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on the other hand

December 14, 2009

I have a tendency to second-guess things.

Those of you who have known me for any length of time are probably nodding your heads now, easily able to think of examples.

This can be related to something as simple as what to make for dinner, or what book to read next from my to-be-read pile, to something as seemingly simple complicated as what to wear, when I’ll be out for the day, the weather will change, as will the dressy/casual meter.

(Where is Tim Gunn when I need him?)

You might think it wouldn’t matter, and at the end of the day I would agree with you.  But in my head, at the point I am making those decisions, I can argue myself into quite a state.

It’s not pretty.

And then there are the big things that require decisions: such as my work-in-progress.

I have three beginnings for the book – each strong – set at different times, and each sets a very different tone for the rest of the book.  Which, as you can imagine, changes how the rest of the book gets written.  And re-written.  Arggggghhhh.

Last week, I had something of an epiphany with the voice of my main character, prompted in part by a discussion of voice and song by Jolie Steckley of Cuppa Jolie, at our SCBWI regular programming event for December.

What a revelation!

I’ve already built a playlist for the character, with songs and poetry she would listen to on her iPod, but Jolie helped me go deeper.

I put my character in the songs, looked at why these songs mean so much to her, what she identifies with.  This isn’t just background for her.  She sees herself living these songs.  And there she was… speaking to me, singing to me, turning the music up.

Finally, some progress.  *jazz hands*

Even though I know I can take it too far, all of us second-guess some things. 

The two people in the folloiwng short clip hesitate, leaving the tale somewhat open-ended.  The storytelling is lush and spare – both – revealed almost exclusively through images and music.  Enjoy…

(embedding has been disabled, please click through to enjoy A Thousand Words)

Today, and for the rest of this week, I’ll spend a lot of time listening, writing, trying to get down what my main character is saying to me.  The blog posts will be light, but I do have links to share, so look for those.  And of course, ninjas.


listening to: No Doubt, Don’t Speak

4 Comments leave one →
  1. catherine permalink
    December 15, 2009 1:16 am

    Good work, keep it up! :)

  2. December 26, 2009 11:38 am

    So glad it helped you to go deeper, Jet! I hope she’s still singing to you. :)

  3. Jet permalink*
    December 28, 2009 11:04 am

    Thank you, Catherine. It’s great to know that quiet support is out there, people believing in me, sister-strength. You – with your discipline and focus – have been an inspiration for me.

    Hi, Jolie! The finer points of the voice are a revelation, and I am enjoying the progress. Plus, the workshop was just plain FUN. Who doesn’t love a little PINK in December?


  1. I’m not sure timing is everything. Research might be everything. Or sense of humour. Or chocolate. | scatterbeams

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