Monday, June 23, 2014

Words Come First

During the decades I spent trying to build muscle in the left side of my brain, I always admired those who were strong on the other side, the creative side. When I began to write, I noticed that songwriters and poets could tell a story in seventy words that might take me seven hundred or more (and their words rhymed). Of course, this was back in the good old days when songs did tell stories.

As I try to build mind pictures for my readers, I sometimes play inspiring background music and wish that I could put that music in my words. More often than not, the music is played only in my mind. 

When I see a book converted to a movie done well, I envy the music and cinematography that can thrill us, inspire us, fill us up with emotion and make us overflow. Writers have to make do with written words on a printed page, and nowadays, on the screen of the latest gadget.

Remember that sweeping panoramic view of Montana mountains and valleys at the end of The Horse Whisperer as Tom Booker watched Annie Maclean drive away to music that tugged at our heartstrings?

We writers try to achieve that affect in at least one or two scenes in a book (some try to do it on every page), but we just don’t have the visual effects and the sound. Still, if there had been no story told, no novel, no screenplay, there would have been no movie, no soundtrack, and no music. Words always come first, and we can take comfort in that.

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