Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

between the sheets: soundtracks

Something I learnt back in the olden days when I wanted to be a film-maker was that even if a film goer blinks, looks away to check out a cute guy in the next row, or spends half the movie with their nose buried in their popcorn, their ears never turn off.

For some writers this is the case. They need perfect silence. To hole themselves away in a small enclosed room. I’m the opposite. I need noise. Ambient noise. White noise. And I need music. Sweet sweet music.

I watched Elizabethtown today, a film by Cameron Crowe. It was funny, moving, sexy, sad, strange, unstructured, surprising and I loved it. (Check out the collage on the movie poster - is this a sign or what???) And this is guy who knows music. Almost Famous was based on his experiences as the youngest Rolling Stone reporter ever. Elizabethtown had nothing to do with music. It was a film about a young guy trying to bury his father, with enough romance thrown in along the way to keep me happy ;). Nevertheless music played a huge part in bolstering the narrative. Not just preetty songs to sell records at the end. But it’s as though characters in his movies have a soundtrack to their lives. A mixed tape, if you like, of songs that bookmark the memorable moments in their journey. I love that. I get that. And I use that.

For each book I write I tend to have a CD that get splayed over and over and over. In a normal world this would drive me crazy, but in the world of writing a book it can be really helpful in getting you in the right mood.

My CD of choice for Kissing a Fool is Jeff Buckley’s Grace. I am a mjle behind the times on this one having only bought it before Christmas. But it’s beautiful. And evocative. And very very moody which is just what I need for this book.

yesterday's questions...

Do you fix as you go or rewrite later?

I do a bit of both. And I'll talk more about rewriting down the track. But to answer Rach's questions, when I get bogged down in language or plot, I do move on. Absolutely. I highlight anything I'm not happy with in yellow. Nice and bright so that when I'm skimming later I won't miss it. I highlight words, passages, things I need to research, plot twists I'm not sure will work, and then I just keep writing. Because how easy is it to go back anytime you want? Viva la computer!

If they are character problems, its worth fixing now. Characters are everything in a romance. You must love them or how can you expect your readers to love them! Unless you are happy that your characters are acting in character, you can be setting yourself up for a world of hurt. In my last Romance, my hero didn't play nice for me for the whole first half of the book. Once I got brave and realised I had to change him, his voice, his reactions completely, it made ALL the difference. I rewrote him from the beginning, and the end of the book flew.

Just remember, a book is a living thing. Some authors say writing IS rewriting. That's half the fun! No words are set in stone at this stage, you may even end up deleting whole chapters later on if they don't move the plot where it needs to go (again with my last Romance I had to do this!!!), but you can't know that now. All you need to know is that you don't have to make them perfect first go.

The most important thing, especially for new writers, is finishing the book. Unless you've done it, you don't really know that you can. So just keep writing...

today’s progress

word count: 3,969 / 50,000

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end',

check out the whole Between the Sheets series

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