Catch Up With Alex: Part 1

Hi everyone! I have so much news to share with you! And gifs! And music! Are you ready for this?!

Now, because I have soooooo much to say (probably too much, but whatever), I’m splitting this into two parts.

First things first: NaNoWrMo

nanoday22

nanoday23 nanoday25 As you can see, I fell massively behind right after my last post. I think my graph is supposed to look like a staircase, but mine kind of looks like a lumpy sidewalk in some spots. My lack of progress had nothing to do with me being stuck at halfway–it was because of school, as usual, and me not being in the right state of mind to even attempt to make up the ground I’d lost. But the last three days I’ve been marathoning to catch up and it has been gloriously fun!

Writing about 4k every day was a novel (haha) and thrilling experience. I normally don’t write a whole lot in a day. If I write 2000 words, I’m over the moon. But I figured that if I broke it into three chunks–2k after breakfast, 1k after dinner, 1k before bed–I was able to balance the words with the homework quite nicely. And it really doesn’t feel like I just wrote 11k words. It’s honestly been so much fun, working on my novel like that.

Now, while I’ve been off building sidewalks, a couple other WordPress WriMos have been rocking their wordcounts! TJ Edwards and Airlia on Loquacité have both claimed victory with shiny purple winner bars! Go and congratulate them for not only reaching 50k+, but also for reaching it early!

airliawontjwon

 

 

 

I’ve got some added incentive for wanting to win NaNoWriMo this year, besides just wanting to win. I started looking around at Scrivener, which I’ve heard many, many good things about, because I know they give a pretty nice discount for NaNoWriMo winners (50% off of the normal $40!). I am really quite in love with it, and I’ve only briefly skimmed the free trial of it. For the first draft of the manuscript I’m currently editing, I printed it out in a paper copy because I knew it would be easier for me to visualize the book as a whole if I had physical pages to work with. But I don’t want to print the whole giant monster again for the second draft, so I think that this might be a good solution. Scrivener had different visual modes, such as corkboard, outline, or regular page view, and lets you put your research right into it, making it easy to reach. I’ll probably still use MS Word for first drafts (I love Word so much <3) but I am so eager to edit on Scrivener. My lovely mom even said she’d get Scrivener for me if I win NaNoWriMo, yay!

A New Discovery

While writing NaNoWriMo and struggling with heaping loads of homework (more on that later), I also discovered a very lovely thing. It’s this really cool website called MyNoise.net.

It’s basically a website that lets you play background noise to help you study. It has different kinds of noise—like continuous white noise vs. more varied impulse noise—depending on your needs or interests. And the options for the different sounds you can listen to are quite impressive. My favourites are the fire (it makes me feel marginally warmer despite it been freezing cold outside) and the cat purr. I tried out the purring last night and just felt better while listening to it. I have a feeling I’ll be using this a lot from now on!

(Haha a side note here, but April and I went downtown, and she got me a café mocha, and this is the first time I’ve had coffee in suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch a long time. It’s making me a little bit weird. This is why I don’t normally drink coffee :P Downtown was fun though. We went in this awesome shop with this awesome jewellery (every five seconds we kept saying “oh, that’s cool!”) and these incredible leather notebook covers (you know how I am about leather <3) It was quite fun indeed.)

Me on coffee.

Music

Normally I don’t like to write with music if it’s quiet enough to write without it, but this year I’ve found that I’m almost incapable of getting into the groove of my story without the aid of some sort of soundtrack. There’s something about the pacing of the narrative that’s just easier to write when I have a literal beat to write to. For the first bit I solely used the How to Train Your Dragon 2 soundtrack.

I loved the first movie’s soundtrack, but I think I might love the second one more. Well, no, not exactly. There are more individual songs on the first score that I like, whereas I like the overall sound of the second one better. I love that it has the same sound as the original, but yet introduces a whole new underlying theme to suit the purposes of the second movie. You really can feel the spirit of the characters and the story in the music and I absolutely adore it. I can’t get enough.

I think this is my favourite song from the whole score.

Agh, but listening to it just gives me all the feels!

Haha, I am so very excited to watch the second movie again! I may possibly be receiving it for my birthday?!?!?? Which is only 8-ish days away! But I am crazy excited to watch it, and to show it to my mom, because she never watched it when it was still in theatres. This movie is just too much for me to handle sometimes, honestly, and I love it to bits and pieces <3

But besides the HTTYD2 soundtrack, I was searching for other songs that would inspire me for this novel. Last year, I used tons of songs to inspire the emotion of the story I was writing (as PP1MT wrote about here), and while I wasn’t so concerned with having a whole playlist this time around, I still kind of wanted some sort of anthem for the book. It was when I stopped looking that I found what I was after: the song Nothing Left to Say/Rocks by Imagine Dragons.

I very much love Imagine Dragons and their CD Night Visions. On this CD, the final track is called Nothing Left to Say/Rocks, and is a combination of Nothing Left to Say (which is a six and a half minute song) with this little “hidden track” (only 2 minutes long) called Rocks at the end. They’re a very interesting pairing, as NLTS is moodier, more subdued, and Rocks is much more upbeat and nonsensical. And they totally mesh with the vibe of my novel.

Parts of Witch’s Blood (my NaNo project) are very upbeat. The narrator herself is in general a more carefree, cut-loose kind of girl, and she has a lot of fun when she first gets the inn. But when things go bad, it takes a much darker turn. There are casualties, and high tensions, and bad tempers, and the ideas of “falling down”, and “drowning in the waters of my soul” (lyrics from NLTS) are extremely appropriate. It’s rough times. So the combination of the songs really reflects (and reminds me) how the novel has two faces. Where there is despair, there is hope. Where there is happiness, there is grief. So I’ve decided that if any song is to be this book’s anthem, it’s this one.

I will talk more in my next post about non-NaNo things, so if you’re in the mood to read some random babble and ranting and complaints about chemistry, that’s where it’s at!

How has your month been thus far?

May you be surrounded by good music and soothing sounds.

-Alex

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