Yesterday, my withdrawals from seeing U2 in concert made me listen to their music almost all day. I had to do something to get over the musical high. Well, I ended up listening to their song Mysterious Ways like twelve times.
I tend to focus on the singer/lyrics of songs—everything else is pushed to the background. But this time around, I found myself focusing on each of the instruments individually and tuning out the others. Let me tell you, it’s hard for me not to listen to Bono’s voice. Anyway. The drums were being hit with a vibrant beat that varied throughout the song. The bass was thrumming with subtle precision that I could feel in my chest. The guitar electrified the song with power. And the lyrics were sung with a surge of intensity that made me fall in love with the song, again.
This exercise got me thinking about how you can’t have a kicking, rocking song like Mysterious Ways without having all of the elements (singer, guitar, bass, and drums) pulled together in a fluid expression of music. This is the same in writing. Without characters, plot, pacing, dialogue, and setting, a story won’t become a fluid masterpiece. If the characters are lacking development and the plot is falling short to grasp the reader(s) attention, then the story won’t shine. It’s the same with the technical properties of writing; grammar and punctuation. Those elements can throw readers off from the stories flow. In the end, the story must have all of these fundamentals well-executed.
The more times I go through my MS, the more I see how it can unravel into a polished whole. Also having others read it will help you become aware of what your story is lacking.
That makes me think of something someone told me last summer. They said that there will be numerous edits as I write my book. I didn’t believe them. Oh, man, I do now. It takes a lot of time cultivating your story and making sure that all its elements are well-meshed together. That’s what will get your story to its end. The End. The editing process is not easy, but it’s worth it. And you know what? It helps you to become more intimately familiar with your story; it’ll be even more alive and tangible. At that point, your story will have blossomed as magnificently as U2’s Mysterious Ways.
Photography by Julia King.