Camp NaNoWriMo Day 1

Yesterday was day 1 of the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo 2012. Here’s a brief summary of how the day went for me:

I kicked things off by downloading the 30-day trial of Scrivener for Windows. I had taken part in the beta testing and experienced a very unfortunate saving bug (to the tune of the program not saving anything at all) which was not a very good first impression. This trial version is singing a very different tune. I like the organization a lot. For this particular writing project I’ve been busy since last November, writing detailed character profiles and histories, the history of the world in which the story takes place, descriptions of various creatures that inhabit it, drawing maps of cities and regions etc. All of these are things which must exist in this world but not necessarily be written out in excruciating detail. Scrivener is the perfect software for this as it allows you to do all of the above outside of the actual manuscript. Before I was using three or four different apps and programs, but Scrivener keeps all of this info in one place. I’m not sure yet if this is a convenience worth the program’s $40 price tag, but I guess I’ll see in the coming days.

As for the manuscript itself, I wrote a little over 500 words. It’s a very modest start but I’m not too worried about it yet (for my first NaNo attempt I didn’t begin writing until November 5 and I wrote well under my daily limit until the last week, during which I wrote enough to catch up and finish on November 28th or so). I am hoping to write a little bit more than that from now on.

As for the finer details, my project is tentatively titled The Lament of the Land and it’s a fantasy story. I have a pretty good idea what I want out of it and where I think it’ll go, but I’m looking forward to any surprises it may have to offer me.

I’ve mentioned before that I like to listen to music while I work on first drafts. This project’s playlist consists of Yuki Kajiura’s soundtracks to .hack//SIGN and Tsubasa Chronicle and Joe Hisaishi’s soundtracks to various Studio Ghibli movies (Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away come to mind).

Are you participating in camp right now? How about the next session this August? What are you working on? Let me know your thoughts. If you want to keep up on my camp progress you can find my profile here:

Music While You Write

I often listen to music while I write. Usually I’ll make a playlist of songs that fit the mood I’m going for in my writing (and I’ve considered posting these playlists before, what do you think?). Over time I’ve moved away from my usual listening while writing, and I definitely don’t recommend listening while editing, or at least listen to something with no words. The reason for both is that if I’m tempted to sing along, that requires my brain to write one thing and speak another, and the two can get confused. It doesn’t happen often but is just not worth the risk. When it comes to editing, I tend to prefer silence. I often edit aloud (and you should too, sometimes you’ll catch things you didn’t catch just reading). But when it comes to writing, music can be very inspiring.

At the moment I’m working on a fantasy story. My music of choice right now is Joe Hisaishi’s incredible soundtracks to the Studio Ghibli movies (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away etc.). Another fantasy favorite of mine is Yuki Kajiura, specifically her soundtracks for .hack//SIGN and Tsubasa Chronicle. While writing horror I might stick more to Akira Yamaoka’s Silent Hill soundtracks. I haven’t written hard science fiction in a while, but Yuki Kajiura’s music would fit sci-fi just as well as it fits fantasy.

A common thread you’ll probably notice is that a lot of these are soundtracks. They’re music made to be in the background, to enhance something else going on. This works very well for writing.

I love Rage Against the Machine as much as the next guy, but Zack de la Rocha screaming “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!” doesn’t make me feel like writing about dragons. It might, however, keep me in the right mood to write a frantic zombie shootout scene. It’s all about the mood you’re going for, and if you get it wrong, music might just be more of a distraction than inspiration.

These are of course my own musings, and what works for me may not work for you (but if you think it might, go ahead and try it). So what about you? What do you listen to while you write? I’d love to hear about it.