Tag Archives: mind control

Because I have a fascination with it. ‘Nuff said.

Writing theme songs

All of my projects have at least one theme song attached to them, be it the whole book or an aspect of it.  I thought it might be interesting to list what they are and why.

Pirouette – all drafts (3rd draft in progress now):
 “Space Dye Vest” by Dream Theater.  I used this as Alisia and Lucien’s main “fighting” song.  It’s sad and torturous, and it brings up all kinds of heart-wrenching images in my head.  It just seemed perfect.

“Walk in the Shadows” by Queensryche – Raelan and Alisia’s theme.  In the last third of the book, [something spoilery happens] and for a time, Alisia and Raelan (who’s the villain) are….aligned.  This song, which talks about walking on the dark side of life, giving ino the darkness, fits the feeling of those scenes perfectly.

“The Killing Words” by Queensryche – Alisia and Lucien’s theme.  Just screams tragic, love, betrayal, heartbreaking stuff.  Sniff.

Flamebound (currently in revision):
“Take Hold of the Flame” by Queensryche.  The entire story is based on the song — or rather, my interpretation of it.  So many things tie to the world and story.

Survivor (recently finished first draft):
Operation: Mindcrime by Queensryche.  Yes, the entire album.  The book pretty much wrote itself to this awesome, magnificent album.  Since alot of the themes ran parallel to my story, it was almost eerie how the entire thing seemed like a metaphor for Survivor.  Some of it, like the brainwashing and mind control, were literal.

“Eyes of a Stranger” by Queensryche (on Operation:Mindcrime) – Amber’s theme.  Amber is the main character, and as she goes through some painful, traumatic stuff, she’s kind of transformed….and thus truly has the “eyes of a stranger.”

Requiem in Blue (2007 project)
“The Hands” by Queensryche – Meredith’s theme.  Meredith, the main character, is saved by someone.  “The Hands” makes me think of that, and salvation in general.

“Suite Sister Mary” by Queensryche – Some of the story was inspired by this song.  Especially one part about two people joining together to “make it through the night.”

Broken (currently in progress):
“Broken” by Lifehouse.  Also the why of the title, at least for now.  The song talks about being broken, and Amara, the main character, and the antagonist are both broken in a sense.

“Unbreakable” by Fireflight.  New band that I just discovered.  Totally Amara’s theme.  I realize that the songs seem contradictory, but it works, I swear!

Eowyn (perc’ing project for future):
“Ordinary World” by Duran Duran.  Theme of the book.  Because we’re dealing with quantum mechanics and alternate universes, and a “home” universe, it seems appropriate.

MindBound (future project):
“Lightning Field” by the Sneaker Pimps.  I saw a video of it and HAD to have the song, even though I’m not into that type of music.  Went on a wild goose chase and finally just today got ahold of it.  It’s THAT close to what this story is to me.  It (the story) has to do with an empath and pain and brainwashing, and the song is so perfect.  First words are “Strike me down…”  Can we say perfect?  Literal or figurative, it works. 

Soulfire (The Nano That Never Was):
“Lady Strange by Def Leppard.  Liana’s theme.  She’s the main character, and she isn’t exactly human and has non-human goals and wishes and such.  She’s a bit offbeat in her own way.

“Baba O’Riley” by The Who.  Book’s theme.  Completely encapsulates the dystopic future-Earth setting and the insidious reach of the New Regime.

Hereafter (Nano ’08):
“Women” by Def Leppard.  For no other reason than it gave me some compelling images inside my head, and somehow spawned plotty things.  This one I don’t really understand, but don’t question it, either.

At the moment, that’s all I can think of.  Will add more if I remember anything.

Pantsing it. And an update.

That’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks with Survivor — I know exactly where I want to end up, but I’m taking a few little detours and letting my muse play a bit.  It’s been interesting, to say the least.  I made yet another complication to the main character’s recovery.  I don’t know alot about deprogramming someone who’s been brainwashed, but between my own research and a friend’s help, I have an idea, and that’s enough for now.  Because the condition is fictional, loosely based on a real one, I think I can improvise a bit with it.

I’m very close to the end.  I don’t think I can get it finished before the wedding, but after I get back from my honeymoon, I think I have a good chance of doing it then. 

Also, I’m bringing Flamebound with me on vacay, in case I have some time to write.  I doubt that will happen, but hey — you just never know.  And I can’t imagine not writing for a whole week.  😦  I need to do something, even if it’s another read through and making comments.  Got to feel productive.

Flamebound will be undergoing yet another rewrite.  I’m still targeting it to Nocturne Bites, and if the changes I plan on making work, it might end up the right wordcount for them (15k).  If not, there are other e-publishers that take novellas.

What else?  I’m starting to get nervous about the wedding.  Not so much “what am I doing?!” nerves, more like anxiety that something’s going to go wrong.  I just want a smooth day.  It doesn’t need to be perfect, but I want it to be a close to perfect as possible.

Also considering my next big project.  I have something in mind and what publisher I will be targeting.  It’s Soulfire, of course.  I’m pretty excited about that.

Pirouette is being critted by 6 people.  I hope to have the crits back within the next few months so if there are changes needed, I can make them and get it out the door.  Very exciting to be this close.

Okay, well I probably won’t be back till after the honeymoon.  So, wish me luck and I’ll see you on the other side.

Plotbunnies, Inc.

My writing partner and I were brainstorming a new book idea, and I thought I would talk about my brainstorming process in the hopes that maybe someone out there would find it useful in some manner.

There are a few things I regularly use for plot ideas:

1) Conversations.  Any and all.  Often, it will be a nondescript, non-writerly type of convo, but something said will spark an idea.  For instance, recently a friend of the beloved’s parents was talking about live TB germs still hanging around someplace.  Scary huh?  So then I wondered what would happen if someone came into contact with them, and then others came in contact with him, and so on.   It’s still fermenting, but the wick has been lit.  😀 

2) News.  Not usually the local news, either, although occasionally I’ll find something intriguing.  Nope, I’m talking about world news and the Peculiar Postings on MSN.  A plot element from What Lies Beneath came from a story about a boy who’d drowned.  Sometimes health or science news also gets the gears going, too.

3) Science.  On Thursday I discovered Discover Magazine.  Found some very interesting information on the sleep cycle (which is always interesting, after having almost been diagnosed with narcolepsy), minimally-conscious states (not a vegatative and not a coma –a cross between the two), and some intriguing news on memories (another passion of mine — memory in some way or another always creeps into my books).  Just from persuing the headlines and reading articles that looked interesting.  I should have been a scientist, I swear.

4) Dreams.  I have very vivid, very unusual dreams that I can usually remember in graphic detail.  It could be that I’ve trained myself to ponder things unconsciously, or maybe it’s my meds (a certain medication is known for inducing vivid dreams and nightmares).  I have at least 3 plotbunnies connected to dreams, and other plot elements that came from a dream.  If you find you can’t remember your dreams, tell yourself as you’re drifting off that you will remember.  Be prepared to jot down anything upon wakening.  Dreams tend to dissolve the more awake you become.  I try to latch on to something and more or less “memorize” it before it vanishes.  Those few minutes upon waking are the most critical.

Another thing I do is ponder any issues I’m having with a novel as I’m drifting off, which insures that I will dream about it.  Recently, a tiny part of a dream spawned the sequel idea for Pirouette.

5) Juxaposing two or more very different ideas.  I purposely look for strange or contradictory ideas to combine for novels.  I take what I mine from other sources and work it out in my mind, asking myself “what if?” questions.  The entire concept of Requiem in Blue was built this way: combining cyborgs, underwater, and mind control.  Same with What Lies Beneath — empathy, insanity, and dolphins.

6) Other books.  Books inspire me.  I don’t ever copy; rather, I twist and bend the core idea (sometimes juxaposing stuff as above) to come up with my own spin on it.  This I disocvered from Holly Lisle’s workshop: How to Steal Ideas Ethically (or some such.  Can’t remember the exact title).  Requiem in Blue was originally one of these.  I read Starfish by Peter Watts and fell in love.  What I liked the best was the underwater millieu and how the people were modified to live in deep sea.  I took that, and ran with it.  If you hadn’t known this ahead of time, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell: the plot, combined with the mind control, is completely and entirely different, as are the circumstances as to why these people are living deep in the sea.  The only resemblance to Starfish now is the core idea that sparked it. 

Same thing with Holly Lisle’s Talyn.  If you haven’t read it, go read it NOW.  It is awesome, thrilling, terrifying, and beautiful all at once.  Well, the idea of enemies joining together (and a few other things too — don’t want to spoil it) intrigued me.   What Lies Beneath has elements similar to that, in the romance end of it.  But the similarity ends right there.

7) Song lyrics.  Now, I have what I call “movie images” appear in my head as I’m listening to music, pretty much without any conscious control.  I’ve always done this, even as a kid, and it helps me brainstorm and get new ideas.  But some lyrics will actually inspire plots as well as the imagery.  Queensryche’s “Suite Sister Mary” became the template upon which I plotted (ok, semi-plotted) Requiem in Blue.  “Silent Lucidity,” also by Queensryche,  inspired a VR plotbunny very recently.  A song by the band Creed inspired an alternate reality romance plotbunny I’ve had for gosh, years.  Queensyche’s “The Hands” inspired parts of Requiem in Blue (it’s also the protagonist’s theme song).  It’s really amazing what cool things happen with music.

I also use music to help me write.  Oftentimes if I’m stuck, I’ll just close my eyes and let it do its work.  Usually, it’s enough to get me moving again, and that’s what counts.

8) Real-life events.  There are a few novels that started out purely as semi-autobiographical, as a way to make sense of something that had happened to me.  Usually, they grow beyond that, and take another form, but that’s how some of them start.  One such novel, “Transparent Eyes,” started out as a way to get back at someone (fictionally)  who’d hurt me.  TE grew beyond that, and is now Footsteps of Ghosts.  The original elements are completely gone, and it’s a story in its own right.

Take caution when plucking things from your own life — there’s always the chance of lawsuits.  Granted, the law can be a bit ambigious, but it’s always good to hide any real-life stuff behind a good fictional situation. 

Another old plotbunny is a multi-generational family story that I’ve been meaning to write, to help cope with some of my own personal issues.  It’ll be fantasy or sci-fi, most likely.

And, Dagmar, another plotbunny, came from my grandparents’ love story.  War romance, Irish heritage.  The rest is completely different, but that was the inspiration.

Once I get the kernel of the idea, I let it perculate.  I have a good memory so that’s not hard, even with multiple ideas (although I have been writing them down as of late).  I always ask myself “what if?” questions, and try to tighten the screws on the poor characters.  Torture, that’s the name of the game.  I’m evil, LOL.

Sometimes I use Tarot cards, using them to answer those “what if?” questions.  I’ve come up with some awesome ideas that way.

So now you know my process.  It works very well for me.  And it’s basically just being aware of things, and always looking at different perspectives.  The belief that anything can result in a story idea helps.  😉  And perhaps that’s why I have so many…..because I see them everywhere.  I don’t think I will ever run out of ideas.

Hopefully this helped you in some way!

Update on things.

Pirouette Rewrite of Doom: Heh.  I’ve just hit 46k, and I just began a rewrite of the scene I wrote yesterday to clear up a plot hole.  I’m still not happy with it, but for now, it serves.  I’m just over 1/3rd done, and I’ve projected my completion date to early 2008.  Oh, and it might grow in size and scope.  Whilst re-reading some of the first draft, I noticed that in my outline for the Rewrite, I’d forgotten about the antagonist’s people and their abilities.  So, yesterday’s scene was to introduce one of them, Sarah, as a viewpoint character.  She’s a dark witch and Alisia’s competitor in the dance troupe.  They will be pitted against each other before the book ends.

Also, someone dies.  Someone I didn’t anticipate. 

Survivor: The Rewrite has officially begun!  Say what?  Yeah.  Well, it’s more like I’ve been keeping the rewritten stuff together under the title Survivor Rewrite.  I’m not really rewriting anything now.  I still need to finish that damn first draft!  I stumbled across some very interesting (and compelling) info on mind control that I might use towards the end of the book.  It will give me what I need to happen and will be realistic, as this comes from true stuff.  Stay tuned.

Requiem in Blue: On hiatis officially, but upon re-reading some old material, I discovered that I really would like to know what happens next….and figure out how to eliminate a few plot holes.  Oh, and a new element presented itself to me yesterday.

Plot bunnies: List is still growing.  I now have a murder mystery/thriller bunny about a secret society that maims corpses as part of their ritual and another war romance.  I’m telling you, it’s unreal.  It kills me that I can’t write faster.  Oh well.  At least I will never hunger for ideas, eh?

So that’s what’s shaking with da Weaver. 

Attack of the Rabid Plot Bunnies of Doom.

Since I haven’t been writing regularly (because of my wrist), the plot bunnies conspired to plummel me with ideas…..when I can’t do a damn thing about them.  Nothing.  Except take notes.  Failing that….er…remember?

 Yeah.  So today’s Big Idea came from my original mind control research.  I’ve always wanted to do a hard-core cult novel, with very severe mind control at its center.  Two plot bunnies, both older fit that.  But one took center stage, and I could see some of the scenes in my mind.  Scary.

Another is related to the TV show Bones.  I’ve watched a few episodes, and I like it alot.  I especially like forensics — it’s one of my nerdy interests.  And whilst reading up on the new season of Bones, out comes a murder mystery bunny begging for attention.

That’s not counting the Dune-inspired idea of genetic engineering/superiority.  Or the ideas I recently added to my archive on Flogging the Muse (it’s protected, so don’t bother looking.  I paranoid).  I really really need to either become super-prolific or start ignoring these ideas because I will not live long enough to see them through to completion.  But dammit, they’re all shiny. 

Life stinks sometimes.

Oh, and Survivor has been poking at me, too.  I actually broke down and worked on the Timeline of Doom, and brainstormed new scenes, and got horrendously frustrated by a niggling plot issue.  An important one.  So it just needs to simmer.

Yeah.  Any plot bunny cages around?  Cuz I need ’em like yesterday.

Requiem is *gasp* plotted. And, more ideas.

Ok, maybe not plotted exactly, but I had a cool new idea for the beginning that made more sense to me.  I started out with the characters in their natural environment.  Which is fine.  But at that time I had really no real direction.  I just started writing, and kept writing, up until now.

Today I did a little bit of a rethink on it.  Who were the real villains?  What’s the true nature of their situation?  Could they be totally mind-controlled to the point where they have no memory whatsoever of their experiences as Sentinels?  Who are they outside of the Globe?

And so on.

So, now I have a clearer direction, and some answers to those questions.  I wrote out as much as I could, in broad strokes — I’m saving the details for my muse.  It’s pretty much the same as before, with a few slight changes.  Nothing that requires any real rewriting.  I will, however, attempt to write that crucial first scene tonight.

It feels right, you know?  Like perhaps my muse has been keeping this from me, but has been throwing me hints all along.  And I finally got it, but it feels as if I knew this all along.  Pretty cool, this muse stuff.

So that’s the lowdown on Requiem.  Very excited.

I also want to drop off a few miscellaneous thoughts on What Lies Beneath, one of my more active plot bunnies.    While perusing the MSN Peculiar Postings today (I regularly mine them for story ideas), I found one article about someone who’d drowned trying to retrieve something from the river –I can’t really remember the deets.  But, naturally, this took my mind in some dangerously twisted directions.  Drowning.  Pominently figured.  Maybe even as the main conflict.  Drowning someone, or someones.  Yeah, I like that.

Second — a man who’d dug his own “underground bunker” in which he’s been living in for 6 years.  So, we have an underground living area, a small one, and we’ll just say for excitement sake, underwater.  Hmmmm.  I can hear the wheels turning….

Here’s where I am applying what I read in Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Clinic.  There’s a section in there about taking stuff that strikes you — photographs, newspaper articles, etc, and using them in your plots.  I was going to do this with my Cosmo magazines, but I was derailed by the peculiar postings.  I’ve found alot of cool stuff in there.  Anyhoo, these two ideas are nebulous, but I’ll put the muse to work on them.  Maybe they will turn out to be really cool.

Let’s hear it for cooperative muses! Or, the power of cards.

*cheerleader pom-poms waving around*

 My muse and I have been at a stalemate for the past few days.  She’s been giving me some awesome ideas, but whenever I tried to get more detail, she’d stonewall me.  Yesterday she showed me an awesome, kick-ass of a prologue and yet she refused to tell me the specifics on the magic –and I needed that to write the scene.  *Dr. Evil voice* “Throw me a bone, will ya?  I’m the boss.  Need the info.” (I love that line).

Yeah.  So today, after much musing (heh) over this particular bump in the road, I pulled up Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Clinic.  I needed more scenes — I had a few in mind already — so I figured now would be a great time to try for both.  I used a tool in there that involves using Tarot cards (or any type of picture-oriented cards, for the non-Tarot folks out there) to help communicate with your muse — in images, not words.  So I followed the excercise.  It’s basically taking your character and asking questions, using the cards as prompts for brainstorming.  I’ve done this in the past, but using Tarot meanings, and my own meanings from over 10 years of reading the cards.  But, I have never used the images themselves to do this.

And being the eccentric chick I am, I tried a hard question.  Instead of using a troublesome character, I used the demons’ magic system as the troublesome character (hell, I’ve used the plot itself as the focus in the past…with good results), just to see where that would take me.

Using the Rohrig Tarot, a beautiful, very abstract yet dark deck (that immediately screamed pick me! pick me! when I thought about which of my 30+ decks to use…), I did the reading, except I virtually ignored the Tarot meanings, as instructed, which was tough, which is what Holly said.  You can take the reader out of Tarot, but you can’t take the Tarot out of the reader……

So now, thanks to Holly Lisle, I have a very good idea about the magic system.  I’ve found out that it involves use of a special magically-infused object, handed down through generations, and that the mind of the victim is virtually obliterated…..with images hitting them like raindrops.  The muse says that this is REALLY important, and I’m not clear on precisely how, but I trust her on this one.

I learned other things too, but that would be spoiling things.  All I gotta say is….poor Alisia.  I put her through the wringer in Pirouette 1.0, but this — this is almost akin to death.  It’s not, not by a long shot — she won’t die (so, Chris, if you’re reading this — it’s ok, I promise) , but it will involve a very magical, very messy death of sorts. 

But man.  What a story.  I think it is finally coming together. 🙂  All from a few questions and a Tarot deck.  Trust me, this book of Holly’s really works.  I command thee to go forth and buy it.  Immediately.  You won’t be disappointed.

In other news…I’ve moved the start date for the Rewrite of Doom to July 1st.  Mainly because I have a few other projects competing for attention (*cough indexing cough* *cough darkroom cough*) and I want to give myself as long as I need to do all the necessary pre-work.  I want this draft to be as smooth as possible — no tangents, no weird shit, just what’s in the outline.  I will allow myself time to meander — I have to or else I’ll get stir-crazy — but — I will consider these meanderings more carefully then I did before.  I will not write another 400k draft.  I’m capping it at 120k, which is a bit too long, but still acceptable.  Writing 1k a day will take me approximately 4 months.  I haven’t written any first draft material in forever.  I am getting twitchy, so this week I might take some time and tackle either Survivor or Requiem in Blue

Not much else going on, except that I took some kick-ass pics of my sister’s flowers in her backyard with my new camera.  I’m ecstatic.

Now, it is time for bed.  Me tired.

Vamps, necromancers, and Fae oh my!

Some big changes are happening for the Pirouette Rewrite.  I have been brainstorming, along with the help of some writer friends, ways to make my world –and its creatures–more unique.  Naturally, it’s been said since the dawn of time that there’s no such thing as being totally unique — that everything has been done before.  But I beg to differ.  I think a writer can, if she stretches her wings a bit, come up with something more unique, if not completely unique.

For instance, I mixed two races together and gave them similar magic.  While that’s not totally unique, I know (from careful research) that this mix hasn’t been done much out there.  The magic system is very different, again, not something I see everywhere.  I’ve used some different elements to make the magic system more different.  Hopefully, it will be good.

I tend to mix and match different ideas anyway, hoping to come up with a combination that’s completely new and exciting.  Take Requiem in Blue, for an example.  It’s not your average cyberpunk dystopic thing.  It has the added element of mind control, which is a fun thing to explore (only ficticiously, naturally).  I think the two in combination make Requiem that much more unique.

 Naturally, all things require a complete rebuild for worldbuilding, class system, etc, as well as the story itself.  Alot of the original (and proposed new plot before these changes) will need to be redone.  Luckily, I haven’t started the Rewrite yet, so everything can be in flux.  You’re probably wondering why I’d put myself through this.  Why not just roll with the Rewrite as is?  Why tinker?  Well….that’s the thing.  Alot of my decisions happened on the fly (as evidenced by the 400k manuscript) and alot of them weren’t consistent with the worldbuilding, or introduced new elements that just would not work.  Well, you ask, why not make it work?  Simple.  Because then the story would suffer.

In fantasy and sci-fi, especially, the worldbuilding needs to be top notch.  I can’t just decide one day that this magic, or element, has to go because it’s inconvenient.  It’s will undermine the story.  It’s like trying to mess with the physics of our world.  People don’t fly, right?  They don’t have wings.  If people could fly, our world would be much different, right?  And it would change everything.

Same thing with fictional worlds.  You don’t break your rules just because.  I did alot of that.  Telempathy was my answer for everything — that was the vampires’ major magic ability.  Something went wrong?  Use telempathy.  Alisia’s in a bind and can’t get out –use telempathy.  In my defense, I did make it possible to lose telempathy for awhile (“burning it out”) to impose limitations (another important thing in fictional magic systems) but even that got old and repetitive.  So I needed something new.  Something more logical and with limits.  This new magic system does all of that.  It’s governed by the lunar cycle and location — i.e. where the vamp or Fae is — either on our Earth or in there own parallel world.  It’s kind of like Faerie, where their magic is stronger in the parallel world vs. Earth. I still need a new name for Earth, too –a name that the magical races would use to describe us.

So I believe all of these changes are going to make it stronger.  I can feel it.  I can tell by the why my heart pounds when I think about it.  It’s so cool.  I really owe a debt of gratitude to the one friend who made this possible (she will know who she is, if she ever reads this) because while I came up with alot of it on my own, she was the catalyst for something big and major.  And I will always been grateful for that.

So I prolly won’t be able to start the Rewrite in June, unless I hit it hard this month, which was what I was supposed to do.  The edit isn’t done yet –but is close –and I do want to finish it in case I missed anything.  I still need to do another read-through to make notes on everything to change or keep, and use that along with all my new stuff to build the plot.  For all of this work, I will be using Holly Lisle’s Create a Character Clinic, Create a Culture Clinic, and Create a Plot Clinic.  I cannot recommend this books enough — they are out really really cool.  I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use them, for real, and this is it.  I want this to work, and give it the best chance it has to succeed.  It’s my magnum opus, and I love it dearly.  And would love to see it in a bookstore one of these days.

So that’s what’s doing in my world.