Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jury duty + jazz = writing research

Writing sure seems to involve a whole lot of stuff that isn't writing.

At the SCBWI Western Washington Fall Retreat in 2008, I started a story that includes a feline who is all about jazz, as the protagonist's best friend. And what do I know about jazz?

Very, very little.

After receiving positive feedback from multiple sources on the work, I owe the story some quality time. This cat's voice won't be ignored--he keeps talking in my head (what? you didn't know that writing is the only profession where people are actually encouraged to adopt multiple personalities and hear voices in their heads?) and the idea of finding oneself through music is taking over the story, so I need to know what I'm writing about.

In fact, I REALLY have no excuse to not work on it, because when fate drops the founder of one of the top independent jazz labels, Origin Records, right into your lap (well, next to me - in a jury box at a criminal trial) you have no right to ignore the story that begs for the help sitting right next to you. The universe has spoken in a big way.

And that means more research. But research leads to writing, yes? Yes! And I can think of a lot more painful ways to spend my writing-less writing time.

So, recommendations in hand from my new favorite source, I embark on the jazz journey. If you are a jazz newbie, come along with me, and together, we can admire new musical territory with my main character. If you are a jazz...oldie?, you can laugh and shake your head at my pathetic stumbles through the genre. Either way, enjoy yourself! I intend to.

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