Plus, Five Film Soundtrack Pieces That Are Featured on the WIP’s Novel Playlist
Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today, to celebrate 20% completion of Draft #3, here’s the first progress report and a reveal of some of the songs on TKC’s novel playlist.
Yep – it’s update time!
Well, I haven’t been blowing things up like Matt Damon / Mark Watney was in The Martian… But I’ve reached the 20% mark in editing Draft #3 of The Keeper’s Curse! That means it’s also time to unveil the “revamped” version of the Chronicling The Craft series.
Based on readers’ feedback, I’m splitting each Chronicle into two separate posts. The first one (i.e., this post) will feature a progress report and a few tracks on TKC’s novel playlist. The second post (scheduled for Saturday, May 21st) will focus on tips for the editing process. So, whether you prefer “fun stuff” or “writerly stuff,” you can now choose which one you want to read – or, you can read both posts at different times. 😉
So, how have things been going with Draft #3 so far? Let’s see…
The 20% Progress Report
As of Tuesday night, I’ve finished reading and editing Chapter 7, which ends on Page 69. Statistically speaking, here’s how things look right now:
Number of Words Cut So Far: 2,463 (current total word count is now 108,491)
Number of Pages Cut So Far: 8 (current page count is 366)
Progress to Draft #3 Word Count Goal: 41% (goal is cutting almost 6,000 words to bring the word count down to 105,000)
Wow! That’s more than what I was expecting at this point. Chapters 3 and 6 especially needed extensive editing (which I was aware of), and I managed to bring down their word counts quite a bit (800+ and 700+, respectively). What surprises me is the amount of words cut from other chapters. I don’t want to jinx anything… but knowing what I have left to work on, reaching my main word count goal for Draft #3 shouldn’t be an issue. 😀
“Cutting,” by the way, might not be the right word for describing the editing phase of TKC so far. It’s been more like trimming and finessing so the word choices are more precise, economical, and necessary. There’s also been some puzzle-piece rearranging, re-imagining of certain scenes, and figurative hair-pulling during brain cramps. (Which is just as painful as actual hair-pulling.) It’s interesting, challenging for sure, and entertaining in spots. (The things your characters say that make you laugh? Yup! It’s great to revisit them again!)
What’s been the most difficult part of Draft #3 up to this point? Learning how to manage my time better to fit in editing during the week. I’ve made a couple lifestyle changes to allow for an hour’s worth of editing on three weeknights. Yet I also HATE letting certain things slip at home… and as a result, I’ve gone to bed waaaaay later than I should some nights, and it’s wearing on me. So, I need to experiment with my schedule and try not to cram in so much at night. Let’s see if I can figure it out before the next pair of Chronicles.
The Keeper’s Curse Novel Playlist: Five Songs from Influential Film Soundtracks
When I created TKC’s novel playlist, I wanted to include songs from the film soundtracks I listened to while working on the story. Music is a huge part of my writing process, so it only felt right to pay tribute to the scores that influenced the story and “steeped” me in the right moods for certain scenes.
Today I’m sharing the tracks that represent the five soundtracks I listened to while writing TKC. These songs will be listed in chronological order as they appear on the playlist. And I have a feeling that most of the picks won’t be shockers. 😉
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by Harry Gregson-Williams
C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia was the second fantasy series I read in its entirety (after The Lord of the Rings). So, of course I saw the live-action Narnia movies when they came out. And while I can’t place why I bought the Prince Caspian soundtrack and not the others, I’m glad I have it. There’s something heroic and magical about this score, with hints of wonder, adventure, and innocence that fit the Narnia stories perfectly.
Why “Arrival at Aslan’s How”? It’s the perfect introduction song. I alternated between this and other Prince Caspian tracks while working on TKC’s first couple chapters, but “Arrival at Aslan’s How” resonates most with me. When I listen to it, I can imagine riding down from the sky on a winged creature and gently landing in a strange, beautiful land – or, in TKC’s case, gliding into the Fei forest and finding my protagonist Eva and Council brother Doni in the middle of an archery lesson.
The Hobbit by Howard Shore
Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy may have its flaws (that’s a discussion for another day, though), but An Unexpected Journey holds a special place in my heart because it planted the seeds of inspiration that became TKC. And since I loved Howard Shore’s LOTR score, I knew I’d get his soundtracks for all three Hobbit movies. His signature style, familiarity with LOTR’s musical themes, and deep understanding of Middle-Earth from an aesthetic perspective allows The Hobbit‘s score to be its own unique self while re-immersing us in the splendor of a much-beloved fantasy world.
Why “Axe or Sword?” from An Unexpected Journey? “Axe or Sword?” is one of the songs I’ve played most while working on TKC. It teems with nobility, integrity, and fellowship, as if multiple characters are having an important conversation. So, I often played “Axe or Sword?” during scenes where Eva was getting to know her Mountain Folk companions better, as well as her “Point of No Return” scene, which this song represents on the playlist.
The Lion King by Hans Zimmer
The Lion King might seem like an odd choice, but GOODNESS is it gorgeous! Even when I first saw the movie when I was 10, the music stood out because of its tribal choirs, wind instruments, and percussion along with a standard orchestra. (Yeah. I paid attention to things like that when I was younger. *blushes*) Now, as an adult, it’s still one of my all-time favorite film scores. It’s emotional, evocative, and true to the film’s African setting. And since I imagine the Fei’s music sounds a cross between Native American and African styles, listening to The Lion King also made sense from a world-building perspective.
Why “To Die For…”? I’m afraid readers will HATE me for picking this track, because it comes at one of the most terrifying and heart-breaking moments in The Lion King. But for TKC, I was looking for something fast-paced and exhilarating to help me write a particular action scene. “To Die For…” was exactly what I needed at that moment.
The Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore
Surprised? No?? Gee, I wonder why. (*lol*) It’s no secret that I adore Howard Shore’s LOTR film score. In fact, I wrote an entire post about its music here. And you bet I listened to many LOTR tracks while working on TKC.
Why “The Forbidden Pool” from The Two Towers Standard OST? “The Forbidden Pool” has this amazingly quiet, creepy vibe. It’s low, dark, tense in parts, and quivering with unease. To me, it’s a great musical reflection of suspicion and secrecy. I turned to this piece quite a bit for scenes when Eva senses that something’s amiss.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 by Alexandre Desplat
How could I not own the soundtrack for my favorite Harry Potter movie ever? 🙂 Equal parts sinister and triumphant, thrilling and tearful, the score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 has always captured me with its rich, emotional resonance. Then again, the film does yank at the heart for scene after scene. Alexandre Desplat does the same in this soundtrack, and beautifully so.
Why “The Resurrection Stone”? Like the other pieces featured above, “The Resurrection Stone” matches the moods of certain scenes in TKC. It’s a delicate, nuanced piece that reminds me of Eva’s lingering sadness over losing her parents, as well as her increasing sense of vulnerability during the story. “The Resurrection Stone” was perfect for those moments in TKC, especially for Eva’s “Dark Night of the Soul” scene.
What do you think of the five song choices? If you had to pick film soundtracks for your WIP’s novel playlist, which one(s) would you choose? Also, how is your WIP coming along?
Looking for the editing tips portion of Chronicling The Craft? Come back and read it in its own post on Saturday, May 21st!