Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Perfect Song

I have a "writing playlist" in iTunes. It's 333 songs and 22.3 hours long. That playlist is exclusively instrumental, mostly soundtracks. Someday maybe I'll post my favorite songs. It would be a long list, though. When I'm not listening to my writing playlist, I'm usually listening to a single song on repeat, sometimes for hours. There are several Florence + the Machines songs that I've done this with, a few by Of Monsters and Men, a few by Mumford and Sons. I recently listened the Game of Thrones intro music for a few hours straight.

Today I listened to a single song probably a hundred times, and I credit it for helping me pump out  4,000+ words. The song is "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri featuring Steve Kazee. This song was in the final Twilight movie, which I saw with a friend last night. I liked the movie, and I loved this song. I was singing it in my head all morning until I finally went on iTunes and downloaded it. Even if you don't like music for writing - even you don't write - I highly recommend it. This is one of the most romantic songs I think I've ever heard. It was perfect for today's scenes.

Here's a video of the song, not the version I'm listening to, but just as lovely. The video has some footage from Breaking Dawn, P.1. BTW, this girl's got some wicked cool tattoos. I've been planning to get more for a while. If I keep watching this, she might just motivate me to do it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Odds & Ends

Pinterest has created Secret Boards. This is a feature I've been wanting ever since I found Pinterest. As soon as they invented "secret" boards, I moved most of the pics for my WIP over to one. This allowed me to caption each picture and make notes to myself about the story without worrying about random people sharing my pictures and notes with the world.

On the down side, although Pinterest created the secret boards, they seem to be doing everything in their power to prevent people from using them. For one thing, you can't convert any of your existing boards into secret boards. You can't even edit individual pictures to move them to a secret board. To get my WIP onto a secret board, I had to re-pin every single picture individually. Finally, you're limited to three secret boards. I would love to make all three of my novel boards secret but then I would have no room for future-house boards, etc.

We haven't found anything else as exciting as the most recent condo we lost. (You can read about that here.) Yesterday we went to an open house, but it was disappointing. The place was too tiny for two people and a dog, our bed wouldn't fit in either of the bedrooms, and the place needed a lot of work. We don't mind work, but in order to buy a fixer-upper, the cost of the house has to be low enough that we can afford renovations on top of the house price. Derek and I are both trying to avoid the thought that we're fighting a losing battle. In our little pocket of the world - a place we're determined to stay - homes are expensive. My income as an aspiring author is exactly zero dollars and zero cents. One income + expensive real estate + high desirability = we have a serious challenge on our hands. We're trying to rise to it.
Work on Vix continues. I'm on my second draft right now. The first draft wasn't complete, but this seems to be the way I write:
  1. Develop an idea.
  2. Write a rough outline.
  3. Write the first few chapters to let characters and plot develop. They're going to take over anyway. Creating a safe space in which to let them seems to work well.
  4. Stop draft to write a very specific, detailed outline.
  5. Write a second draft.
  6. Stop when I start to lose control again.
  7. Re-outline.
  8. Write next draft, and so on.
This way, the book builds itself up incrementally. Vix is my third novel, and this is the third time I've worked this way, so I think it's safe to say there's a pattern. Right now I'm on Step #5. I'm already working off of an outline for my second draft, but last week I stopped to outline the rest of the book. (My original outline only covered the first third of the book.) I converted the complete outline into a synopsis, which is something I need for the conference in Big Sur anyway.

Onward and upward :-)

Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNo, Meet Life

Disclaimer: This post has a lot of boring talk about real estate. If that doesn't interest you, maybe go read reddit instead. I promise my feelings won't be hurt :-)

I didn't plan to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year, but I did hope that today would be a productive writing day. Then life intervened. Here's how my day really went:
Wake up. Open Scrivner. Eat breakfast.

Husband sends me link about a nearby condo.
After walking the pug and getting dressed, I run errands and drive by condo property, which is lovely. I call husband and tell him I think we'd be happy there.

I call our agent and tell him I want to see the condo. He asks if I can be there in 10 minutes. I grab my keys and run out the door.

I meet agent at condo. We tour it. I take a lot of pictures to show husband. The condo is wonderful. Agent and I make a plan to move forward.

Husband despairs a bit about making a decision so soon, but he knows from past experience that properties around here get snatched up the same day they come on the market. Husband heads to the bank to get supporting documents for the offer.
Agent emails offer to us. We print it out and notice that our bid is $20k below asking price. Agent and I had earlier agreed to offer asking. I call agent, who explains that comparable properties sold for far less than asking and he doesn't think the property would appraise for more than he put on our offer. Husband and I sign pages until our pens run out of ink.
Husband heads back to the office to scan the signed offer to email it back to our agent.

Husband calls me from work to say that there were several attachments we forgot to print and sign. I grab a pen and head over to husband's work.

Husband and I sit in the car and sign another dozen pages. Several people walk past and give us suspicious looks. I head home. Husband scans docs and sends it all back to our agent.
Husband and I bath the pug, who now looks all fluffy and even sillier than usual. We laugh a lot at her expense and she responds by attacking herself in the mirror. I make dinner and include mini-pies for dessert because frankly, we earned them.
Agent submits our offer and CCs us on the email. Agent gives thorough explanation to sellers regarding our choice to under-bid. Seller has until 5PM on Monday to respond to our offer.
And that's how Life punched NaNoWriMo in the face.

* * *

UPDATE (11/4/12): We didn't get the condo. The sellers took the very first offer they got, which was submitted only a few hours before ours. Hopefully something better will come along for us in time.