Tuesday, January 30, 2007


why I am up at 2 in the morning.
Howling trades.
Giant swells in the harbor.
The 80 ft trawler behind us looks like it will break loose. The platinum skies make it eerily light.
I am rolling side to side even wedged on the settee in my salon.
I woke up to books falling on my head.
And a cat complaining that an open hatch was letting the rain in.
Oh the joys of living aboard a sailboat.
So I show a photo of us at sea.
The good times with the wind at our beam.

2:3O am and 75 degrees. Confused rough seas in the harbor and ORION is wildly straining at her lines.
I cannot sleep and I will pay for it tomorrow.
Or er...today.
A copy editor has been assigned to my novel LOTTERY. I will get the manuscript back in two weeks from Putnam.
This, then is my respite.
My breather.
It is time to revisit my work in progress but I am loathe to leave my characters from LOTTERY. I have become supremely attached to them and they to me. Like intoxicated, affectionate friends at a party.
"Don't go," they say. "We're having such fun," they beg.
I have been unsuccessful at resisting.
Until yesterday.
I must tell you,
How I did it.
Three words.
New. Theme. Music.
I chose new music. Compiled specifically with my new work in mind.
A sort of literary "our song."
New music for new friends.
A new song for a new lover.
And that's as simple as it was to move on.
So how do you do it? What are your tricks so you can move from the old work to the new.
Tell us.
Every bit.
And now.
I think,
I 'll try.
To go back to bed.


Heidi the Hick said...

New theme music! Good idea! I've been listening to a lot of pre-1988 metal because that's what my imaginary people are into, and I need their atmosphere to rewrite them.

I'm still amazed that you actually live on a boat. Is your mood matching the weather? What's that called? Pathetic fallacy? That always sounded dirty to me...

I haven't discovered the trick of moving from the old work to the new. I've finished 4 now and I'm editing/rewriting two at once. I'm too new at this yet to have any strategies. But give me time.

Cassandra Tiensivu said...

I was wondering if anyone else chose "theme music" for their writing. I have boatloads (no pun intended!). I've been collecting soundtracks since I was about ten.

Storms don't sound like fun onboard!!

johnbarlow said...

Hi Patricia
my sympathies for you and your 2am tribulations are tempered by: 1)the fact that you live on a yacht, 2) the yacht is in Hawaii...

How big is youer fridge? I always wanted to know whether people who live on yachts have proper-sized fridges/freezers.

Therese Fowler said...

Hi Pat,

I was watching the weather channel last night and thinking of you!

New theme music's a great idea.

In my case, I feel ready to send SOUVENIR's characters on their way and dive back into the new work. There are only so many times in a row I want to read something, even my own stuff, before giving it some space.

By the time I get the manuscript back from copyediting, I expect I'll be ready to go through it again, and with fresh eyes I hope!

Batten those hatches and enjoy your respite!

Bernita said...

Mine will not let me go yet.
Perhaps not until they are either read or dead.

Holly Kennedy said...

I do the theme music, too. It works great, doesn't it? And isn't it funny how those old characters hang on like velcro?

Just wait, though. Two years from now, someone may ask you about an obscure scene with a secondary or walk-on character in Lottery and you'll... go blank, straining to remember.

It WILL come, but it will take a few mins because you'll then be married to a whole new set of characters acting badly and taking up your time! Such fun this writing life, huh?

Anonymous said...

I go into another world when I write, where I hear nothing, see nothing...My kids know this and don't bother trying to get my attention when I'm seriously writing. I think this is because my writing space has always been in the living space - I've never had a corner of my own to write. So I've learned to shut everything out. The house could probably burn down and I wouldn't know it until the keyboard burst into flames, lol.

It used to take me a while to switch from one set of characters to the next, maybe the reason I have 7 books in my Iskander series, lol. But now I hop jump and skip from one batch to the next. It gets easier.

ORION said...

Aloha and Welcome John.
Yeah I don't get much sympathy when I whine.
To answer your question -- we can fit a contorted body in our fridge or freezer. Our boat was set up for cruising. Of course it is quite temperamental and occasionally has fits, that only $500 paid in small bills surreptitiously to a repairman will ease.
As I sit here now the tropical rainstorm is pattering over my head.
I need more coffee.

Anissa said...

Haven't been able to get rid of them myself, so I'm writing book two. Same characters, but all new problems. Someday this will become a problem...but that day is not today.

I'm excited to see the ideas that come. Music is a great one, by the way. Unfortunately I've discovered that I can't write to music. Maybe if I just play some to get in the right frame of mind. Now that's a thought.

Great topic, Pat!

Ann Collins said...

Hey Pat!

It is 18 degrees and snowing in Indy. Seventy five and the lull of rolling waves sounds nice. I like your musical theme idea. Will have to try it myself. I am following my earth mother's advice--no more re-edits until I write through to the end of the draft.(Hold me to it!)

Hugs to you and Gordon,

Michelle Zink said...

I do the same thing, Pat.

The score from The Village was my theme music for my now-complete Gothic novel.

I'm trying to find a new one for the sequel...

It's funny how hearing that music takes me, immediately, back to that place.

It comes in handy, actually, because if I have to do some more revisions and it's been awhile since I've worked on it, I just have to put the music on and I'm right back there.

LadyBronco said...

I have an Mp3 player with about 5 albums worth of music downloaded onto it - everything from DuranDuran to Justin Timberlake to Tupac to Fleetwood Mac.

I write best with the headphones on, blasting my brain to kingdom come.

Music definitely gets the creative juices flowing! If I am not listening to music while working on my novel, I end up editing it.

LadyBronco said...

Make that 15 albums...

Oy, I need typing lessons!

Mia King said...

Are these trades intense or what? And of course the full moon is on the rise ...

I'd love to learn more about your novel. Do you have a synopsis or excerpt posted anywhere?

A hui ho ...

Kiskadee said...

Two of my novels have "soundtracks". The one now under submission doesn't have a soundtrack, but for some reason I totally connected Bach's Brandenburg Concerto Number 5 to a certain scene. Weird.
In fact, once a new story drops into my mind I am totally there and forget completely about the last one. Sometimes I even mix up scenes from my past novels: "now which book does that scene belong in?" etc.

Patry Francis said...

Your elemental life on the boat sounds like the perfect counterbalance to writing--and the perfect place to dream.

What's the new music?

ORION said...

Mia look under Catalog Copy and you will see a short synopsis (back flap type). I will be posting an excerpt on my website when that is up and running which will be soon...
aruna I have BBC 5 on my new theme music!
Patry - its also got yoyoma, soundtrack from The Piano, TUVA music, and the Eleven Girls Band (from China) and yes being on a boat adds adventure to a writer's life!

Anonymous said...

That would be the Twelve Girls Band, Mrs. Weed, but who's counting?

ORION said...

Leave it to my husband to correct me. 11...12...like he says.
Who's counting?
But they are a terrifically good group.

ORION said...

BTW he calls me Mrs. Weed.
Inside joke.