The House of Elyot

Notes For Writing

Posted on: April 20, 2011

Today’s guest is having quite a week – J S Wayne is juggling Noble Author Blog Tour posting with promoting his new release, Angels Would Fall, which came out on Monday, so I’m very pleased he was able to take some time out to chat with me about how music fits into his writing life. Thanks for coming, J S!

My father is, among his many other talents, a professional musician. To be more specific, he plays the piano. Through nearly my entire childhood, he augmented his salary as the manager of a piano store with paying gigs playing alongside a percussionist and a brass player as part of a trio. I used to needle my father about having OCD with regards to his playing and practicing. I didn’t appreciate the immense amount of time and study it took him to become as good as he is, and I didn’t understand the practice he had to devote to keep his skills sharp. But I do now.
They were reasonably successful on the local scale, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights he would load up and head off for the ninety-mile round trip to Central City, South Dakota from Rapid City. The rest of the week it was a good thing he worked in a music store, because it afforded him a great deal of practice time he might not otherwise have had.
Because of his and my mother’s musical tastes, I grew up exposed to a very broad range of musical styles and forms. It’s because of that inoculation from a young age that my own musical tastes are as diverse as they are.
Today, music is very important to me in every facet of my life. My writing, particularly, demonstrates this influence. Those who are closest to me have a pretty good idea of what I’ve been listening to based on the work I turn out. I roam a vast spectrum of music, from the bleeding-edge Top 40 radio hits to classical, from movie soundtracks to songs that haven’t had airplay on any serious level since 1976.
As just about every writer does, I have my own set ritual for getting ready to write. This invariably consists of the following steps:
1) Ensure the presence of caffeine in dosages that would kill a small child, typically in the form of Mountain Dew. If I have Stok creamers to lace it with (look it up), all the better.
2) Verify that I have a clean ashtray, cigarettes, and a lighter that actually works. There is very little that I find more irritating than being in the middle of a scene that’s flowing well and then having to stop because I haven’t had a cigarette in three hours and the fourteenth typo in three seconds makes me want to hurl my laptop through the (closed) window.
3) Assemble a writing mix. This is the most delicate part, to my way of thinking. The wrong song at the wrong time could blow the entire mood of the piece, depending on what I’m trying to convey at the time. Having Insane Clown Posse’s “Hokus Pokus” or Disturbed’s “Down With the Sickness” showing up in the middle of the XXX-rated love scene I’m about to delve into could be just as disastrous as Paula Cole’s “Feeling Love” or Melissa Etheridge’s “Angels Would Fall” wandering into the middle of a blood-soaked vampiric rampage. I have to really think about this part. Mark Twain said: “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” This is no different; the music rules the mood of my writing.
4) Listen to my “blanking” song. This is the melody that effectively makes my mind a suitable palette for writing. I have several different versions of it, ranging from two and a half minutes all the way up to a nearly fourteen-minute megamix of my own creation, depending on my mood, how much chill I need, and what I’m trying to do. The song? “Unicron’s Medley,” off the 1986 animated Transformers movie soundtrack. The fourteen-minute version also incorporates other tracks from the score by the amazing Vince DiCola. (And good luck finding it anywhere but on my MP3 player, because it ain’t gonna happen.)
5) Sit down, shut up, and do the damn writing.
Since I’m sure someone’s going to ask, some of the perennials on my writing list, in no particular order, are AC/DC, Montgomery Gentry, Insane Clown Posse, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Belinda Carlisle, TATU, Garbage, Juice Newton, Melissa Etheridge, Duran Duran, Tina Turner, Disturbed, Vanessa Williams, Metallica, Paula Cole, and ZZ Top. These are the artists who inspire me to produce the writing I do, at its top level and peak form.
But it all comes back, ultimately, to a guy who has sat at a different kind of keyboard and hammered those keys for over fifty years. The naysayers, the good deals that never quite materialized, and chasing the dream: He’s been there, done that, and has every iteration of the T-shirt and matching coffee cup ever produced to prove it. If you see him, he goes by Wayne. If you’re lucky enough to watch him tickle the ivories, you’re in for a real treat; you’re witnessing a master at work.
To me? He’s Dad.
I want to give a huge thank-you to the incomparable Justine Elyot, for allowing me to be here and spend the time. It’s been fun, y’all!

Until next time,


J.S. Wayne

Cheers, J S – and thanks! Now, I know you’re going to want to know more about his new release, so here is the cover and some details.

Take one more, ferry her along. Soulbearer Moradiel recounts his duties while collecting his latest assignment, nurse Ariel. Tragic accident–seems simple. But in the RN’s final moments asleep at the wheel of her speeding car, stirrings grip Moradiel’s angelic heart. Stirrings so forbidden that to simply give voice to them is to risk expulsion from his Heavenly abode.

Out of time and faced with the most difficult decision in his eternal existence, Moradiel finds himself torn between saving the only woman he’s ever loved or throwing the balance between Heaven and Hell into chaos. Duty or desire? Moradiel must choose . . .

Another way to sample J S’ writing is to read his story in the Blog Tour anthology, Red Roses and Shattered Glass – Espiritu Sancti is powerful f/f gothic horror – find out more details here.

Well, it only remains for you to comment, then skip away into the verdant fields of Indigo Skye’s blog, where you will find the fabulous H C Brown. Press that button!

13 Responses to "Notes For Writing"

I have my grubby mitts on both of those books and can’t wait to read them! Great post πŸ™‚

lucy (at) lucyfelthouse (dot) co (dot) uk

Thanks, Lucy…I couldn’t ask for a better compliment than that!

Looking forward to reading..thank you for sharing!!

I really hope you enjoy it, and thank YOU for being here today! πŸ™‚

Making a note of this one, sounds like a great read. Thanks for blurb.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

If you like “Angels,” there’s a lot more to come. Thanks for coming by, Jean!

Ah, I really enjoyed reading this. You’re comment about a non-working lighter made me smile…and say, “I hear ya, Brother!”

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

ROFLMAO…Nothing inspires homicidal mania in me quite like having a cigarette and no way to light it! Glad you had fun! πŸ˜€

I just read Angels Will Fall today. It’s a great story. I loved what Moradiel did with his wings. I won’t say it here because it’s a spoiler. Thanks for participating in the contest.

:”> thanks, Jen…I’m really happy that you liked it!
(They don’t have a proper blush emoticon on here. Yammit.)

I have to agree about music. I find the best stories in a song πŸ™‚

I don’t smoke but clearly I need to find something to keep me from smashing my laptop with a baseball bat. Great interview.

Thanks for the great interview and your writing rituals. I love hearing about how different writers get themselves together to do their work.

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