Tag Archives: “compare writing books and songs”

Knowing Me; Knowing Them

So, after thinking a little bit more about the whole “write what you know” thing that everyone will always quote at you if you want to write, I got to thinking about what I really did know. And I came to realise that one thing I had been trying to write about I did not know about – and that was happy things.

Now, I’m not meaning to sound like an over-dramatic, self-pitying misery guts here, but the general fact is that happy and cheerful isn’t something I’ve ever really experienced. My life has (in the majority) been difficult, dark, and rather gothic in its execution. I’ve been one of those people who’ve rather suffered through fault of their own and others, and I’ve been to very dark places. I have subsequently not been to very happy places – even if I did (or I even may have) – I doubt I would even know it, to be honest.

Therefore I’m back at the question of why am I trying to write it? It’s hardly going to be authentic as a piece of writing, and what I managed to get from others was that it rather wasn’t really authentic to me. My mother was rather surprised to read one attempt at a manuscript, citing it as something of light-fluff that she finds in her Mills & Boon books. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that until I clocked on that it wasn’t a strange snipe at my writing (trying nicely to say it was rubbish and had no substance) – it was that I think she was rather taken aback that I would actually try to write “fluff”. I’m not a “fluff” person – not to write anyway (though I do like the odd chick-lit and chick-flick).

Back to my usual analogy of song writing, I have not written any “fluff” songs since I was about 15. By fluff, I mean lovey, traditional pop-esque Moon-In-June, lovey-dovey things that Britney might have sung when she was also 15, with basic lyrics and easy rhymes, where silly people always write “mine” with “time” and “sigh” and cry” because it’s too much effort to come up with anything else. I write dark, gothic, and (as some people will no doubt call) “depressive” songs and music – it has a hard, dark theme of suffering and general feeling of being trapped in a nightmare, thus:

Black rose dying from your poison
Screaming ghosts haunt the nightmares in my head
All I see is desolation
Can’t escape the terrors in my mind…

Screaming Alone inside my head
Grasping desperation till I’m dead
Black fingers pouring threads of war
From wounds that I can no longer ignore.

Thinking now, I know I was probably just trying to use writing as a way of escaping a life that always feels like this – when it comes to songs I always write what I feel. But that just means that I don’t really know what I’m writing about – I do sarcasm, dark humour, intensity, deep darkness, living with fear and depression.

I don’t really do cheerful. So I’m happy to report that I’ve stopped that now. I’ll just stick to dark humour and mild sarcasm from now on. I think it’ll come across as much more authentic, and so will my beloved friends (read: Characters).

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
~ GUSTAVE FLAUBERT

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Writing With A Universal Approach

Banging head against brick wall. Books should write themselves, and immediately be written perfectly. It’s annoying when you get a new idea in the middle of an old one and then you have to and rewrite it because it’s probably a better idea than the first…

And the worst thing is you don’t even really know if it is at all until you’ve spent all that time writing it and you read it back. Or better still, someone else reads it back. Actually, that’s not really better if they’re just going to tell you it’s actually rubbish and make you cry…

They’re so much harder than songs – the only problem with songs is the music software you have to write it on. And they’re shorter – you don’t write a 120,000 word song. Unless you’re writing what is the equivalent – which probably would be a symphony, or maybe an opera.

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my life writing songs, I’ve actually figured out how to do it and do it right (ish) though nearly two decades of practice – and a lot of mistakes. Although I’ve been writing stories since forever, it’s never been continuous and I never worked on developing it in any real way or found my mojo in it before.

Recently I’ve been writing a lot, and editing, in the last few months and I’ve started to realise that I have not really previously developed a really definitive writing style/ mojo/ voice. Even listening back to really old songs of mine, I’ve been told – and I can clearly hear – the “DelphineMusic” style, even if it is it’s infancy. Anyone who knows my voice and music [style] would recognise the songs as being mine.

When I read back over manuscripts it’s clear (and I’ve been told) they’re over-stuffed, clunky, run around pointlessly, and have little sense of direction, with not much characterisation. All the things I’m anal about with music, I leave lapsed and ignored in the stories, which I’ve realised is probably due to a combination of laziness and no practice. This lackadaisical attitude has left what (I think) may be good, sweet stories as nothing but rambling fluff with little substance, which is Bad. I would never do that to a song, I would have never done that in an essay, and I have decided to stop sodding doing it in manuscripts.

My problem is I get bogged down in detail (you may have managed to gather this by now having read this…!) – and unfortunately it’s the details that don’t matter I get bogged down in. If it was character detail it would probably work, but it’s always the boring crap no one ever gives a shit about, even when it happens in your own lives.

I’ve been practicing writing, trying to find my voice, and then developing it – without resorting to writing rambling bull-crap when I get side-tracked by more rambling detail that would put the most avid insomniac into a coma. I’m hoping I’m going to get there, because I like writing. And I want to write books that I will be as happy with as my songs – where even if others don’t like them, I have enough faith in them and happy enough with them to stand up for them myself, and have something that at least I like.

…All right – Rant over now! …


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