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Friday, August 09, 2013

Music to My Ears and an Excerpt of Something New

I used to listen to music while tapping away at the keyboard, and I know a lot of writers have to have the tunes pumping, but I think I've come to the realisation that I'm one of the minority that needs silence to get my words out. I admit I'm easily distracted, and sometimes it depends on what mood I'm in. I find I can write perfectly well with the TV on and my hubby in his chair next to me. I think after having two kids I've mastered the ability to block out the drone of talking voices. (I won't be running for Mother of the Year any time soon!)

When it comes to music though, I get swept up in the melody or beat, the meaning of the lyrics, and bam! I'm distracted. Leave me alone in the house with my laptop and I prefer silence. I'm not sure why because I'm a complete music nut.

I'm even struggling to write this now because I actually have the iPod playing for once.

The way I feel about music is something I can't really explain very well. I love how a song can evoke so much emotion, whether it's happiness or deep sorrow. I get lost in songs just as much as I do when I'm reading a really good book. I find music very inspirational, and one song can spark so many story ideas my mind gets so full that I feel like I'm about to burst.

But I struggle to write and listen at the same time. Maybe my hubby is right and I really can't do two things at once!

Recently I discovered Imagine Dragons. And how appropriate is their name? As a writer, my imagination is constantly in overdrive, and who doesn't love dragons? They are now officially my new favourite band because of this:

About a month ago I had a dream that was so vivid I had to get up in the middle of the night to write it down. I'd heard Radioactive on the radio numerous times, but it wasn't until after this dream that it sparked an awesome story idea, one I've been totally itching to write but I've got so much on already that I have to wait. Every day since I had that dream I think about this story. You know that feeling when you're dying to go to the bathroom, but there's no bathroom in sight so you have to hold it? That's what having this story in my head is like. I got to the point where I had to relieve myself and just write. The first couple of chapters poured out, and I wanted to share the first one with you. It's a sci-fi sort of dystopian story, and is still very rough, and it will probably change when I'm ready to finish writing this, but I hope you enjoy.

So, even though I've finally figured out I write better when it's quiet, music is still a very important part of my writing process. I'd love to know how music affects your writing.

K x

Current Untitled Project - Chapter 1
I was awake the entire time. You’d think if you were about to have a big, metal disc implanted into your chest, they’d at least knock you out first. Doctors and nurses in bio-hazard suits hovered around me. I couldn’t really see their faces because they wore masks, which was probably a good thing; I wanted to punch every single one of them. They knew I could have taken them down. Why else would I be strapped to the table with no less than six straps? I clenched my fists and pulled at my restraints for the thousandth time, but they wouldn’t budge. All I succeeded in doing was bruising my windpipe with the strap across my neck. I wasn’t getting out of this one in a hurry.

“She’s feisty,” a female voice said. She was the only one not in a suit. Maybe she thought she was invincible. Apparently I was, since I didn’t have a suit either. She looked at me over the top of her black rimmed glasses. “She’ll make for good entertainment.”

I glared at her and she smiled smugly.

“You’re all sick,” I said through clenched teeth.

The woman leant closer to me. “Just relax, sweetie. This will be over before you know it.”

I spat in her face.

She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket and wiped my spit away, along with her smug smile. She noted something on the clipboard in her hand then spoke to one of the other doctors. “Make sure she feels pain.” She turned on her heels and left through the double swinging doors.

A male voice chuckled. “You picked the wrong woman to mess with,” he said. He came to the side of the operating table and peered down at me.

“She called me sweetie. I suggest you don’t make the same mistake.”

“You think you’re tough now, Electra—” a nurse handed him a syringe, and malevolence flashed through his eyes, “—but once you’re out there, you’ll wish you were dead within the first five minutes.”

I was one up on him. I’d already wished I was dead—several times.

The other girls in the facility had told me the horror stories of their implantations, and all of them were frightening. The doctor gripped the syringe with the needle pointing down. It wasn’t just a little, pointy needle that would give you a tiny prick. This was huge. I could have fit my pinkie in the end of the shaft. The nurse gripped my head with both hands; her rubber gloves pulled my hair. I didn’t fight her, what was the point? I was strapped to a metal table—shaking my head around was only going to delay the inevitable. The doctor parted my gown, exposing my bare chest, and then raised his arm. I stared him right in the eyes. If he thought I was going to cave and look away, if he thought I was going to scream, he had another thing coming.

I didn’t just think I was tough; I knew it.

“Before Mr Pointy becomes intimately acquainted with my insides, won’t you at least tell me your name?” I asked.

“It’s Dr Quinn. Most of the other girls are too terrified to ask,” he said.

“You don’t scare me.”

“Don’t speak too soon.”

Dr Quinn’s arm swung down and the needle slammed into my sternum. The reason it was so big was because it had to get past the bone. My back arched and my eyes rolled up into my head. I fought the urge to pass out; I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. My teeth clashed together when my body fell back to the table and blood welled in my mouth where I’d bitten my tongue. I looked down at the needle sticking out of my chest. Dr Quinn pushed the plunger and the sickly, blue liquid flooded into me. It was like ice. The cold flowed across my chest, down my arms and legs, and up into my head, wrapping itself around my nervous system. Within minutes I was completely numb.

“There you go,” the nurse said, stroking my hair. “Feel better?”

“One day, you’ll all pay for this.”

“Now, now … sweetie,” Dr Quinn said. He mocked me with a half-grin. “We’re not done yet. It’s a bit early to start planning our demise. When I’m finished with you, you’ll be on your knees begging for mercy.”

“If you think I’ll be begging for anything, you’re delusional.”

He laughed. “Just hold still.”

“Very funny, you know I can’t move.”

“Yes, but that’s my favourite line.” Dr Quinn wrapped one hand around the syringe and placed the other on my chest. “This will hurt.” His grin was sickening.

Slowly, he pulled the syringe out, and he hadn’t been lying. Every millimetre of movement was more painful than the last. I clenched my teeth, and my eyes watered, but I refused to scream or shed a tear in front of him. The needle finally emerged from my body and my chest was on fire with pain. Blue fibres like tentacles shot from my wound as if they were searching for something to latch onto. The numbness was wearing off, and the blue liquid inside me tightened around my nerves.

The nurse let go of my head and brought over a metal disc made from titanium. I’d seen these discs every day for the past two years. They were embedded into the chests of some of my closest friends. The disc was about the size of a bread and butter plate and had two parts. The base was solid; the top was shaped like the radiation symbol and moved around on top of the base. Dr Quinn took the disc from the nurse. He gripped the edges and held it over my fancy new tentacles. The fibres of liquid reached up and latched onto the disc, inserting themselves into holes on the underside. Dr Quinn let go, and the piece of metal slammed into my chest.

This time I couldn’t stop the screams.

© K. A. Last 2013


  1. I Love this song too, but I have to have music playing ALL of the time. I actually create playlists for a book before I even read it...

    1. I love book playlists. I created mine for Fall For Me as I went along and I listen to it all the time!

  2. Music is playing such a huge part in my writing process! My characters basically have theme songs and it will reflect on my playlist for my book. My chapters are song titles too. I absolutely love that song too! I can listen to a song and write for a paragraph or two then I have to turn it off. Writing tis book is amazing to me everyday. I feel lost sometimes as far as what the rules are for paragraphs and how long a chapter should be. I've been wondering a lot about word count too. All these things don't matter when my teenagers read it and say, "Oh my God mom! Keep going! I need to know what happens next!"
    That's the best feeling for me! I really never thought I'd be doing this but I am definitely having a blast!
    I cannot wait until you get to tackle the new Untitled Dystopian project!

    1. Don't worry about the rules, that can all be fixed later. The main thing is to write and get the story out. I'm looking forward to reading more of your work :-)


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