Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Layering and Rewrites

I barely know what Skyrim is. But I do know that this music video of the Skyrim theme is AMAZING! 
At the beginning, it states "Everything you hear on this track was created by 
One Voice, One Violin,120 Tracks".

Wow! Do you know how long it takes to create one track of music?
I know sometimes I get OCD on a favorite song and I play it for about 120 times but...
Singing through a song about a hundred times and learning all the different harmonies. 
This takes some serious work! 
Then, they went and made costumes and filmed it and choreographed fights and everything!
As my kids would say, "Whoa!"

This is a high class, well done piece of music and videography.
All that work shows in the quality of the end product.
It was worth the effort.
The work paid off.

Now to work in the writing angle. (You knew I would.)  
I am on my seventh major rewrite of the beginning of my novel. I was staring at it near midnight last night and wondering, "When will I know its good enough?"
See, I don't consider myself a writer. I did well enough in English class in high school and college. But nobody said, "You should consider writing." 
No, they said that to my sister. And its true. She is a great writer. 

I am a storyteller. The writing is secondary to the story. And sometimes, that is obvious. 
(Very obvious, sob!) 
I am still learning the writing craft and so I stumble upon a piece of wisdom that I never heard (or never remembered hearing before) and I think, "Oh gee! Why didn't I do that! It makes so much sense!" So the story that I've been working on has grown and developed from a promising story to a long, lanky, epic tale that I am desperately trying to wrestle into shape. 

But it takes many rewrites, many revisions and edits. Right now there are more than 200,000 words in my manuscript. Thats more than twice as long as a Young Adult book should be. And I've cut over 30,000 words in the past six months. I just keep adding more in. *sigh*
I have finally come to the conclusion that this will be a trilogy. I know the spots where I can cut it and wrap it. 

I take comfort from a quote I heard (and I will now mangle). Paraphrasing, "Don't just write an 80,000 word novel and stop. Write 200,000 words and boil it down to 80,000. Those  120,000 words will still be there." I imagine it as a good beef or chicken stock with lots of vegetables and good meat, simmering on the stove or in the oven for most of the day. By the end, the stock has a flavor that is rich and full bodied and twenty times better than five bullion cubes in a pot of water. (Though I've done that too.)

So the layering of voice and sound, the layering of the many words, when boiled down, well-edited and presented to the public, is a rich and multi-faceted work of art. Delicious and tempting and inviting consumption. And well worth the effort.


  1. Amelia,

    I just found this post of yours and wish I had seen it when you first posted it! Thanks so much for sharing the music video you found, it is, indeed, AMAZING! Not only for their hard work, but for their talent.

    I love how you tie this into writing, and it reminds me exactly of my current work in progress. I'm delighted to know that I'm not alone! I think I've done about eight or nine major rewrites of the entire thing, and am now nearing the end of yet another. It truly is a work in progress.

    Keep up your good work (I can't believe how you find time to blog, write/edit a novel and raise five boys!). One day, your 80,000 words will shine!


    1. Yep, Kelsie, rewrites can be so frustrating and hard to get through. But I love the feeling when I read through the new, shiny version and realize HOW much BETTER it is than the original. That makes it worth it.

      Best of luck with your Work in Progress! :)



    2. That's what we do it for, right? For that shiny manuscript at the end? At least, that's what I keep telling myself!


    3. Yes. Yes, it is! :) I keep telling myself that too!