Friday, December 19, 2008

Calamity's Child Music (Part 1 of 3)

Presenting the Music behind the writing of Calamity's Child! Yes, the list of music the Thin Man found essential to focusing his mind during the writing of the novel. It's a long list so I'll spread it over several days. Please note, the music listed is not an indication of good taste, the author's specific listening preferences, or an endorsement of some of the music. Also remember that the various albums were freely intermixed (for example, for every chapter with Rose in it, there was an Evanescence album in the rotation, even during the writing of the fight scenes). It is simply what put him in the right frame of mind. I hope you find it an interesting (and probably terrifying) look inside the symbiosis of music and writers.

General background music:

The Book of Secrets, The Visit, The Mask and Mirror by Loreena McKennitt
Another Way to Travel by Cats Laughing
Once Upon a Time... The Essential Ennio Morricone Collection by Ennio Morricone (esp. The Mission Suite)
Poets and Madmen by Savatage
Highlander, The Original Scores by Michael Kamen, Stewart Copeland, and J. Peter Robinson
Music Inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings by Andy Street
Beethoven's Last Night by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Eroica Trio by Eroica Trio
The Planets Suite, St. Paul's Suite by Holst

Fight scenes:
The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection by Yngwie Malmsteen
Blade, Movie Soundtrack by Mark Isham
Stigmata Movie Soundtrack by various artists
A Tribute to the Four Horsemen by various artist (Nuclear Blast records)
Brave New World by Iron Maiden
The Planets Suite (Mars thru Saturn) by Holst

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

He's a grumpy old man

At great personal risk, I have bearded the Thin Man in his den and once again demanded a project status update. His recap of November was short and to the point: "I didn't get a damn thing done." Technically, that's not true. I know for a fact that he wrote two short stories but it has become his official policy not to count short stories as word count unless they're longer than 10,000 words. The reasoning is mercenarily simple. A good short is almost as much work as several chapters of a novel but the pay is literally in pennies. (The so-called pro rate is 5 cents a word. For a well polished 5,000 word short story it takes close to a week of work and pays, at best, 250 bucks. In the same amount of time, he could generate about 10,000 words on a novel.) I should point out, he refused to stop writing short stories (this seems to be some kind of mental disorder for short story writers--they can't stop) but he doesn't count them as "billable word count".

I understand his frustration. Since the Thin Man tries to support National Novel Writing Month, November is usually a productive time. Last year, just over 45,000 words on Calamity's Child; the year before, the entire draft of Red Scythian. On the other hand, this November brought family illness, farm work, recovering from a book release, and a change in medication. I didn't bother to bring this up because I already know the answer: "Results, not excuses." So instead, I asked, "What did you read last month?"

"Blood and martyrs, Cat, I don't know! The wife, she keeps a journal of what she reads. Me, I just pick up the next closest book."

I have, however, reconstructed a partial list that I present below. It's not a complete list because, like most transients, the Thin Man pretty much lives out of cardboard boxes so as soon as a book is finished, it goes into storage and a new box comes out, but here's what I know for sure:

What is Your Dangerous Idea? Edited by John Brockman
Strange Matters by Tom Siegfried
Necroscope, NS: Defilers, and NS: Avengers by Brian Lumley
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
That Yellow Bastard and Hell and Back by Frank Miller
Ultraviolet by Yvonne Vavarro/Kurt Wimmer
The End of Time by Julian Barbour
Shamrock and Spear Edited and Translated by F. M. Pillkington
The Strange and Uncanny by John Macklin
Red as Blood by Tanith Lee

And now we know why he's in such a bad mood. Not many books, nowhere near enough fiction and no military sci-fi at all. Who wouldn't be a grump?