Friday, February 26, 2016

Performance Anxiety and Music

Performance Anxiety

A few weeks ago, I set a soft deadline of June 3, 2016 for the release of my second book. I need a deadline to schedule my writing sessions, but there's a high likelihood I won't make that deadline. Why? Because there's something different about this next book: there are... expectations.

I mentioned how one particular negative review kind of got under my skin. But good reviews (like a hit of some miraculous drug) have a noticeable side effect too. They're addicting in a way I probably should have anticipated, but didn't. Every time I write something on my Author's Facebook Page or in this blog... or any time I go near the keyboard with my next book open, I worry about losing those people who liked my work.

I know, I'm a basket case. But it's having an effect on my second novel. I want it to be perfect, or at least a little closer to perfect than my last story, even though nothing ever is. But a deadline helps me get over that impulse, and sharing it with the bots who skim my posts here makes it more significant.

So, how's the second story going? First of all, the working title I've been using is "They Hid In The Snowstorm," which seems to have stuck from my earliest draft. I changed who the killer (attempted killer?) is last week, which got me pretty excited for reasons I can't explain without major spoilers. But the draft I have is messy, and there are major continuity issues I'm having to write around because I've ripped the story apart and put it together one too many times. All things I'll smooth over in editing, but things I have to address nonetheless.


Most people think writing "happens" when you're at a computer banging away at the keyboard. Nope. Sure, that's part of it, but that's not where I come up with the story or develop my characters. I do that everywhere, and all the time. Standing in line at the grocery store, driving to work, when my wife's watching one of her cooking competition shows... that's when the magic happens.

But one special time for creating stories happens when I'm listening to music. I can't listen to music as I'm writing, but sometimes a song comes along which captures a moment or emotion which is tied to a character in my story and it drives me back into that part of my mind. Some songs become so permanently etched into the story that I have to put them down into a playlist, which I then listen to when I need to get into the mood of the story. It's an ever-evolving list, but I thought I'd share the eight songs I have in it right now.
  • "I Don't Believe You" by Pink
  • "Mad World" by Michael Andrews
  • "A Call for Help" by Jason Graves
  • "Haunted" by Evanescence
  • "Royals" by Lorde
  • "Here's to the Night" by Eve6
  • "Stars" by tATu
  • "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele 
I'm not saying who or what these represent in my head, but each one colors my story in a significant way.


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