Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Adding Harmony

I'm an edit-as-I-go writer. That's good in some ways. My first drafts are nice and I don't mind sharing them with people (helpful when I hook sisters or friends on an unfinished story - I can type into the night and email the next scene to them in the morning). I write chronologically, so I can build on the details from previous scenes without worrying if I'll change it later.

My second drafts look very similar to my first. I correct the typos others have found, smooth the wording in a few spots, and double-check historical details. Basically, it's the same, unless I'm writing a review and need to tighten the word count. Condensing my writing has gradually become easier for me - I don't even think about it much as I do it. And I'm getting better at guessing the 100 word mark.

Adding more words still looms as an unconquerable dragon, though. On piano, I love to pick out melodies of songs I've heard. Movies, mostly. Many years ago I figured out the theme music from the old Narnia movies and drove my siblings nuts as they tried to guess the "mystery song". It was pretty and simple. Then I added the chords, and the song suddenly changed. It became richer, almost more mature.

That's what I'm trying to do with my writing now. It's pretty - pretty simple - and way too short. Barebones dialog, action, gestures, and thoughts. A nice one-finger tune (think Schroeder and Jingle Bells in a Charlie Brown Christmas - "plink plink plink, plink plink plink, plink plink pling plong plink"), but who wants to immerse themselves in that?

So now I'm adding the harmony to my book, and it's harder than I thought. I scorn needless description, but it's definitely needed in my writing. Once I pencil in the basic chords, it should be okay. I can work from there. Maybe add a few bridges to vary the tempo. Or an intertwined tune for another instrument. I'm not sure. But that's the beauty of writing.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Romance, Jewels, and Italian-Style Crime

My family watched The Italian Job last night, at my brother's recommendation. Cool movie. Loved it. I enjoy movies with lots of neat gadgets and inventive heroes. I got a book several months ago for my birthday (The Jewel in the Crown) which promised the same thing, but I never got caught up in the emotions of trying to catch the double-crosser. Maybe The Italian Job gripped me more because more was at stake and more was lost.

In The Jewel in the Crown, the group of various experts were trying to salvage their security company by breaking through the Tower of London defenses and stealing the Queen Mother's crown (proving that their company was needed). Then the guy from the Scotland Yard who hired them makes off with the loot, and they have to get it back while being chased by police.

In The Italian Job, it wasn't a near stranger who stole from them, it was someone they'd worked with for a while who stole the gold, killed their head guy, and left the rest for dead (my apologies to anyone who hasn't watched the movie - but that's only the kick-off event). Or maybe I just liked the underplayed romance in The Italian Job, while the book had opportunities for hints of romance and completely ignored them. Oh, well, guess I shouldn't expect too much from a male author (sorry, guys, but I don't see any of you writing for Love Inspired or Heartsong Presents).