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All along the watchtower

Posted on June 23rd, 2010 by annakjarzab

This is Bear McCreary’s version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” (made famous by Jimi Hendrix, who covered it) that he wrote and performed for the third season finale of Battlestar Galactica. It’s very exciting, just the sort of music I love to write to, with a lot of drums and guitar and a real, heart pounding drive. The book I’ve been writing (the first in a planned trilogy, although we make plans and God laughs, right? What am I doing working on the first book in a trilogy when I haven’t even finished out my two book contract with RH yet?) is what I used to call a “quasi-post-apocalyptic pseudo-mystery” but which I’m now just calling a “supernatural thriller” because it’s not post-apocalyptic, quasi or otherwise, and it is more of a thriller than a mystery, in the way that The Da Vinci Code is more of a thriller than a mystery. I’m being necessarily vague here, but that’s what I’ve been working on. So I’ve been listening to a lot of hard rock and a LOT of instrumental movie-trailer-y type music, like the E.S. Posthumus song below:

And “Requiem for a Tower”, which is the Clint Mansel theme to Requiem for a Dream that was given a little oomph and used in the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers trailer:

And James Dooley’s “Trinity”:

Anyway, it’s been fun. I’d forgotten what it was like to work on a manuscript with no external pressure. I’d written the first eighty pages or something a long time ago, and when I went back to them I was shocked at how much I didn’t hate them (ALTHOUGH, that happened with Book 2 as well, and I ended up rewriting half of that book!). I actually thought they were really well turned out for a first draft, so after I sent my draft of Book 2 to Joanna I started adding on to them, and what do you know? Immediately I started turning out loosey-goosey pages. I knew I was just writing them to add to my word/page count, so that I could get to the good stuff, so that I could finish the draft, and then I was like, “Why?” For my own enjoyment, partially, but I had just written a terrible draft of a very important scene that serves as the catalyst for the rest of the book! What was I doing?

The great part about it was that I could just get rid of it. I’m under no deadline and have no pressure, so I just excised that part and rewrote it last night in a different way. One of the things that makes this draft of that scene better than my first draft of that scene was that I knew my characters were going to come face-to-face with some pretty unbelievable stuff, and I wanted my main main character (as opposed to my handful of other main characters) to believe it almost immediately. What I hadn’t figured out was why she would believe it. She’s a pretty sharp, cynical person, so it doesn’t seem to fit her personality, until you take into account her back story and what it is she’s been through in the last year or so of her life, and then her ability to buy what she’s being sold makes a lot of sense. Again, super vague, but when I made that realization, the whole scene blossomed out. It’s sort of lovely when that happens. I’d started to think I’d never know what it felt like to write a book organically again.

This is the sort of blog post I write where I get to the end and realize it has no real point. Usually I delete those. I probably delete three blog posts for every one post that goes up here, which is why I don’t post very often. But I’m going to post this one, without a point. Because why not?

Oh, and this third book? I’ve referred to it before as GR. I’m going to start referring to it as TGD now. Good day to you.

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