Now that NaNoWriMo is over (did I mention that as a winner, winner, I was the recipient of the coveted “chicken dinner” award?  Mmmm!), I’ve been decompressing a bit.  Taking it easy.  Okay, I haven’t been taking it that easy.  After all, I’m still juggling several books I’d like unleash upon the world in 2013.

So, what have I been up to, other than not updating my blog?  Well, I’m glad you asked.

Working on Together Alone

As of this writing, I am 57% done with the rough draft for Together Alone, the third book in the Only Human on the Block series.  I stopped work on it mid-October in preparation of NaNo, but I’m back into the swing of things.  Fortunately, the book was already finished four years ago (has it really been that long?), so hammering out the rough draft should go pretty quick.  I’m a little concerned/surprised because the 57% mark is roughly 54K words in, meaning this is going to be the biggest book in the series by far (if I remember correctly, The Four-Year-Old Guardian was approximately 63K words and Bravado/Dramatique was 80K+).  I suppose it stands to reason, as book four, The Blood Contract, was on track to surpass Together Alone when I stopped working on it a few years back.  My hope is to finish the rough draft of Together Alone by the end of December so I can refocus on finishing The Shadow Within shortly thereafter.

Playing The Game

I don’t think I’ve made it much of a secret I’m an avid game player (special shout-out to my PS3…love you!), but my hectic writing schedule has kept me from my beloved hobby for a time.  Well, no longer.  Instead of writing in the morning, I’ve been taking the opportunity to catch up on some games I’ve been meaning to get back to.  More specifically, I’ve been playing [PROTOTYPE].  I’ve had this game for quite some time, but it got put aside as I waded through my backlog.  I picked it up again because the feel of it reminded me a bit of where I’m headed in World of Shadows (or, perhaps, book four if I decide to split it into two books).  I often find myself gravitating toward a game that lets me play as a character similar to one in my books, as it scratches my two favorite itches: I get to play while thinking over where my stories are headed.  In some cases, it helps me develop my characters even more, as I filter what they would do through the situations the game presents.  While [PROTOTYPE] is hardly a spot-on template for where the series is headed (it’s a pretty extreme, disgusting game, TBH), there definitely elements of it that remind me of one my character’s story arcs.  And that’s about as much of a spoiler as I’ll give you for book three. 🙂

Getting Epic

I’m a huge fan of music (I know my Music That Inspires Me is pretty anemic right now, but that’s only because it takes me a while to provide reviews) and often use it to paint the landscapes in my mind for where my books take place.  The right song can instantly get my creative juices flowing, helping me to live and breathe a moment before I get the opportunity to put it into words.  While I love a diverse variety of genres, I’ve recently discovered one that suits me perfectly: trailer music.

No, no, not that kind of trailer.  Trailer, as in the advertisement for a movie.  If you ever close your eyes and focus on that epic score in the background, that’s the music I’m talking about.  There are a good variety of artists who have recently made their music public, but one of the premier groups is Two Steps From Hell.  I had the opportunity to download one of their albums (which also came with the arduous task of picking only one to start off with) and I chose Archangel.  I couldn’t be happier with the selection.  Each song instantly brings me to a different place in my books, making me mentally write even when I’m not in a position to do so.  Lately, I’ve used the music to start putting some polish on Afterlife (title tentative), the fifth and final book in the Only Human on the Block series.  There are some big moments in that book, as one would expect in a series finisher, and this album encapsulates the emotions I feel toward those scenes perfectly.  Having felt through the book in this way will make it go all the quicker when it comes time to finally write it (next year, I hope).

Playing The Game II

Okay, so this one I haven’t been doing yet, but I plan to.  I recently picked up Rocksmith for my PS3 and I intend to spend some of my free time on it.  It’s similar in design to other guitar games, except this one actually lets you use a real guitar.  What a concept, I know.  It comes with a special cable to plug your guitar into your console and it’s supposed to be a good learning tool.  Little known fact: I played in a band in my college days.  It was something we did for fun, with no intention of trying to make it big (at least, that’s how I felt.  I suppose I shouldn’t speak for the other members).  I generally played the drums, but if we were playing one of my songs, I played the guitar.  So while it’s no like I’ve never picked the instrument up and strummed a few chords, I’ve also never received any kind of training.  It’s been years since I played, and I thought this would be a good way to get back into it.  What does this have to do with writing?  Um…maybe if I get good enough, I can compose my own music for my book trailers?  Okay, maybe nothing, but if it helps me vent some steam and readjust my mind to get back to the words in my head, I’m all for it.

So, that’s a small sample of what I’ve been up to the last eight days in lieu of throwing myself at NaNo.  Since I started mid-October with The Shadow Within and segued directly into World of Shadows, it seems like it was an exceptionally long NaNo season for me.  Still, I think I’m on the right path, balancing my work with my play time.  And most importantly, I’m excited about what I’m working on.  I really do think I can finish the rough draft of Together Alone by the end of the year, which leaves the first quarter of 2013 to work on rewrites and edits.  2012 wasn’t a high production year for me, with only Bravado/Dramatique being published, but it was a learning year for me.  I got all four of my books in print and streamlined the process a bit for myself.  I also met some amazing people and put a lot of effort into improving this blog.

If all goes well, 2013 will be a banner year, with at least three books being published (four if I can whip out The Blood Contract…I’d better start looking for the notebook I wrote it in).  And hopefully, after I get the Unseen Things series (see, I didn’t call it a trilogy) out of the way, I can start working on an all-new series, because there are several characters who have been waiting to meet you for a very long time.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s