The Muse in Our Music: How Sound Inspires Story

*Originally published on I Came For The Soup… June 23, 2014

“…music is the water that takes potentiality and turns it into a tangible substance.”

Music, whether it is just background noise or a tool used to build the plots of my written works, has always been a big part of my creative process, and it always will be.

Whenever I write, whenever I create visual art, I always allow my ‘ear gates’ to be open. With writing, there is, of course, the ‘eye gate’ that we all use in order to aid in the imagery of our stories giving our creations a place to tread upon. Visual stimulus is a fantastic seed, that when planted in the right creative soil, can hold the potential of yielding a magnificent literary harvest.

But sound, music, music is the water that takes potentiality and turns it into a tangible substance.

Song and sound are the creative vibrations that resonate in the deepest part of our soul, spirit, and imagination. Song shifts the atmosphere around us, changes our mood, directs our minds.

Music is the inspirational tool that we all use on a daily basis whether we realize it or not. The sound of fan blades blowing in your ears at night helps you to sleep. The sound of rain, thunder, and lightning help you to relax and for me, create.

Music keys are Keys that unlock the doors to our created worlds and the hearts and minds of our characters.

Love songs put us in a loving mood. Angry songs make us want to break things. When we struggle to connect with our emotions, music, be it with words or just instrumentals, help us to say and express what needs to be said and expressed in the moment when our own words fail us.

With each novel that I have sat down to write, I have leaned on specific tunes to meditate on in order to “get my head in the game,” if you will. Not only does the music remind me of the story and place me right in the center of the plot, but it gets my inner-man, my creative man, in touch with the emotion and mood of the scene. Most importantly, it helps me get into the heads of my characters.

Without doing this, getting into the characters’ heads and hearts, there would be no story to tell. Music is the bridge that brings our worlds together.

Music is a language all its own. It has a sound and it has a script. It has to be learned for literacy but even without literacy we all come tuned to understand what is being said. The beauty of it is that the lyrics can be saying something contrary to the story it births in us.

For each story that I have written, there is a different soundtrack or sound map. The keys within the songs help me unlock each character. Sometimes I focus on one specific character and through their unveiling, I see into the hearts of the other characters around them.

Just like us, our characters are people too. They are complex, they are layered, and like symphonies, they have highs and lows, drama and peace.

Create an atmosphere of sound for yourself and your stories. Let the music and sound speak and be sure to listen.

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”  ~William H. Gass

HOW TO TACKLE NANOWRIMO: MY ADVICE TO YOU (DAY 4 OF COUNTDOWN)

*Revised from October 2015, 2017

Token 4: KEEP A “SPICE RACK”  OF IDEAS  AND SCENES IN A SEPARATE WORD DOCUMENT

Years ago, when I first started blogging, I made mention on my creative ministry site, I Came For The Soup, of separate documents that I keep alongside each novel that I work on which contains ideas, scenes, etc pertaining to that story. Now to be clear, this document is NOT an Outline. It is what I call a ‘Spice Rack.’

pexels-photo-256318Assuming (again) that you are already a seasoned writer, I am pretty sure you are familiar with the process of your creativity ‘jumping ahead’ of your story as you write it. For example, you may be working on chapter five when suddenly some thrilling scene pops in your head that has nothing to do with the current flow of the story BUT it somehow fits, like a glimpse into the future. You just don’t know where.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS SCENE?

If you are smart, YOU WRITE IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY! and you store what you have written in the, you guessed it, spice rack document. (And when I say write it down, I don’t mean write ABOUT it, I mean actually WRITE it as if that is where you are in the novel. This will save you time later and give you the full feeling of your characters’ future selves.)

These scenes may not fit immediately into the storyline, but they do count toward your daily word count and overall word count goal. As you continue writing you will surely find out that this ‘homeless’ scene you took a pause to build early on around ‘chapter five’ was actually the climax of chapter twenty-seven! (Glad you wrote it down when it came to you, aren’t you? )

WHEN DO YOU USE YOUR SPICE RACK?

Keep in mind that writing a novel is kind of like making soup from scratch. You have all the basic ingredients, but as the stock is cooking there are times that you taste test it and find that it just needs something to give it that little extra kick. What do you do? You go to your spice rack.

As you grow deeper into your novel during NaNoWriMo, you will draw toward moments where you just feel like something is missing. This is where you open up your spice-rack-document and grab one of those seemingly out of place bits of writing that you cranked out of nowhere.

For me, there were conversations, heated ones, that my characters who hadn’t even met yet, were having somewhere in the future, and as I kept writing I subconsciously built my way into each one of those Spice Rack scenes.

I have actually been doing the ‘Spice Rack’ since I was fourteen years old…I am now old enough to have a fourteen-year-old.

So here is another brief recap of NaNo Tokens:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest reader’s eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage. (Click HERE for full article

TIP 4. Keep a “SPICE RACK”  of ideas  and scenes in a separate word document

BONUS: Check out my debut novel, NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, my first published piece born from a 30-day writing marathon like NaNoWriMo, both in eBook and Paperback.

NG 3D JPEG
eBOOK AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON!

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” ~JODI PICOULT

3 Reasons to Write That Novel: Wisdom from the Writer’s Journal

I believe that everyone at some point in their life journey has made the statement, “I think I should write a book.” While many have said it, very few have actually embarked on the actually journey when you think about it in terms of the ratio of ‘said’ versus ‘done’.

Now, having completed several tomes myself and published my first novel, Nexus Gate 4307: The Animal, currently available in paperback and ebook on Amazon.com, I have to admit that writing a novel from start to finish isn’t the easiest thing to do BUT it doesn’t have to be as difficult as many of us make it out to be.

Most of what causes the process to be difficult are:

  • Over-thinking: Rather than letting your creativity guide you and dance with your imaginative muse, you think the story into knots to the point that you ware yourself out even before you’ve even begun the actual writing process.
  • Lack of confidence: You put too much stock in what others will think of your creative work and often assume what they will think will be negative.
  • Perfectionism: You concern yourself with the idea of the ‘finished product’ and expect perfection from a work in progress when the first several drafts are actually just your beginning stages.
  • Thinking its already been done before/ Someone took your idea: You choose not to share your spaghetti sauce with others because someone else has already made, marketed, and sold spaghetti sauce…you get the picture.

These four are definitely creativity-killers not just in the world of writing but in the world of doing just about anything that poses a challenge but holds interests to you.

What are the cures to these nasty bugs:

  • Think less, do more: Enjoy the journey and don’t worry so much about the ending destination, especially not in the beginning stages.
  • Believe that trying is worth it even if you ‘fail.’ (Failure is relative.): The joy of simply having accomplished any creative goal is worth pursuing regardless of if you choose to share it with others or not. It simply lets you know that you can.
  • Remember that no matter how sharp we are at our craft there will always be a flaw: There is beauty in imperfection and often where there is imperfection our brains will either appreciate the quirk or fill in the gap. Some of the most highly funded books still have flaws in them.
  • Your idea is unique even if it resembles someone else’s…how many vampire stories are out there? I rest my case…sorta.

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for you to leave the ocean of ‘sayers’ and become part of the flock of ‘doers.’ It’s time for you to WRITE THAT BOOK!

“Many Great Authors began their writing careers in meeting their own imaginative and literary need. Perhaps that ‘book’ you crave to read, but can’t seem to find, rest deep within the soil of your imagination. Perhaps it’s time you begin to bring it to light! Write the book!” ~ Candice Coates

Octavia E. Bulter is a celebrated Science Fiction author. Her success grew from watching what she said was a terrible Science fiction movie and saying to herself that she could write better than that, and you know what? She did.

3 REASONS TO WRITE THE BOOK

1.WHY should you write that book: If a concept has been playing like a movie in your mind for more than a month (or even a week) you should give it life, even if you are the only one to read it.

And don’t worry if you thought up a great storyline only to find that someone else has tried something that seems similar. Here is the reality, many people have shared ideas and they’ve never even discussed them before.

As I said, there are so many vampire novels out there with the undead being in love with the living. Or think about how many mail-order bride romance novels there are. Similar concepts but if you’ve ever read any of these, you would find they are vastly different.

It’s called a niche within a genre.

So write your book because your idea is worth sharing.

2. HOW should you write that book: I recently read a book by Mark Batterson called Chase the Lion. (Great book!) In it, he describes his concept of using the 80/20 rule when it comes to writing. I liked what he had to say BUT I kind of have a similar but different view of it.

Putting it in my own words, 80 percent of finished work is better than 20 percent of daydreaming about it. Daydreaming without any work done will only lead you down a rabbit hole of nothingness where you let in those four creativity-killers.

Let your first draft be just that, a first draft! Go on and misspell a few words, dance over correct grammar, and use ‘to’ in place of ‘two’ too many times. It’s okay. Goodness, even let the plot slip a few times.

Your job during the 80 is to bring the bones and muscle of the story to life. The skin and clothes will come during the rewrites. Yes, there will be rewrites…at least three.

Putting down the words even with the mistakes is HOW YOU WRITE THAT BOOK! You get out the 80 percent and then weave through the 20 percent during second drafts, editing, and beta.

3. WHEN should you write that book: NOVEMBER 1st of ANY YEAR is a great time to write that book or to at least get it started. Why? Because that is NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. Check out the official site here www.nanowrimo.org.

Participating in NaNoWriMo gives you the chance to connect with other like-minded creatives who are running toward the same goal, like a marathon except you are using computers and being pretty sedentary…and probably packing in the calories instead of burning them but that’s beside the point.

The point is you will have a platform to gauge your progress and be encouraged by that of others.

Me, I like to use June as my Novel Writing Month, but any 30-day month will do just to get you started. That is when I finished both Nexus Gate and Warden (coming out Winter 2020).

Just get started. Write that Book! Why? Because it’s in you. How?  By sitting down and doing it. When? Right now is a good time to start!

WRITE THAT BOOK!

If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.” ~Beverly Cleary

 

* Revised from original publication on icameforthesoup.com October 26, 2016, by Candice Coates

A Dangerous Dance: Flash-Fiction & Art for Day 2 of #Inktober 2019

The icy rush of adrenaline that shot up Eeva’s spine rivaled the biting cold of the water that lapped around her ankles and hand.  She stared into the pale eyes of the alpha male, his white fur reminding her of winter. It was then her father had died thrusting her into the role of provider for her home. She was eldest after all.

Provider. The title should have been her mother’s. But the brutal loss of her beloved had thrust her into a mindless ring sorrow that had rendered her little more than a child. The pressure from the burden that weighed upon Eeva’s shoulders had often driven her away, deep into the darkness of the wood.

Hunting had been her excuse but something far more thrilling had been her pursuit.

Legend held that if one prooved worthy, they could become one of the Winter Tribe–the White wolves that could, at whim, be beast or man and lived close to an eternity of years. When Eeva first set her eyes upon the pearlescent fur, locked gazes with the alpha whose fire gaze seemed to set her soul ablaze, she could not help but pursue him…even as he stalked and pursued her.

It had been nine months now, secret meetings of distance nearness, he disarming her with the glint in his eyes, ever closing the space between them as he dictated her steps.

It was a dangerous dance. One her father had failed to master.

But now as she felt her being seared by the cold of the water as if flames were burning away all that she once was, she knew she had mastered the steps and would this day be one of the Winter Pack.

FIN

Dangerous Dance Cover

*This is Day 2 of #Inktober 2019. Tonight, I chose to not only use my custom prompt words for my story and inked art, but also to use the official Inktober list words to help move my short story along. 

I do hope that you have enjoyed it, and hopefully, we will have something new tomorrow!

 

Indie Publishing Hiccups…and What Not

Hello friends,

Our date for the paperback edition of NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, my debut novel from 2018, goes live on Friday, October 4th! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about all of this even in light of the hiccups I have had in making this work of fiction physically available to you, my readers.

WHAT? WHAT HICCUPS?

So, it appears that somewhere along the lines of formatting and squaring things away for printing, that I ran into some trouble with my ISBN number.

Quick digression. If you are considering going the indie/self-publishing route with your writing, good for you! That is fantastic. Just make sure that you purchase your ISBN numbers form the ONLY legit vendor of ISBN’s in the US and that is Bowker.

Back to the hiccups…

It appears that made the ‘mistake’ of making my book available for mass distribution on Amazon, since that was the first platform I uploaded my novel to, and in so doing, I made my ISBN number unusable for self-publishing on any other platform, namely Barnes & Nobles.

BUMMER!

Now, this could be remedied in a very easy way, and that is for me to use another of my ISBN numbers in order to publish the same book on B&N’s platform.

Allow me to just say that in doing the math, taking not of the royalties I would receive for the same book, which are nearly 50% less than what I would get from Amazon, I have decided to scratch the idea of using another ISBN number on that platform.

Let me be clear though, what has happened to me, was strictly a rookie mistake in that I did not read ALL of the fine print several times over.

NG 3D Front 2The fact is you can use the same ISBN on different self-publishing platforms as long as:

  • The books have the same title
  • The same interior information and formating
    • Page numbers
    • page color type
    • are the same dimensions/ size
  • The same cover

The soup gets a little thick when you allow the book to be released for mass distribution on either platform (I believe) making it unusable on the other.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?

Being a person firmly anchored in faith in Christ Jesus, I know that although He didn’t cause this roadblock, that He is more than able and willing to use it for my good! I am expectant that much good will come out of this, that I will gain much valuable knowledge from this specific situation, that will aid me in my next publishing adventure coming WINTER 2020.

As I wait to hear back from B&N for other options available to remedy this current problem, I continue to get things all square on Amazon and explore my other distribution options with other indie retailers.

The goodness in all of this? I don’t know a single person who doesn’t make purchases from Amazon.  So win-win, right?

Right!

So, the party goes on. Paperbacks for all on Friday, October 4th even if they are only available on Amazon.

~Candice, the Genre Jumper

When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles.” ~UNKNOWN

 

*Photo by Water Journal on Unsplash

 

DEBUT NOVEL Nexus Gate 4037: The Animal OFFICIAL RELEASE IN 24hrs!

Hello Friends and fellow Genre Jumpers!

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Available Now on Amazon!

The countdown clock is officially winding down until my Debut Novel, NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL is released on Amazon.

If you don’t have a Kindle for Amazon, no worries, you can download the app and still read the book on any e-device. NEXUS GATE will also be released on iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble on October the 26th 2018, with a paperback edition dropping before the end of November/Early December 2018. 

Wondering if it will be available on audiobook, well, that is the plan. I will keep you posted on the details regarding that.

If you haven’t yet read the TEASER CHAPTERS, you can do so now!

Thank you for showing your support, purchasing a copy of my debut novel, and sharing the link with others!

BONUS: Included with your purchase of NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, are the teaser chapters to my next novel, WARDEN.

Also, keep watch for the Promotion Tour coming soon, with interview questions and spoiler-free details about this project.

Thanks for reading.

~Candice Coates, the Genre Jumper

Weaver’s Threads by Candice Coates

“Don’t press too hard or you’ll break them.  Remember, Illa, the threads are fragile. You must,”

“Handle them with care.” Illa finished the rebuke as it slid like honey from her mentor’s lips.

Vero gently pinched the young girl’s cheeks and winked at her. “If you know this, Illa than why must I always remind you?” She sighed, her query more rhetorical than anything. She sighed because she knew Illa would answer her anyway.

Illa’s head rolled on her shoulder’s. Her expression laden with exaggerated dissatisfaction. “I don’t want to do this,” she said. “I am not meant to be a weaver.”

Vero did not respond. Instead, she kept her back to Illa and continued pulling the threads of her own work. Illa spoke on. “I should be out there, doing something else, something more meaningful. This is useless.” She plucked one of the threads with her finger. The taught line made a twanging sound that caused Vero’s shoulders to kiss her ears.

As if gliding on air, Vero was back at Illa’s side, her hands spread as if trying to calm the workings of Illa’s weaving. When the resonating finally died down completely, she took Illa’s hands in hers and squeezed with a terrible force. Her obsidian eyes suddenly seemed darker than usual.

“Never do that again! Am I understood?”  Illa nodded, her mouth agape. She had never seen Vero so wroth.

Vero turned her loose and sighed again, this time from absolute exhaustion.  Illa had been her apprentice for months now and still, she failed to understand.  Fate was not a web easily woven. Paths of life were dictated long before birth, and Illa toyed with them as if they were nothing more than threads from a seamstress’ spool.

No, what they were weaving was far more important than perishable silks. Illa was called to weave threads of life, she was the only one chosen in her generation. Why didn’t she understand how important it was, how important she was. If she got one thread wrong if she muddled the pattern even a little…

Vero’s head began to pound. Her eyes danced around her weaver’s room, gently skirting around the crystalline threads of lives she had woven. She had taken such great care with each and when she was finished the breath and essence of each web was blown upon the child who would live out that path with words of blessing and purpose. The sureness of her fingers meant fortune or misfortune for each person who received from her calling.

Illa was to take her place but Illa did not understand.

“I am sorry,” Illa’s voice, shaken and low, pulled Vero from the depths of her thoughts.

Vero made herself to look upon the young girl with tenderness in her eyes. She couldn’t allow her to see neither anger or fear. Both would derail what little balance for the task that Illa possessed. She said, “Be sorry not for me. My fate has already been blessed upon me and here I stand. But you,  be sorry for those whose fates rest in your hands if you dare to toy with them as if they are guitar strings and not matters of life and death.” Vero turned away from her and sat down at her loom again.

Illa turned back toward the web. Her brow had drawn together and it was as if Vero could sense it for when Illa went to strum the threads again as if they were chords, Vero’s voice rang about her once more. “And lest I forget to tell you, the very web you toy with today is your very own. It is with that that you shall be blessed.”

Illa stayed back her hand for only a moment before responding. “You have said this before as well, Vero, and none of the webs have been mine before. They have all gone to chattel, dogs and the like.” Her tone was almost petulant.

Vero continued to weave. “We never know which web is actually ours, Illa, until the time for blessing comes. For that reason, you must respect each web and treat it as if it were your very own, for the tangles you weave today may very well be the snares that catch you tomorrow.”

She said nothing more. Illa stared at her once again before turning around and this time touching the threads with the care she needed to.

She finally understood.

THE END

This was originally written and published March 12th, 2014 on my  other platform, www.icameforthesoup.com

Progress & Publications: Gearing Up for Greater Things

Hello Friends and Fellow Genre Jumpers!

It’s been a long while since I’ve sat down and given you all updates on plans and plottings, happening here in the Novel World of the Genre Jumper. So let’s not delay any further.

First, Debut Novel Business

New NG Back Cover the Animal 1NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL will be available for purchase in SEPTEMBER 2018. I am still in the process of polishing and formatting as well as learning the ins and outs of KDP and other ePublishing platforms. My plan is to have this work of fiction available for download on KINDLE, iBooks, KOBO, B&N, as well as PLAYBOOKS by Google.

I feel confident in saying that once I have gotten past this mountain of first-time-publication, my bookshelf will begin to fill up quickly and hopefully yours as well. This is my prayer and this is my hope.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for future snippets of the book beginning in August.

Other Written Words

Beginning on Thursday, July19th, I will start sharing short stories and other works of fiction that I have called, My Favorite Writes. You will be able to see and read these pieces by simply clicking on the link in my menu.

My Fav Writes Banner

MFWs are exactly what they are called, written bodies of work, ranging from several different genres that I delight to share with you all. Not only is it a way for us to stay creatively connected while I work on publishing longer tomes, but it is a great way for you, the reader, to ease into my writing style and taste the way I serve each genre.

Staying Connected

The best way not to miss a moment in my writing adventure is by staying connected. Following my author site is as easy as clicking “FOLLOW”…seriously, that is all it takes. Just click that big ole button in the side panel to your right and Bob’s your uncle! Once you do that, you will receive an email alert each time I share updates here.

If you are not keen on following that way, you can always get connected on Twitter, Facebook, or even Instagram.

There will also be a tried and true EMAIL LIST OPTION COMING SOON, where you can leave your contact information and receive monthly updates about future projects and more.

I am super excited about how my journey is going thus far and being blessed to see my dreams manifest. The greatest part of it all is having you along with me for the ride!

And can I just say that this lady feels AMAZING and BLESSED as she sees her seeds begin to sprout! Super exciting and incredibly blessed!

Thanks for being apart of my Novel World and Genre Jumping journey!

Sincerely,

Candice

Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress. ~NICHOLAS M. BUTLER

Writing Continues as NaNoWriMo Begins #NaNoWriMo #Writinglife #CreativeWriting

Today NaNoWriMo begins and millions (I am hoping for millions) of writers are embarking on a 30-day journey to give life to a new novel or to continue with one that they’ve been laboring with for months.

Now, if you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it is National Novel Writing Month, which begins on November 1st until the 30th of every year, encouraging writers around the world to write 50k words in 30 days!

The commitment is a noble and grand one, one that I encourage you to take part in, if not this November then maybe the next 30-day month that comes along.

I will be happily continuing with working on my WIP, DISIUS 9. If you don’t already know, Disius 9 is my attempt at writing a novel in 365 days, born from a creative writing prompt I created earlier this year, with a list of 365 words, and suggested daily word count, to help other writers along.

365 DAY NOVELTo find out more about this prompt, read “New Year, New Chapters, New Novel in 365 Days: Novel Writing Challenge 2017,” found on my sister-site www.icameforthesoup.com.

As it stands, this lady is months behind on her writing progress with this piece. I confess that I took a lot of time working on NEXUS GATE 4037 as well as creating my first FREE ONLINE COURSE for creatives during the months that Disius 9 sat idle. Those things grouped together with capturing newer story ideas before they escaped my imagination and I find myself still in the word list for June…don’t judge me…love me.

With that being the case, I have decided to dedicate this month of NaNoWriMo to playing creative catchup with Disius 9. If you haven’t read any of this WIP you can do so by following this LINK.

Nexus Gate 4037 Use Banner Picture image

In other news, Nexus Gate 4037 is right on schedule with things and should be ready for publication come Winter 2018. Teaser chapters will be available this month just to wet your reading appetites.

Be sure to stop back for more updates in the future!

AND if you need a little bit of encouragement to help get you started with NaNoWriMo, you can find some at http://www.icameforthesoup.com, with the 5 articles all about how to tackle this writing adventure!

Right on! Write on!
~Candice Coates
“We work in the dark — we do what we can — we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” ~HENRY JAMES