Making the Book Sing: ROW80

You will probably notice a theme here that I get inspired by music. This last week, I have felt tired and achy from my lingering case of mononucleosis and uninspired when I looked at how my WIP was unfolding — like a badly wadded napkin. It was time to seek some inspiration, regroup, and develop a better plan. Part of that involved a conversation with hubby, some writing quotes, and moving some scenes around.

Today I worked again on my young adult novel, Sharing Hunter — which is a plot idea I love with characters whose stories I’m eager to tell. Thus far, the scenes I’d written were blah. I want to get back to not just telling the story but being a storyteller. Anyone can tell a story, just like anyone can belt out a song. But a storyteller uses interesting language, description, and dialog to pull the audience in, just as a singer (say, like Whitney Houston) uses the same notes everyone else gets but makes them resonate with beauty. I want my novel to sing.

So here’s a little musical inspiration for me from Straight No Chaser.

This is what I want — to remember that there is skill, flourish, fun, and interaction involved in writing a book. I got excited today as I edited the scenes and started to see the words weaving together like a song’s harmony to tell the story and entertain the reader. I think I’m back on track now.

Here are my goals for ROW80 Round 1 of 2012:

  • Finish editing Grace & Fire mystery novel and send to reader. Check. Finished this goal on January 19.
  • Write 1,500 words per week on young adult novel, Sharing Hunter. Still reworking the few scenes I’ve written. I felt early on that I was off track and didn’t want to continue with less-than-exciting writing. So I regrouped and am going through what I’ve already written to make it sing.
  • Blog twice a week on Amaze-ing Words Wednesday and Deep-Fried Friday, and check-in with ROW80 updates twice a week. Check. Posted Quoth the Writer & ROW80 on Sunday and A Lesson from Miss Spelling on Wednesday.
  • Comment on at least 10 15 blogs per week (not counting ROW80 update comments). Check. Commented on 17 blogs.
  • Read one writing craft book. Check. Finished On Writing by Stephen King.
  • Read eight fiction books. 5 down, reading The Cat, the Lady and the Liar (a cozy mystery) by Leann Sweeney.

I have some fabulous fellow ROWers. Check them out HERE.

How’s your week going? Are you making your WIP sing? Do you need a little inspiration? Where do you go to get it?

Translating Christmas Carols

As part of my personal effort to get into the holiday spirit (see my Are You a Christmas Person? quiz), I thought I’d take a couple of classic Christmas carols and translate them for Amaze-ing Words Wednesday. After all, when’s the last time “Ron yon virgin, mother and child” slipped out as a part of regular speech? And yet, there it is, in the classic Silent Night lyrics.

Plenty of our holiday songs came from many years ago when language was more stilted or included words we no longer use in the same way (“Don we now our gay apparel”? – Deck the Halls)

So, without further ado, here is my first choice of a classic carol that could use a newly worded version:

Angels We Have Heard on High

Original Lyrics

My 2011 Translation

Angels we have heard on high We hear angels in the sky
Sweetly singing o’er the plain They sound good up there over the field
And the mountains in reply It sounds like someone’s answering in the mountains
Echoing their glorious strain It’s an echo of the song they’re singing
Gloria, in excelsis deo Glory be! Highest glory to God
Gloria, in excelsis deo Glory be! Highest glory to God

For my second choice, let’s take a look at God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (a song I never understood as a child):

Original Lyrics

My 2011 Translation

God rest ye merry, gentlemen May God keep you happy, guys
Let nothing you dismay Don’t let anything get you down
Remember Christ our Savior Remember that Christ who saves us
Was born on Christmas day Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power He came to save us from the devil and his power
When we were gone astray When we were really far from God
Oh tidings of comfort and joy It’s news to comfort you and make you joyful
Comfort and joy Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy Yep, news to comfort you and make you joyful

What other Christmas carols or holiday songs do we sing during this season with antiquated language? What specific lyrics come to mind that don’t make much sense with the English we speak today? How would you translate an old carol?

And to end this post about Christmas carols with a little treat, here’s a fun song a terrific friend shared with me – Straight No Chaser’s Christmas Can-Can: