Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IWSG old stories and BATTLE OF THE BANDS

If you are only here for the BATTLE OF THE BANDS keep scrolling until you see the BotB logo. If you are only here for the IWSG, read until you see the BOTB badge.

Rachel Platten Fight Song

I suppose you are wondering why I'm posting a song video first before the Insecure Writers Support Group logo?  Well, FIGHT SONG is my IWSG post for this month. I hope you listen as you read, or just listen. This song is about self confidence, and is both my encouragement and insecurity.

I am a firm believer that you have to believe in yourself first before anyone else can believe in you.No matter what you want to be or do with your life, you have to have self confidence to achieve it. Some people equate this self confidence with arrogance, or a false sense of self worth. I struggle with this distinction constantly.

When I was in kindergarten or grade school I read a children's book called THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. Silly to be with me all these years, I know. But way back then (like, 50 years ago) my parents were told I was mentally retarded (in today's educational vernacular I'd likely be considered Attention Deficit Disorder). I THINK I CAN became my motto for life. That little engine believed in himself despite the doubts of everyone else, and so I believed in myself. (Most of the time) Over the years there have been other stories and songs that have encouraged me to believe in myself, but when I'm at my lowest point, I THINK I CAN, has always been my fall back mantra.

Until Rachel Platten sang: I don't really care what anyone else believes, cuz I still got a lot of faith left in me.. .. I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion.

As an author, I have to believe in my ability to write a good story before I ever set pen to paper (or open a word program and touch the keyboard). I believe every artist - painters, writers, actors, musicians, singers, comics, athletes, designers . . politicians) need to have that faith in themselves first before they can convince anyone else to believe in their talents. In my opinion, this is not arrogance or false hope; its ambition. The more you believe in yourself, the harder you will work to achieve your potential. That potential is easier reached when others also believe in and encourage you; but you have to continue to believe in yourself despite obstacles and failures. For authors, obstacles and failures equates to rejections, and self doubt that keeps projects locked away from public scrutiny.

This month's IWSG question is: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Some authors have been writers since the first day they learned to write their ABC's into coherent sentences. I've always been good at writing stories, everybody has told me so since grade school. But I was around 15 when I wrote my first serious novel- and yes, its still in the "drawer" because it is so bad I can't read it long enough to figure out how to revise it, But its my first ever writing project that wasn't an assignment in school, so I keep it as a memento.

I was about 40 when I wrote a novel I seriously wanted to publish. I did sub it out soon after it was completed, and I learned many writing lessons from those original rejected submissions and the subsequent signing with a vanity publisher. As I learn more about writing techniques, I pull this novel out, along with its three sequels, and edit it. One of the writing rules I've learned is that you can never publish your first novel.

Technically, this isn't my "first novel." LOL. Stephen King's DARK TOWER series was in a drawer for over twenty years, always in the back of his mind, before he pulled it out and seriously started work on it for publication. J.R.R. Tolkien told THE HOBBIT to his children as bed time stories, and worked on THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy for over 40 years before publication. I keep these minor facts in mind as inspiration.

But sometimes, it just doesn't happen that you can pull that project out again later, revise and edit it into saleable product. Sometimes we have to say goodbye entirely to a well loved concept. Sometimes an agent/publisher picks it up, but the final published version feels so far from the original project it is unrecognizable to the author. We cry for these "deleted darlings." We mourn the loss or our original ideas, the characters and plots that have been deemed useless by writing partners, or editors. Sometimes we have the vague hope that the characters, concepts, phrases and snappy dialogue, can be salvaged and integrated into other projects. And sometimes, we have ceremonies as we relegate them into a virtual recycle bin (or actual trash if the project is in paper notebooks).


What is your "fight song" writing project? Is it still floating in your Documents, occasionally opened and edited? Or have you published it somehow: integrated into another project, rewritten according to editor requirements, revamped for short story anthologies, self published?

Please thank your IWSG host Alex Cavanaugh, and his helpers Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Field, and Nichole Christopherson by visiting their blogs. Click here for the IWSG sign up list.

And thank you for reading this ramble.

Because today is the first, and Battle of the Bands posts on the first and fifteenth of each month, I also wanted to participate in BotB to show my support for my buddy Saint Mac, aka Stephen T McCarthy. Obviously I'm not finding any covers for Rachel Platten's Fight Song (or at least none worth posting for a battle), and given the nature of this month's IWSG question, I decided to find something with a similar courageous sentiment. And of course, I wanted to make this choice difficult because, as writers, all the decisions about a WiP are difficult. In today's vernacular, it comes with angst.

My song choices today are not pitting the same song against an opposing artist. Its about who accomplished the overall sentiment of the song "concept." Because publication, in any form of writing from books, movies, theater, poetry, songs; is based on reader/viewer/listener connection with the message.

I am also not posting any IMBD or Wickipedia write ups about these two songs. I've read it all, but I have these songs on CD, with artist insights of the song meanings; and have loved and followed the artists for more years than most of the BotB participants have been alive (excluding Arlee Bird and Saint Mac himself of course; they are older than me by a few months if not a few years).

Both these songs are about a son, following and lamenting their heroic fathers death. Bosephus was always considered his father's shadow, a mini Hank; and David Gilmour never came to terms with his father's death as a soldier, though he was expected to carry on the family military tradition.

I'm hoping you do not judge these songs by whether or not you like Hank Jr, or Pink Floyd, or country or pop or heavy metal. I think the song message of each artist transcends musical genre; but what do I know, I'm an eclectic listener.

To me, both songs display visceral writing. It is unfortunate that the Pink Floyd video includes such evocative imagery; I'd suggest you close your eyes while listening, but in truth I do not want you to miss the explicit tragedy of war. I first heard the Tigers song off The Final Cut CD, and cried through the entire short song. Well, I cried for Hank Jr also. I'm sentimental that way.

Both are stories the artists felt compelled to tell. As authors, isn't our first true writing the story we feel needs to be told, whether it be fact or fiction? If you are a musician as well as author, do you feel the same passion for writing/playing music as you do for story writing?

Bosephus (Hank Williams Jr) SHADOW FACE

David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)  When the Tigers Broke Free

Please vote for which song you feel best evokes an emotional response in you as a listener. Listen to the actual words. And if you feel nothing for either song, vote for which one you dislike least.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend.