19 August 2013

Productive Procrastination: Gender-bending Rock Bands

Due to recent, very unfortunate events in my personal life, I've been finding it harder to work on my novels (or at least write as many words as I used to on a daily basis), and it's been more of a challenge than ever to sit down in front of a blank page without thinking about the past.

And since my latest work in progress is about a boy who finds love and a purpose in life through being in a garage rock band (tentatively titled: The Rocket Baby Dolls, or as I like to call it on Twitter, #RockBandNovel), I turned to music for inspiration and hopefully also motivation. But the longer I listened to certain songs that were on my WIP's playlist, the more I wished that certain songs were sung by male artists rather than female so they could better fit my novel (which has a male protagonist as well as a male lead singer in the band within the story). So after a few minutes of wandering about on the Internet, I figured out how to make female singers sound male (without making them sound like complete aliens) using a program called Audacity.

This is what Audacity looks like, opened up.
And yes, this is a screenshot from my computer.
The general rule of thumb, I discovered, is that if you decrease pitch (using the effects in Audacity) by 20%, this makes a female artist sound male (with a little adjusting that could make the final percentage between 17 and 25, depending on the original voice of the individual). Do the opposite (increase pitch by 20%), and you could, theoretically, make a male artist sound female.*

The video below was the end result of my experimentation. I also ended up gender-bending songs by male artists, just to see what they'd sound like. Some songs turned out better than I thought they would, while others didn't really sound that great at all. Please take a listen down below. Featured bands include: The Civil Wars, Metric, The Killers, and more. These are all songs that are in my WIP's playlist, which I will also share on this blog after it's finalized.

Although the experimentation might not be directly related to writing my novel (ie: messing around with people's voices won't get words written on the page), I feel like it's helped a lot in terms of developing its "sound," since one of the challenges I face with this particular manuscript is putting into text what is essentially a very aural world (due to the fact that the readers won't be able to actually hear what the band or any other musical event in the story sounds like.) And the better I develop the "sound" of this novel, the better I will be able to put into words what I hear in my mind. Additionally, like with every WIP, just thinking about the characters and the plot while listening to the different versions of the songs really helped me focus on the ideas I have for this project.

Here's hoping that this inspiration is enough for me to get out of my slump and finish writing.

But in the meantime, I hope you guys found my experimentation to be interesting! If you have any more questions on "gender-bending" music or would like to listen to more of the gender-bended songs in the video (or have requests for another song that you'd like to be gender-bended), please feel free to comment below or send me a tweet! :)

*I say theoretically because I found it much harder to make male artists sound female. I sometimes completely failed no matter how hard I tried (see: Julian Casablancas, the lead singer of the Strokes, in the video above...and the female version of the Smiths was such a catastrophic failure that I didn't even dare include them in this, haha) and had to experiment more with the pitch percentage (which ended up being anything from 15 to 35) on the other songs. It might work better with other artists but the ones I chose were only ok at best (although the Killers ended up sounding surprisingly good.)

13 August 2013

Write on Con is finally here AND DiversifYA!

Hi guys, in case you didn't know about it, Write On Con, the awesome online and totally free kidlit writer's conference, is finally here! YAY! I've posted the query and sample pages of CROWNFALL over at the forums (updating the links because they changed since the last time I posted them) here. I'd really appreciate it if you guys took a look at it and told me what you think. Also, if you're over at WOC, yourself, don't hesitate to say hi! I'm willing to check out your posts too if you want feedback. :)

Another thing: I got interviewed by my fellow YA Misfit, Marieke, over at DiversifYA about being an Asian American writer! (You can check it out here.) This is my first time actually extensively talking about my background and how it relates to writing so I hope it's helpful and gives you an insight on what it's like to be an Asian American (I also give tips on how to write diverse characters in general).

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go back to stalking the forums at Write On Con. Hope to see you there and happy Tuesday! Have a great rest of the week, you lovely people. :)

04 August 2013

That time of year again...Write On Con 2013!

Hi, all, there's still a couple of days until the actual conference starts but I just wanted to let you guys know that I posted the query, 1st 250 words, and 1st 5 pages of CROWNFALL on the forums. I'd appreciate any feedback you may have and feel free to let me know if you've posted on the forums as well! I'll be happy to return the favor. :)

This is my third time attending the conference and as always, I'm excited for the ninjas and other really helpful resources. If you have never been to Write On Con, do check out the info here!

29 July 2013

Back to Writing and the CROWNFALL Playlist!

After taking a several-month long break in which I wrestled with personal things (namely, my thoughts about writing and whether or not I wanted to be a writer), I've finally started writing again just this past month. I admit, it was a very hard battle but I was eventually inspired by not writing to continue writing again. This includes: revisiting my favorite books, reading (stalking) blogs of authors I love such as Veronica Roth and Maggie Stiefvater, and watching old (and new) movies.

These things inspired me for the last couple of months by helping me realize the power of great storytelling and got me excited again about characters/world-building/etc. This also enabled me to find it within myself that yes, I still had stories that I wanted to tell and would never leave me alone when I'm lying in bed at night, stories that would revisit me in my dreams, and stories I wanted to make into reality.

And I decided to continue writing.

So, I'm back, a little behind on everything, yes, but still trekking. I finally finished up revisions for the MS I finished last year and started a new project the day after. The new MS (tentatively called CROWNFALL), is a YA Romantic Thriller, and was actually the one I was thinking about for the entire year but never really worked on it because I didn't know how to start.

But thanks to a nifty software called Write or Die (I credit my good friend Chessie for this), I finally told myself to WRITEWRITEWRITE and it surprisingly got me a beginning that (after a few tweaks) allowed me to not only continue the story but help me put the final pieces to the world of the novel.

I mentioned a few things about the MS earlier in the year but it's changed considerably since then. I started it a week ago and am already about 26 K in.

I'm keeping the details about it a secret (besides the genre) for now but in the meantime, I invite you to listen to the playlist for CROWNFALL below. I hope you enjoy and happy writing!

Crownfall by Lyla Lee on Grooveshark

27 December 2012

I'm baaaack....sort of

Hi, blogosphere, I'm back. Not sure if anyone noticed that I was gone but basically, I wasn't able to blog much in the last few months because the first semester of college was a little more challenging than I expected and whenever I did have time to blog, I blogged over at the YA Misfits blog. (Speaking of which, it's my turn today and I just posted the playlist for my WIP. Come say hi!)

But I also wouldn't be lying if I said that I was sort of intentionally avoiding the blogosphere/Twitter/etc recently. Why? I was sort of burned out. Not because I was over-working myself (although this does happen a lot more frequently than I'd like), but because after some time, it felt like I was falling into the same routine over and over again. Writing a novel, revising and rewriting it, querying it only to find out that my genre is too over-saturated or something like that, waiting on partials/fulls only to get nothing but rejections, starting over with a new novel, etc.

After five years of being in the query trenches, everything just starts looking like the same thing...

Now, I'm not saying that I'm an exception to the norm. I know many other writers who are (or have been) in the same situation as I am and I know this is normal and even the disillusionment/depression is normal and are all just part of the process. But still, there comes a certain point when...I guess what I'm trying to say is that I needed a break. A couple months of not worrying about submissions and revisions and just focusing on schoolwork. I'm still technically on that "break," since I haven't touched my manuscripts since the school year started.

Will I ever go back to writing? Well, yes. It's not that I don't enjoy writing. I've wanted to be a writer ever since I was in fourth grade and it's a dream that I've kept going all throughout my life. But I just needed a break from all the stressors that come with it and just focus on being nothing but a normal college student.

So I guess the most appropriate question is, when I will go back. And the honest answer to that question is: I don't know. A part of me knows that I should just quit complaining and go back to working on my novels, already, but I think I still need a little bit more time before I go through another round of revisions with my previous WIP (Point Blank) and start writing my new one (Hemlock).

A little bit more time of doing nothing but worrying about grades (which come out tomorrow--eek!), watching the movies I've always wanted to watch, and reading the books I've always wanted to read.

And technically, I'm currently forming the plans for my new WIP (which always takes a couple months before I actually start writing), so I guess I am still working on a novel. I'm just taking a really long time to do it.

10 September 2012

Giveaway Winner!

Hi, guys, this is just a short post to announce that random.org selected STACEY TROMBLEY as the winner for my query and first-5-page critique giveaway! Yay, Stacey!

Stacey, please email me your query and first five pages to: naseoullee(at)gmail.com. I will get them back to you by the end of this week.

Thank you to all of you who participated in this giveaway as well as the other ones for our YA Misfits blog launch! Good luck on all the other giveaways and don't forget to check our blog for some more awesomeness! I hope everyone has a great week! :)

04 September 2012

YA Misfits Blog Launch Giveaway!

YAY! It's finally the day that we've all been waiting for...the launch day for the YA MISFITS!

In honor of our launch, we're giving out lots of prizes such as critiques, books, and a kindle. For my part of the giveaway, I'm giving out a first five pages and query critique. 

In case you were wondering why you'd want a critique from me, I'll give you some information about myself. Although I don't have an agent yet, I've been around in the publishing world for more than four years, critiquing people's manuscripts, queries, and pitches. I am also a teen, which means I can provide insight on what a teen might think while also providing info on the things I learned while stalking literary agents, attending writer conferences, etc.

To enter mine, all you have to do is comment below with your favorite YA novel. I will accept entries until midnight on Friday, September 7. Don't forget to leave me your email/twitter handle so I can contact you if you win.

To enter the other giveaways (we're having a total of thirteen different giveaways!), come visit our blog! :D Hope to see you there!


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