Monthly Archives: January 2012

Music Mondays #3

Back again!  This will be a regular thing now, since I don’t plan on having surgery again anytime soon.

The previous ones have been of the indie rock persuasion, mostly, so something a little different–and heavier!–today.  I love this stuff, probably for the reason detailed in Saturday’s post.  If weird electro-industrial/EBM/Darkwave aren’t your thing (read: if you have no idea what at least two of those things mean) please feel free to back slowly away from the crazy writer-lady.

Spark – Assemblage 23
Künstliche Welten – Wolfsheim
Light – KMFDM
Kiss – London After Midnight
Call the Ships to Port – Covenant
Panzermensch – And One
Standing – VNV Nation
Poltergeist – Hocico
Mindphaser – Front Line Assembly
Sin – Nine Inch Nails

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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


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All I need to know about my book, I learned from TV

Okay, that’s not really true, but I did learn something fun about it–in particular the process of writing it–from watching Criminal Minds.  I LOVE Criminal Minds; it’s practically the only show I watch with any kind of regularity.  I’d love it even if it didn’t have Dr. Spencer Reid.*  Most of what you see on TV isn’t true, sure, but I’m giving the benefit of the doubt in this case because it was Reid who said it and, as a character notable for his brilliance, he’s more believable if the scriptwriters give him facts to work with.

Anyway, I won’t spoil this week’s episode for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but at one point Reid, JJ, and Morgan are discussing music and Reid tells them that, neurologically speaking, we solidify our appreciation of music at age fourteen.  Our tastes might grow, change, expand, but no music will ever have the same effect on our brains as what we listened to at that specific time in our lives.

*light bulb moment*

A LOT of music has come out since I was fourteen.  It was…a while ago.  (BRB, going to eat a cookie and cry into my wrinkles.  …  …  OK, I’m back.)  When I was writing CODA, though, a significant percentage of the music I listened to and that made it onto the book’s soundtrack were songs I learned and loved, yes, the year I was fourteen.  My first mental images of my protagonist in a club had him dancing to that music.  Some of the songs–hell, maybe all of them–might not be the most shining examples of their kind, but I have such powerful associations with them that they were automatic go-tos when I needed to evoke a specific feeling in myself and pour it onto the page.

So, that’s really interesting to me, and made me wonder if I would’ve written the book differently if I’d known about the age thing.  I think it’s actually possible there’s one small aspect I would have changed.

All through the writing process the book surprised me, marching off in the opposite direction to what I intended, changing and growing and presenting themes and ideas I hadn’t considered.

It’s sort of cool to know that eight months later, it still can.


*Admittedly, not nearly as much.  He’s delicious.


Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Smashing glass

Oh, how I wish I could remember where I read this, because it’s maybe the best practical, really specific writing advice I’ve ever read.  If anyone out there knows where this came from, PLEASE tell me.  If by some miracle of the interwebz the person who wrote it sees this, please let me know.  I want to credit you, and possibly kiss you if you’re into that kind of thing.

Maybe a year ago I was mooching around online, link hopping through various blogs and writing sites.  I came across a thing on backstory that has stuck with me since and which I’m conscious of every time I sit down with my beloved Scrivener.

I’m haunted by the dreaded infodump, where you cram a whole book’s worth of worldbuilding into a few clumsy pages of narrative, but it’s hard to think of how to avoid it.  This thing I read (WILD paraphrasing to follow) said to picture my backstory as a sheet of glass.  It’s the window into the world I’m creating.  Now, take that sheet of glass and smash it over my manuscript.  Let shards litter the pages from beginning to end.  Break up any big chunks that remain.

I became so enamored with this way of looking at it while writing CODA that on many occasions, a close friend would gchat me to ask how things were going and I’d say, “Oh, you know, just smashing the glass.”  Code for, “Please, writing gods, do not let me shove the CODA-verse down readers’ throats in undigestible lumps.”

I hope I haven’t.  I hope I never do, in any world I create.

To add my own thoughts to this, sometimes the glass will be stained, a prism of color.  Sometimes it’ll have ripples, or bubbles, or be thicker at the bottom than the top.  (A phenomenon that occurs in very, very old windows, from back when glassmaking techniques were different.  This may be getting too technical.  I’m nothing if not skilled at stretching a metaphor far beyond reasonable limits.)  Anyway, it’s my world.  Its backstory will be uniquely my own, with idiosyncrasies only I could come up with.

Just smash it up.  And if I can’t, if there’s a place where it’s truly necessary to have a big, unbroken sheet, Windex the hell out of it.

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Books I’m reading…or not.

I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who needs to steer clear of certain kinds of book while writing.  During the CODA process, I had to give up sci-fi completely, and even a lot of other kinds of fiction written by people whose style stuck in my head too easily.  I wound up reading a lot of non-fiction, especially biographies and travel memoirs, and re-reading a lot of Terry Pratchett.  (I love the Discworld books, but the style was never going to infect me.  I’m totally incapable of bringing that level of funny.)  I celebrated finishing CODA by reading John M. Cusick’s excellent GIRL PARTS.*

Now, I’m writing two books at the same time.  One is a kind of companion novel to CODA, so all of the above still applies.  The other one means that I can’t re-read any of the fantasy series I love so much.  Including Narnia and Harry Potter.  My soul is crying.  If that’s not incentive to finish the book, I don’t know what is.

What I am/have been reading recently:  A lot of contemporary YA, in particular John Green’s amazing THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. (I don’t really need to link that, do I?  You all have a copy?  Good.)  Also, all the Bill Bryson travel memoirs I haven’t read yet (there aren’t many on that list), THE MASTER AND MARGARITA again to see if I understand more of what the hell is going on the second time around, and a few reference books on plot and style I dip in and out of.

It’s important to know and ready widely in your genre, but equally important to let yourself fall behind on that reading while you write.  You know, YOUR book.  The one that’s nothing like anyone else’s.  You can always catch up.

Mostly, though, I’m writing another book I want to read.

*And with a bottle of Bombay Sapphire.  The author made up a drinking game for me based on the book.  HA!

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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Today feels a little surreal

Yesterday was such an exciting day in so many ways because I got to share my news and countless lovely people – both friends and people I hope will become friends – joined in as I celebrated on Twitter, on here, and even in the chat box of a Words with Friends game.  It took me forever to calm down enough to sleep.

It was weird waking up today to the knowledge that people know now, and I’m officially on the debut author track.  I keep getting little reminders of this, like the notice Mer sent me of my book in Publisher’s Marketplace, or the “coda by emma trevayne” search terms that popped up in my blog stats.  No one’s ever googled that before.

I’ve been saying for about six weeks that there were certain milestones that would make this start feeling real to me.  Human nature, I think, dictates that we’re always a little unwilling to believe when a dream comes true.  I hit about six of those markers yesterday, so I guess now I have to take a deep breath and accept this is actually happening.

As I mentioned in my announcement post, there are so many things I’m looking forward to in the coming year.  Cover art is a big one.  Finally sharing the all-important CODA playlist is another.  There’ll be the day my MS is accepted as final, when I read through the copyedits, hopefully some foreign rights sales…the list goes on.

The two at the top of the list are related, though they’ll be separated by many months.  I can’t wait to dive into edits, because I really want this to be the best book it can be come launch day.

Basically, this entire post is one big excuse to use this:

Bring it, 2012.  I’m so excited.  
And in the meantime, I’m going shopping.  I’m a huge advocate of marking my writing successes with rewards (some of you know about the incredible shoes I bought when I signed with Mer) and there’s a pair of headphones I’ve been promising myself for this moment since last summer.  As I said to Lisa the Excellent Editor yesterday, I can’t figure out whether that’s fitting or ironic, but that’s a joke the rest of you will get when you read CODA. 


Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized




It’s been an age since I last blogged, I know, and there’s actually kind of a good reason for that.  Adventure!  Intrigue!  I had to have surgery!*  By the time I was back into the swing of things and feeling up to blogging again, everything I could’ve posted about paled in comparison to the information I’ve been sitting on since just before Christmas.


Offers, it seems, can sometimes be a little like buses.  You wait and you wait and then a couple come along at the same time.  After a crazy week in mid-December, SuperAgent Meredith** and I agreed to a deal with Running Press Kids, a division of Perseus Books, and my new editor, Lisa Cheng.  (‘My editor’ is going to take as much getting used to as ‘my agent’ – in other words, I might never get used to it.)  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be working with her, or that this book I’ve loved, slaved over, occasionally hated, stayed up all night for, gnashed my teeth at, and was finally so proud of is going to see the light of day.  Every character I’ve ever written or will write is close to my heart, but the ones in this book live inside it, drinking coffee, playing their music too loud (<—whatever this means), putting their feet up on the furniture and refusing to clean their rooms.

From the little I’ve shared here, you might know it’s science fiction, or that it’s about music.  It has a male protagonist whose appearance in my head (and subsequent hostile takeover of same) is really what started the whole thing off.  There’s a love story, but it’s not a romance.  There’s valid science and extrapolations of current science and things I invented at three a.m., high on caffeine and sleep deprivations.  There are parts I struggled to write and ones where I didn’t stop writing except to rub my hands together in evil glee.***

At least as things stand now, it’s called CODA and will be released in spring 2013.  Between now and then there will be all kinds of fun.  Editing!  Cover art!  The first time I hold it in my hands, when I will probably bawl and scream and dance around to Animal Collective****  like I did the day I first typed The End.

So many people helped me get here; you know who you are and I hope you know how much I love you.  All my thanks and embarrassing squealing noises and every cupcake I can ever lay my hands on to Mer, who believed in this book from the day she read my query, and to Lisa for loving it, buying it, and turning me into a REAL LIVE AUTHOR WITH A BOOK.

I can’t wait for everything ahead.  AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

Stick around, this is going to be a good year.



*One of these things is true.  I’m totally fine now.

**Now complete with gold lame cape!

***For which at least one of my friends still hasn’t forgiven me.  B, I’M SORRY, OKAY? ❤

****Summertime Clothes, dude.  Oh, yes.


Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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