Another NaNoWriMo Comes to a Close

My third NaNoWriMo was a tough one. To reach my word count I used EVERY word I wrote!

(Dear Publishing Industry, have no fear. You won’t see my novel for at least another year. Feel better?)

I used the NaNoWriMo site more than ever. I read every pep talk sent to me and watched every video. I even reached out to my writing buddies in my hour of need.

Huh? What was that all about?

Oh, nothing. I just, ah, needed a few answers. I had a couple of questions, like, was I allowed to count the words that made up my timeline? How about my list of characters? My chapter titles? That kind of thing. Ahem.

Okay I admit it, I was reaching. Not because I didn’t have an idea, I had a good one, and after a month of wild writing, I still love it. Mostly, my problem was time. Even as I write this my five-year-old is calling and last night? He called me in to his room half a dozen times. It seemed like, the deeper I got into my story, the more someone or something needed my attention. But that’s just how it goes sometimes.

(BTW my Wrimo friends said yes, if you were wondering, or if you’re still writing your butt off and are wondering, count every single word.)

Hey, I don’t feel bad. For the last two NaNoWriMos my 50,000 words were pure story. This year I had to do things a little  differently. We all know how important it is to Think Different. RIP Steve Jobs, all my NaNo manuscripts, in fact all my manuscripts, and many of my songs, were written on a Mac. Thank you Apple.

And another thank you to Martha Alderson. Martha’s blog Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers is a great resource for writers and this year Martha’s posts about energy markers helped me create my story arc.

To all of you Wrimos still writing, you have TONS of time, no worries. If you need inspiration in the form of music, take a break and check out this site, there are lots of good songs from artists who are probably new to you.

I love writing with music on, and this year more than one of my NaNoWriMo writing soundtrack songs came from Sirenstories.

If you’ve finished your November novel (let’s agree for now that finished means having a beginning, middle, and end) congratulations! If you’re still writing, good luck, you’ll be printing out that nifty certificate any minute ;)

Ghost Trails

“Ghostly folks from Chicago . . . “.

That’s about all I know about Chief Ghoul.

The song Ghost Trails was recently submitted to the Sirenstories SoundCloud and although it’s labeled folk and definitely is, the music has a grunge edge to it that makes me think of Eddie Vedder. Eddie Vedder on some old car radio, and the vehicle is driving nearly out of range of the station. The reception is iffy, but I keep listening.

Blues guitar, low-fi production, and a whistled countermelody that serves as a chorus and is almost cheery, all work together with the dark vocals to create an intriguing sound that makes me want to hear more from Chief Ghoul.

If you feel the same way, click on the Chief. You’ll wind up on last.fm where you can listen to nine more Chief Ghoul tunes.

R.M. Isaiah’s San Francisco Sound is Magically Tragic

Exploring the music of R.M. Isaiah this morning has been a rich experience full of serendipity for me. I’d like to write a bit more about this, but I’m still reeling, and there’s too much I need to tell you about this great artist.

As you listen, you may find yourself comparing R.M. Isaiah‘s voice to the voice of legendary singer songwriter Tom Waits, and there are similarities. The amount of gravel in their throats for instance, is nearly the same. But there’s something softer about R.M. Isaiah and somehow more accessible. Less complicated, but no less poetic.

Your body I know is a wise man

A pawn in my collection of friends

There are books about Tom Waits, and I’m not going to try to sum up his style or his work here in a few sentences, but although truth lurks and snakes inside his songs, they are often performances, performance pieces. Tom Waits is a master at creating a cast of characters that strut and crawl across the stage of his songs.

But R.M. Isaiah is doing what Tom Waits was so floored by Dylan doing. He’s sitting down with the guitar and telling a story. There’s no circus. Isaiah is not a caricature of himself. Meanwhile High Witness, the band that Isaiah is a part of and who he recorded Master and Margarita with, creates the perfect bed for Isaiah’s voice to lie in. There’s no distraction. The first chord is so lush, for a second I thought I was going to be listening to a jazz tune, and even the shimmering cymbal crashes support Isaiah’s voice. Nothing gets in the way. There is one personality here, making music that’s earthy, mysterious, and immediate.

If you click through on the cover of the evocatively titled Numbers Have Their Way and visit R.M. Isaiah‘s bandcamp page, you’ll be able to listen to and download the digital album. I urge you to do this.

The song Master and Margarita intrigued me before I even heard it, because just as I was about to read the title my gaze slid across the screen and landed on the song’s label. It had been marked True Fiction.

You ask my about my trip to the labyrinth

But I can’t think of nothing to say

And that’s the only lie I heard. R.M. Isaiah has plenty to say, and I plan on listening.