Saturday, December 19, 2009

Where are the simple joys of ______hood?

There are many books that I love for their drama or poignancy or, even better, action. Even more frequently, I love the things that are somehow out of place with the rest of the book but make me love them. Here's a short list of such things:

*Alice's Vogue moments throughout the Twilight series.
*Ron Weasley's sometimes comical responses to and confusion by ordinary Muggle things that we take for granted.
*The 'tourist' scenes in Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian.
*Some of the social events in War and Peace.
*The Yule Ball invitations in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
*The "formal dance" in Aaron Allston's Iron Fist.

There are wonderful moments of humor that permeate ancient and modern literature. Even in Harry Potter, we get to have a few chapters of normal life before, after and in between the momentous things in each book.

Well, my problem is that I want to have similar things, but it seems inappropriate for this book. After all, it starts out quite in media res. Yes, Ella is a typical high school senior, but we don't have time to explore that very much if we want to get through the plot at an appropriate pacing or not take away from the story itself. It makes me half want to start the story earlier in the history of this whole conflict, but I rather like the suspense of what is known and unknown.

On an unrelated note, I have a very strange playlist for writing. I like listening to things like "Problem Girl" and "Her Diamonds" from Rob Thomas, some tracks from Moulin Rouge, and even such random things as "Death Shall Not Destroy My Comfort" from Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The other night, I was trying to get in the mood to write a quite pivotal scene. It required a very specific emotional state for both me and the characters, so I started shuffling through my iPod playlist. Oddly enough, I landed on "Smile" (the version by Charlie Chaplin covered by the Glee cast from the episode "Mattress."). I put that on and after the first time through, I put it on repeat until I was finished with that scene. Would never have guessed that it was what was needed.

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