNoWriMo 2013.  It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally getting a lot closer.  I’ve got one more read through and some changes, then Lisa gets a last pass – and that book will be ready!  We’ll self-publish that one, though, along with my friend Adam’s custom drawn cover, so we’re close!

Writing can be such a blast, and it’s a cathartic process for many of us.  Hopefully the end results will be appreciated by the reading public!

Who has two thumbs and is going to try and publish 2 books this year?

This guy!

Okay, so the most that I’ve been blogging about here is about my book, Migration: Beginnings, and the next two books in the trilogy.  But actually, besides this series of fiction books, I’m probably going to publish a non-fiction book first.

Non-fiction, you say!  What is this nonsense?

Well, you see, before I took a stab at writing a SciFi/Action/Adventure trilogy, I actually wrote a travel book, coauthored with my writing partner Lisa.  It was about 100 pages and somewhere in the neighborhood of 55,000 words.  I wrote it for NaNoWriMo 2013, and turned it over to Lisa to edit – which was a massive undertaking.  Why?  Well, there are quite a few reasons, including the fact that the book is now just 33,186 words now that Lisa is done with it.  What can I say?  I’m mouthy!

But I digress.

Anyway, so our non-fiction travel book, which is aimed at anyone who is new to the world of traveling (but especially traveling consultants who are just starting out), is called A Million Miles Amok.  The manuscript is back in my hands now, and by Summer, the book will be completed and published – just ready to fill in the “Five Books for 99 Cents!” bin at your local megamart.

More details to come!