SidneyKay here from Kay's blog. I suspect - and I might be wrong - but if you are a reader of this blog or blogs similar to it, you are either a published author, a looking-for-an-agent writer, a struggling writer, a rejected writer, a hid-it-in-a-drawer writer, an afraid-to-show-your-friends writer or an I-have-a-brilliant-idea-I-wish-I-could-write writer. It doesn’t really matter which one you might be, for there is one thing that everyone has in common - a preponderance of ideas. These ideas can come out of anywhere, anytime, anyplace. You might see someone running inside to escape a storm, or be sitting in a theater and someone walks by smelling of the cold outdoors. You look out a window when it’s snowing and watch a flake slide down the pane. The smell of baking bread. Cloths hanging to dry. Anything can trigger a thought, a feeling; and a writer can take those small things and enlarge upon them until there is a 300-page masterpiece. Just remember that handy dandy journal/notebook/notepad better be close at hand or you’ll forget all your momentous idea!
Now, I happen to fall into the “afraid-to-show-my-work-to-my-friends, I’ll-stuff-it-in-a-drawer-and-wait-five-years-then-reread-it-and-groan” group. But that doesn’t stop the old light bulb from going off or stop me from getting up at three in the morning to scribble some illegible brain storm down.
As I said earlier, those brilliant ideas can come out of anywhere and one of the things that send me off into the realms of imagination is music. Just put on Loreena McKennitt and my brain’s working overtime. Sometimes it’s the melody and sometimes it’s the lyrics. In my opinion, there’s nothing like a lyric, good or bad, to create all kinds of visions flitting around in your mind. I am especially fond of old standards and I’m going to share some of those songs that always make my light bulb bright. Just so you know, I like windows – looking through a window to the world beyond is full of all types of possibilities. The world can be anything you want it to be. You may see something funny, sad, or frightening. Most of my scenes start with a character gazing out/in/through a window.
“I wanna be around to pick up the pieces
When somebody breaks your heart
Some somebody twice as smart as I.”
The I Wanna be Around…to Pick-up the Pieces window moment. It’s raining. At the window is a little girl, probably 8 or 9 and she’s crying. Then the crying stops. She watches as two teenage boys come into view. One is her brother and of course the other is her nemesis. The cruel boy, who just broke her heart, told her she had freckles, told her she was a baby and he didn’t want to play with her. She plots revenge. She’ll never ever forgive what’s-his-name; someday she’ll get even. Maybe when she grows older she’ll fall from trees when he’s having a romantic moment with someone else. I can see her complicating his life as they go through childhood together. And, I can see him being over-protective of her when she enters society. Maybe rescuing her or maybe, just maybe, she’ll rescue him. Of course, he won’t know that he needs to be rescued.
“I’ll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I’ll be looking at the moon
But I’ll be seeing you.”
The I’ll be Seeing You window moment. The red-headed woman is leaning against the window; her eyes are moist with unshed tears. Her hand slowly caresses her swollen stomach. Has she just received news of her husband’s death? Disappearance? Or was she not even married? Did she have a passionate encounter with a tall, dark, mysterious stranger? Will she ever forget him? Or will he show up like a bad penny? How many years will go by before these two will meet again? And, what kind of disruption will their future meeting bring? Maybe she will have married; maybe she’s in love with her husband. Maybe her husband is a beta hero and the passionate guy is an alpha. Are the two men brothers? Could be an interesting struggle.
“Gone is the romance that was so divine.
Tis broken and cannot be mended.
You must go your way,
And I must go mine.
But now that our love dreams have ended…”
The What’ll I Do window moment. This time we have a dark window, and standing below it looking up is a large, handsome man with silver streaks in his hair. Maybe he has a scar. He stares intently up at the window, willing someone to come. Is he remembering a smiling beautiful face – a welcoming face full of love? Is he filled with guilt and afraid to enter knowing that what he has to say will only bring pain? Maybe they were once lovers, but he has been cursed and must stay away from her or risk turning her into a vampire like himself…
“Life is so crazy
And love is so unkind.
Because she came first
Will she hang on your mind?
You’re part of me
And you don’t even know it
I’m what you need
But I’m too afraid to show it.”
The If I were Your Woman window moment. Sitting comfortably in the window seat are two young women laughing over a book they’re sharing. Hovering over them is there lifelong, childhood/friend/neighbor – Hank. Now we are about to enter one of those areas as a reader I never been particularly fond of, but, hey it’s my vision; maybe I can improve on it. Anyway, the girls are sisters. Hovering Hank is their best buddy, but he has a secret…he’s in love with the oldest sister. And of course she doesn’t know it. The youngest sister is in love with Hank and he doesn’t know it. The older sister knows the younger sister loves Hank and the younger sister knows Hank loves the older sister. These are nice sisters, none of those nasty sisters for me. In fact everyone here is nice, nice, nice. This could be a light fluffy read or I could take things into a dark corner. There are so many twists and turns we could do. He could go off to war and come back only to find that his love, the idea which sustained him during those horrible nights away, has married another. Or that the older sister is now interested in him, but he realizes it’s the younger sister he favors after all that time away. He might be bitter, filled with rage and wounds no one can see. Or not. I do like funny stories.
“Do I ever cross your mind
Uninvited when you’re lonely
Or does that only, only happen to me
And don’t you ever wonder
What became of all the time
And darlin’ do I ever, ever cross your mind”
The Do I Ever Cross Your Mind window moment. Sitting on the windowsill is a cat watching a little girl cry as the child looks out the window at her mother, sitting alone in the garden, weeping. That cat has tried everything a cat can do to bring the young girl out of her mood. You see, the little girl’s parents are separated, have been separated for over a year. Now, if this were a contemporary a divorce would be on the horizon; if it were historical, a divorce would be out of the question. Or perhaps it is a ghost who gazes longingly out the window, watching his wife and child play, wistful to be in a world where he no longer exists…
“I was dancin’ with my darlin’
To the Tennessee Waltz
When an old friend
I happened to see
I introduced her to my loved one
And while they were dancin’
My friend stole my sweetheart from me.”
The Tennessee Waltz window moment. Silhouetted by the window, a beautiful woman views the scene outside. Her hands clutch the drapery and a sneer appears on her lips. The sneer is on her lips because of the loving couple cavorting in the snow below. In case you didn’t get it with the sneer, she is an e-v-i-l woman. She is plotting. She wants that man – very much. Will she succeed? Will he be stupid like other romance heroes and not see the evil that lurks behind the lovely shell? Will she be able to seduce him away from his wife/fiancée/girlfriend? Will the other woman catch on in time? Will she be a doormat or will she put up a fight? Now, the big question! What color hair do the women have? Red hair for the evil woman with big boobs or red hair for the good woman with freckles? Heroines always have a dusting of freckles.
So, there you have it - some of my favorite songs and the window visions they create. What about you? Do you have a song that makes your mind whirl with ideas every time you hear it? Or do other things make your imagination run wild? A smell? A sound? Snow falling, wind blowing? The crunch of leaves in autumn? Two girls walking down the street – maybe twins – maybe not, but so different. What makes your light bulb go off?
Songs mentioned: I Wanna be Around…to Pick-up the Pieces by Sadie Vimmerstedt & Johnny Mercer, I’ll be Seeing You by Sammy Fain & Irving Kahal, What’ll I Do by Irving Berlin, If I were Your Woman by Pam Sawyer, Clay McMurray & Gloria Jones, Do I Ever Cross Your Mind by Dorsey Burnett & Michael Smotherman, Tennessee Waltz by Redd Stewart & Pee Wee King.