Pen, Persistence, and Piano Wire: A Novelist's Tale

Navigating the creative process through life's interruptions

Daily Writing Routine

Writing method: (Computer)

Today's writing session was spread out over several hours.

I got around 400 words down, before my day kicked off.

Physical and Professional Commitments

I did a 5-mile run in the morning heat (need to leave an hour earlier), then had a long, very fruitful, meeting.

After that, it was website maintenance for an hour or so. This is one of my most hated tasks. It always takes about an hour more than I think it will.

Unexpected Delays

By the time I finished, it was already around 1300 and I still had an errand to run.

And I was very hungry. There goes the next hour and a half.

Lunch. Lost in the Japanese grocery store looking for a very specific item I never buy (coconut milk).

A few pages of "House of Leaves." Then finally able to sit down to write around 1500.

Reflections on Writing Schedule

I try and avoid long breaks in between writing sessions, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

Even with the busy day, I'm happy with how today's chapter came out.

Crafting the Macabre

Conjuring up a devious form of torment for Lily's slightsoul state was an easy job.

Describing it was more difficult. After all, creating a visual picture of a thread weaving between internal organs sewing them together like a doll isn't an everyday thing.

Did you wince when reading that?

I did while writing it.

It's no ordinary string either. It's metallic and scrapy, like a guitar string or piano wire.

The language really sold the pain in this one. Of course, Lily's internal state is raw, while still being her cool self (but more vocal and visual than usual).

Unexpected Sources of Inspiration

What inspired this torture?

It was today's random page read―an exercise from a music book called Fundamentals of Musical Composition by Arnold Schoenberg.

When I flipped to the page, there were no words.

Only a musical staff with black notes and a key signature I couldn't recognize.

ChatGPT to the rescue.

It determined the key to be in C-Minor and discussed what Schoenberg was going on about.

The details weren't very interesting. But one word leapt out from the LLM explanation.


I had never heard of it before. But the concept sounded neat.

You can read more about it here.

And I just liked the sound of the word. *Elision. * (Say it! You'll love it, too.)

Weaving Inspiration into the Narrative

That put music on my mind.

So that became a big part of Lily's inner world (which was previously unexplored before this chapter.)

In addition to music, I showed Lily's theater-quality imagination live and in-motion here. The perspective fit. Especially, considering her dire circumstances, since she has every reason to want to escape to somewhere (anywhere) that's not where she is.

Character Psychology and Development

I imagine many who are outwardly cynical or are greatly frustrated by their bodies and minds often retreat to elaborate worlds and fantasies of their own construction.

There, they, call the shots, get the guy or girl, are rich, beautiful, and freeーno limits.

We see Lily go to her "happy place" in this chapter. And by the end, she's already gone through a significant transformation.

Though her body is bound by a thorny thread of fate, her mind is untethered and free. That's the lesson.

Sometimes hellish circumstances is all it takes to remind you no prisonーno matter how firmly sealedーis high, deep, or dark enough to contain the human spirit.

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