So today’s post is an a capella version of “Because” by the Beatles.
Because…I really wanted to do a Music Monday post.
Because…I wanted to do something about the Grammy’s but had dinner at someone else’s house, missed some, watched a little, then fell asleep early.
Because…I recently learned that John Lennon composed this song after Yoko played Mozart’s “Moonlight Sonata” backwards.
Because…this voice-only version is (IMO) more beautiful than the one from Abbey Road with the electronic harpsichord.
Because …this is my favorite Beatles song and they are the bomb.
Because …I can keep this post short and I have a lot to do today.
Because…the moments of silence are inspiring.
Now, you should listen, because…
It’s at the heart of every good story. It can be the main character versus nature, or society, or themselves, but often it’s shown through conflict with another character. Recently, I’ve re-immersed myself into the POV of Grace Lightbourne, the impulsive and sometimes outspoken Angel in Training from WINGING IT! Grace seems to end up at odds with so many characters — Archangel Michael, fellow Guardian Aisha, her Dominion-roomie Faith. But, I was writing a scene in the second book where Grace has a dispute with Mercy, and it made me uncomfortable. So, it was time to take a break, and take a walk.
In go the ear buds, on goes Pandora, and then comes this song (which, BTW, I hadn’t heard in a long time.) It reminded me that the conflict with Grace and Mercy can be worked out, and to just go ahead and write the scene.
Tension between people who care about each other is normal and natural. In fact, it’s a lot easy to let things go when you don’t care, right?
In MY WISHFUL THINKING, two best friends, Logan and Emily, must share a genie, which inevitably leads to conflict. In DOLPHIN GIRL Jane has conflict with her mom, but loves her with all her heart. Both of those conflicts made the story stronger and I hope made my readers care more deeply about the outcome. So, having faced my fear of conflict, it’s back to writing the story.
Oh, and if you’re curious about the conflict between Logan and Emily in MY WISHFUL THINKING, it’s featured today over at the Free Kindle books and Tips blog.
I’d been trying for awhile to find the perfect song to link with Elle Casey’s anniversary promotion, and I found it just in the nick of time (Thanks to Janette Rallison’s blog.)
So, what’s the deal with Elle Casey’s anniversary. Well, she generously put together a promotion of indie authors and their books — over seventy books to be exact — to celebrate the publication of her first book one year ago. That’s some seriously good karma. Readers can enter to win in here. Some are paperbacks, most are e-books, and you’ll need to read the fine print if you care about which is which.
I’ve read, or intend to read, a number of these. The list below is by no means comprehensive, but only meant to give you a feel for what’s available over at Elle’s site.
Adriana Ryan — World of Shell and Bone — a dystopia featuring feminism gone wrong. Two words: read it.
Amanda Brice — Codename Dancer — Clever. Dancing with the Stars meets Gallagher Girls
Dalya Moon — Smart Mouth Waitress and Broken Shell Island — Quirky and whimsical, just like the author
Shana Norris — The Boyfriend Thief — a super cute contemporary romance.
Tina Ferraro — The Starter Boyfriend. Her books are fun, and bonus points because this one has a mannequin character, like My Wishful Thinking.
Here’s a couple more to think about. These are authors that I really, really like and I’ve read some of their books, but not the ones in Elle’s promo:
Sibel Hodge — I’ve read adult books by her and she’s got a children’s book It’s A Catastrophe.
ME Purfield — Is darkly funny. A Black Deeper Than Death is the featured book.
Plus there are a lot of other popular authors that I haven’t read their books yet: Dannika Dark, Imogen Rose, Sarra Cannon, Samantha Young, TS Welti.
And, of course, Elle Casey’s books, which aren’t part of the giveaway, but she’s been busy over the past year and you can see her complete list of titles here.
Certainly, I’ve left authors off this list and there’s no ill will or editorializing about it. There’s just no way to mention every single book or author that’s participating in Elle’s ginormous promotion, so here’s the link, again. And now for this silly, but widely viewed video. Apologies if you’ve already see it.
Before he was Cinna in The Hunger Games, Lenny Kravitz was an incredible rocker. Actually, he’s still an incredible rocker, but some of you may only know him as an actor, and you really owe it to yourselves to get to know his music.
So, why is “Fly Away” this Monday’s song?
Well, because it’s always, always always, been a favorite of mine. And, I’ve always thought it’s the perfect song for Grace from Winging It! She wants her wings for exactly this reason!
Also, I have to fly away today, making this post much shorter than normal. I’m off to finish some work on a newsletter that’s about to go out to the folks on my mailing list. If you haven’t signed up yet click here. I absolutely will not spam you. If I do things right, it’ll be about twice a year that I send an update on upcoming releases.
Even if you don’t want to clickety-click, you should make time to watch this video of “Fly Away”. The audio is not quite as good as the original, but it’s waaay cooler. Promise.
In my last post, I mentioned that Lo, the main character from My Wishful Thinking looked like Katy Perry, and probably this song is why.
The story is set during the summer before Lo’s senior year of high school and a critical scene happens on July 4th. Plus, there are a bunch of ways the genie, Eugene, resembles a firework. This song is upbeat and inspirational, so why do I always tear up when listening?
Maybe I’m thinking about Lo.
If you’re interested, there’s a giveaway over at Goodreads for MWT. Just head here to enter.
Music Monday is back after a long hiatus and we’re going to go completely old school today circa 1966 or 67 with The Beach Boys.
As we quickly approach the end of summer, I thought it’d be nice to have one last hurrah. I’m fairly certain all of you have listened to the classic “Good Vibrations” at some point in your life. It’s catchy, upbeat, retro and perfect for summertime.
But how closely have you listened?
Because, it’s a much more complex song than it sounds on the surface, and in fact, that’s part of the genius of it.
I love the harmonies on this song—not only on the vocals, but also what is being done instrumentally. It’s incredible the way Brian Wilson wove parts of this song together, which is what I aim for when writing. (I fall short, but aim for it, anyway.) While harmony could be a topic for its own post, I really want to talk about this song as a model for pacing.
“Good Vibrations” is a long song by the standards of the 1960s. Three minutes was what musicians were supposed to shoot for and it’s over four, so it definitely broke some pre-conceived notion of what a song was supposed to be. Still, beyond its length, the the unusual way its paced is remarkable; sometimes happily upbeat, sometimes melancholy, sometimes building toward a climax. After a quick listen I counted at least seven significant changes to pace and could probably argue for more if you include chorus or transitions. The ones I’m counting occur at 1:50, 2:18, 2:55, 3:09, 3:28, 3:46 and 4:00.
What’s amazing is that all of these distinctly different tunes blend into one practically perfect song.
If you look purely at timing, the changes occur at fairly regular intervals. There are also two times where the song echoes the good vibrations rif from the beginning: it happens during the piece that begins at 2:18, and again at the piece that begins at 3:09. One thing is certain when you listen for pacing–the changes are not predictable.
When I think about trying to translate that kind of structure into writing, my brain feels like it might explode.
It’s not an exaggeration to say Brian Wilson is a genius. I think he took huge risks with this song, although we probably take them for granted because the song has become so familiar.
So, how does this help me or you—any writer or reader or music fan? It helps me to think about looking at my novel holistically. Can I take readers through a series of different emotions? Can I tell a story without it becoming too predictable? Can I look for places where an echo might unify things?
For readers or music fans I hope it provides some insight into the truly remarkable things that are possible when we create.
Now, I hope everyone enjoys this version of “Good Vibrations.”
I was absolutely thrilled to see Adele’s sweep of the Grammy’s last night for a couple reasons.
First, she’s a nice contrast to the antics of singers like Lady Gaga. The lady admittedly has a lot of talent talent, but she actually distracts us from her music with whatever the the get-up du jour is. Also, for me, Adele beats the pants off the electronica, auto-tuned sound that is so popular right now. While it’s great for dancing, is it really music? Does beat = music? I’m not sure.
In the end, the main reason I’m happy for Adele’s success is that I love her soulful style of singing. Chasing Pavements and Rolling in the Deep are beautiful songs, while this one, Someone Like You, gives me goosebumps every single time I listen to it.
It’s remarkable how she can reach our hearts with with one nuance; one note. And, when I think about what I’d really like to do with my writing, it’d be to create those same kinds of goosebumps for my readers, even if it’s only one line in one book. Now, that’d be success.
Bravo, Adele. This song, by any standard, is a success.
One of the things I struggle with is a perfectionism.
Is this the right word? The right way to phrase this? Is my grammar flawless? How ’bout punctuation?
It’s O.K. Or, on second thought — is it okay?
The lyrics in this song, What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me? express this fear…well, perfectly. Joe Cocker is not Pavarotti, but I’m okay with that. I’m also, for the record, O.K. with that.
When it comes to my writing, the thing is, I know I’m not perfect and I’m pretty sure I never will be. In fact, look at the title of this post. It should have been posted yesterday. It’s not Music Tuesday, right? Not to belabor the point or anything.
So if a part of my writing is out of tune, will readers stop reading? Some will. But my friends will hear the heart beneath that sour note. Today, I was given an incredible reminder of why it’s O.K. (okay) to sing your own song, your own way. Cassie Deaton posted a review of Dolphin Girl over at her Shadow Kisses blog. She gets me, warts and all. It reminds me that like Joe Cocker, I need to say, Lend me your ear and I’ll sing you a song and I’ll try not to sing out of key.
Now, let’s listen to Joe rasp and growl together, cause the guy’s got a ton of heart and soul.
My last post was too long and I’m kinda sleepy, so instead of rambling, here — just listen to these guys. I really like their sound!
There are a couple Christmas songs that evoke clear memories from my childhood. Wayne Newton’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and Burl Ives “Holly Jolly Christmas” — you know the version from Rudolph. But none are as palpable as this one.
My parents loved this TV special. They made sure to sit down and watch it with us, and I did the same with my children so we’re in the third generation of love for this music. In fact, to make sure we can do the dance on any given day, I purchased The Vince Guaraldi’s Trio Charlie Brown Christmas on CD. That way, I don’t have to wait for the special to come on TV. Or buy the DVD and wait for this scene to play. I can listen, and bake cookies, and dance like the twin girls whenever I want. 🙂 I might even do a little of that today.
It’ll make me feel like a child again, which is nice when you write for them. So, what reminds you of Christmas as a child? Is it music? Or a decoration? A tradition? Or a scent? Let me know.