(July 6 – 12)

This week I’ve continued with editing the real Chapter One of the novel (as opposed to the Prologue, a.k.a Fake Impostor Chapter One). There’s not a whole lot to say about this that I didn’t say last week, so if you didn’t read last week’s entry this is a really good moment for you to go and do just that.

One good thing

Last week I finally watched Hamilton (thank you Disney+, I bow down at your corporate all-media-consuming altar). I tried listening to the soundtrack last year, following in the eardrums of thousands before me, but I struggled to get into it and decided to ‘save’ it.

I’ve realised from this that I tend not to listen to music anymore—I just enjoy having it on in the background—and Hamilton is something that absolutely needs to be listened to. So, as soon as the film of the musical arrived I realised this was my … chance (sorry, just couldn’t go there). And now I have that visual reference, and the story, themes, characters, and setting locked in my memory, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack almost constantly.

Yes, I look almost fondly back on the days when I didn’t have one Hamilton song or another playing on constant repeat inside my head.

Anyway, while I think Hamilton is something that I could spend years studying and learning from, there were two main takeaways for me on this initial viewing. The first was a reminder that genre is not fixed. Hamilton switches effortlessly between musical genres, picking whichever one is appropriate for the mood/character/story beat at the time. The second is the wordplay. Part of the genius of Lin Manuel Miranda’s writing (and the delivery of the cast) is his ability to write dense layers of rhyme that play with but never stray from the meaning of his words. Furthermore, the structure of the rhyme isn’t imprisoned by the meter (e.g. the rhyme doesn’t always happen at the end of the line, as is traditional, nor do his sentences wrap up at the end of the line, instead but they break free and flow on and create an entirely new structure). It’s the sort of wordplay you don’t see/hear enough of. I’m not sure how I can use this to improve my writing, but I know that I want to … somehow.