Thursday, 19 June 2008

The Hills Are Alive....

Ouch. I seem to have left an inordinate amount of time since blogging my last, but life has been a tad busy. In the interim I have been dealing with the copyedited and now proof version of Strictly Love. I have just waved goodbye to the latter, and with something of a pang waved goodbye to characters with whom I've lived now for over a year.

Looking at page proofs of something you've written is a weird experience. The words don't look right. I frequently read something and think, Did I really write that? then go back and check and realise somehow I have. This time around I was hit by a huge wave of self doubt, so much so that I am tempted to believe the kind Amazon reviewer who pronounced Pastures New to be "dreadful drivel". At this stage of the process it is almost impossible to see the wood for the trees, and I know from my editing days it is perfectly possible to change something for the worse if you're not careful, so I have gritted my teeth and only changed the Huge Howlers (two characters inexplicably changed names halfway through) and the continuity errors I'd managed to introduce after some severe rewriting. I am hoping the end result is nowhere as bad as it feels right now. I have lost all sense of emotion attached to the book, which is wierd when you consider that I was so immersed in their story at one point I actually cried at a scene I'd written. But I guess, as Surallen would say, it's part of the process...

The one bit of the book though, that I do remain inordinately proud of is the dancing scenes. I think they do work, and writing them was an absolute blast.

In my real life we recently took the children to see the Sound of Music which was appropriate because Emily is a huge fan. I was labouring under the delusion that you can quote from songs in books without paying huge copyright fees if you have your characters quote from them, but helas, this has proved not to be the case. I have a scene where Mark comes back drunk having spent an evening with Emily, singing The Hills are Alive... but have had to paraphrase instead.

Watching the thing on stage I was actually quite struck how few songs there are in it, apart from Hills/ How do you solve a problem like Maria?/Doh a deer/Raindrops and roses/ I am sixteen, there isn't alot else. I was hoping for a bit more dancing too. Last year we went to see Mary Poppins and the dancing was stunning. The only bit of dancing in this is when Maria and the captain dance and fall in love. Which would have worked brilliantly except that I didn't believe there was an ounce of compatibility between them up to that point. The script though is wonderful, as they suddenly realise how they really feel about each other, and the dance itself was executed beautifully.

It wasn't quite as good as Mary Poppins, but we did enjoy it and Summer Strallen makes a worthy successor to Connie Fisher.

On which note I leave you with this, the hilarious trailer for How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? which we never got round to watching (though we've followed Jodie's journey to being Nancy avidly).


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