Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
This week I started choreographing for a big dance show in the studio where I teach ballet. What makes it even more fun for me than usual is that I have been given creative license, and if you knew me well enough you’d know that such freedom is just a heavenly thing! It means I can choose my own music and choreograph according to my vast experience gleaned over twenty-five years of dance and choreography – on the amateur and professional stage. I can choose my own music and costumes – just as long as it fits with the theme of the show which is – *happy dance* – the Universe and everything pertaining to it! Now for a Fantasy authorand a science fiction nut this is pure bliss!!!
The music I chose was from two of my favourite movies of all time: The Highlander (Tracks ‘Who Wants to Live Forever?’ and “Princes of the Universe’) and The Fifth Element (Tracks ‘Lucia Di Lammermoor’ and ‘Radiowaves’). Other music is from a musical I adore – Hair (Tracks ‘Age of Aquarius’ and ‘Good Morning, Starshine’) – and also from one of my favourite musicians, because her free spirit has always moved me and is so much like mine: Vanessa Mae (Track from the album ‘Storm’ – ‘The Blessed Spirits’). You can imagine my excitement as I listened to this incredible collection of music, each piece so different from the other, but so stirring, so intoxicating, so powerful, so . . . soulful!
I have always been extremely musical, so when I choreograph I tend to create according to the words and feel of the piece and rarely to the predictable – sometimes monotonous – musical phrasing/beat/rhythm. I start by closing my eyes and allowing the music to ‘tell’ me what to do – the layout, the patterning, the placement of the dancers, the costumes and props, the make-up, the lighting, and the overall look and feel I want to achieve. I incorporate every nuance in the voices and music, and even what’s underneath them, interpreting the emotions of the singers and what the song is about. Visually, this creates a much more dramatic and musical dance piece than if I was just following the beat (expected and predictable to the audience). This technique is guaranteed to draw in the audience and engage them emotionally because the dancer’s and singer’s passion is creating perfect synchronicity between the two as their performances are supported and enhanced by the stirring music.
It is absolutely vital to me that the dancers are able to do what I want, the way I want it, and usually, with amateurs, this means spending hours and hours with them to help them perfect the technique and carry across the nuances (artistry) I need them to when they eventually have on their costumes and make-up, they’re on the stage with professional lighting, and they have before them an expectant, paying audience to please. As I work mainly with seniors – twelve years to adults – this is reasonably easy to do because they can grasp the emotional subtleties and understand and express them . . . and, fortunately, I have four months to get them ready!!!
Now we get to what this has to do with writing and self-publishing. If you were paying attention you would have picked up the metaphors and comparisons; if not, then let me elaborate on my thoughts.
Freedom to me is the most essential part of life. When I can be myself at all times and in all circumstances then I thrive and I produce brilliant work – whether it be choreography, dancing, or writing. When my spirit, my heart, and my soul (emotions) are unfettered, and my mind (knowledge) comes along for the ride, then together we create the most beautiful dance/story: my spirit soars, my soul sings, and my mind and body both do a happy dance! It’s all about flow and rhythm and bringing forth the power, and interpreting and expressing the emotion – and it should NEVER be a chore or hard work or an effort, even when it is. Let me explain: When the dancer (writer) puts in the effort and enjoyswhat he/she is doing, even though it breaks a sweat and makes them huff and puff with frustration and forces them to redo it and redo it and redo it again, it should still be with the soul-stirring ebb and flow that is as natural as breathing. When a dancer breathes correctly her movements become effortless and easier to execute. This, too, applies to writing. You cannot write and not breathe – and I’m not only talking about the physical act but the emotional swaying and letting go every writer needs to do if whatever they are working on is to achieve the goals they have set for it. And especially if they (and their readers) want to like it!
Then there’s the audience (reader) who must be impressed and drawn in and become emotionally involved with what they are witnessing. If while you wrote your words found a rhythm, found the emotional power, found the stillness and then the crescendo, then it is guaranteed your readers will, too.
So many times I read horror stories of how writers submitted their work to publishers who then proceeded to hack it to death because it didn’t reach a certain demographic or meet their expectations or their requirements, and the poor author was forced to make changes that practically ripped their work (and their hearts) to shreds!
And this is why I love being an Indie author. I alone am responsible for perfecting my art, for improving my writing and myself (the blood, sweat, and tears), BUT I don’t have to lose who I am in the process (my spirit, my soul, and my beloved freedom of expression together with belief in my unique talents). I have been given a gift to be a storyteller and I am the only person who writes the way I do. I have a very particular style (rhythm) and delivery (emotional and visual interpretation and presentation) and I’m proud of the fact that no one else can do what I do the way I do it. And the same goes for every one of you! I have written numerous times about how important it is to be unique and to hold onto that uniqueness no matter what others say about you or your work.
As self-published authors (or if you’ve been very lucky and found an awesome agent and a generous traditional publisher), we are in a unique position to move the masses without interference from others who think they know better. We can express ourselves the way we were born to and allow the music and emotionof our words – choreographed to the perfection we have achieved thus far in our individual careers – make this world a place of magic and joy, laughter and, quite simply, LIFE – the way we believe our readers ought to enjoy it!
I urge you to listen to that very particular tune playing in your mind and tugging on your heartstrings and allow it to overtake you and show you things you’ve perhaps never dreamed of. No one else can hear that melody or rob you of it because it is who you are. When you were made you were filled with unlimited potential and an individuality no one else can match.
Write according to your own rhythm and choreograph with your own words, and you will produce a masterpiece your audience will love and be moved by, exactly the way you saw (heard) it!
I love hearing from you! Please leave a comment and share your own creative (choreographic) experiences!