A Little Write Music #33: Loreena, Penny Dreadful, Adele

Nov 01, 2015 Main blog 6 comments

Happy November!

I can’t believe how fast October flew by. At the beginning of the month, my draft of FOTL was 11,000 words heavy. Earlier this week, I crossed the 87,000 word mark. I still have a few scenes left to write, so it looks as though this first draft will end at close to 95K. That’s 10K longer than my estimate, but no big deal… just gonna roll with it!

I’m pretty happy with how this draft has turned out! I’ve said this before, but no matter how much I try to plot beforehand (and it does help, clearly, because I threw down over 75K in one month), there are things that just need to be written first before I can figure them out.

For instance, I knew how my world was laid out because I drew a map, but I didn’t know the exact details until I traveled through it with my characters. I knew where I wanted my main character’s general arc to go, but now I get it even more because I’ve spent 300 pages with her. I laid out the rules of magic before I began writing, but now that I’ve seen characters use it, I understand them better.

I’m wrapping up this rough draft in a few days, and then I’m taking a week off to do research, reread the manuscript, and make a plan of attack for revisions.

I remember feeling this confident before I revised ELEGY for the last major time… and it got me an agent! I really feel like I’m getting stronger as a writer with every manuscript. I pour everything I have into studying what works and what doesn’t, and listening carefully to all of the critique I get, even if I don’t quite agree. There’s a nugget to be taken from every piece of feedback, which is why the best thing we can do for ourselves is to listen. Getting defensive is a reflex, but it’s also a crutch… an excuse not to get better. And what’s the point of writing if we don’t think we can/should get better?

So that is my plan for the month of November.

That, and cheering on my wonderful Pitch Wars mentee this week! Her MG mystery, BITS AND PIECES, is going to be featured during the Agent Round and I’ll be support-tweeting like crazy! Check out Lorien’s blog here.

And without further ado, here is some music that has been inspiring me as I wrap up this draft:



I’ve been a fan of Loreena McKennitt since I heard her music in the “Mists of Avalon” movie (terrible adaptation, btw. Read the book instead!). Her music and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble have been heavy influences on FOTL since the planning stages. They always successfully transport me somewhere far away.



I am obsessed with Penny Dreadful and Abel Korzeniowski’s haunting score. There is one character I am studying relentlessly, because they do horrible things, yet they’re one of my favorite people on the show. It’s a lesson that the darkest characters can get away with anything as long as your audience feels deeply for them.



And of course, the queen… Adele! The lyrics in her new song are perfect for my two lead characters.

What are your plans for November? Are you doing NaNoWriMo, or are you hanging out with me in the revision cave?


6 Responses to “A Little Write Music #33: Loreena, Penny Dreadful, Adele”

  1. I'm really curious which character you're obsessed with in Penny Dreadful (since I love the show too)

  2. That's awesome it came together so quickly and you feel great about it. There are some things that can only be figured out as you write the story.
    I don't balk at my critique partner's suggestions. I know every suggestion is meant to help.

  3. Tiana Smith says:

    75k in one month!! I bow down to your awesome skillz 😉

  4. Wow! The new book is sure coming together quickly. Great news!

  5. Shelley Sly says:

    Wow, I'm in awe of your productivity! (And I sincerely look forward to reading both ELEGY and your newer projects.) I completely agree about listening to feedback, even if it's something that you don't end up changing. I always at least consider others' suggestions and make myself think about *why* they suggested it, and most of the time, they have a great point.

  6. Julie C. Dao says:

    Kristen: It's John Clare!

    Alex: Thank you so much! Yes, every suggestion has some nugget in it, I think.

    Tiana: Thank you! LOL <3 More like candy-fueled frenzy…

    Connie: Thanks so much, friend! <3

    Shelley: Thank you, my dear! Yeah, totally, it's important to understand why people make the suggestions they do, at the very least!

Julie C. Dao