Wednesday, April 24, 2013

White Wedding - Songs As Chapter Titles

This post is part of a series about the chapter titles of Strong Enough.

The title of my prologue is "White Wedding." I didn't decide to use song titles for my chapters until 2011. Until then, the prologue was just called the prologue.

Using Billy Idol's "White Wedding" may seem obvious because of the title and original video. It was a fun choice, yes, but it was also a deeply appropriate song lyrically
  • Whitney wants to start again;
  • She's looking for Superman (and I had already designed a radio show around Superman before I realized that this lyrical reference existed);
  • A shotgun wedding is a interesting as a stereotype/cultural assumption
And then there's this stanza:

There is nothin' fair in this world
There is nothin' safe in this world
And there's nothin' sure in this world
And there's nothin' pure in this world
Look for something left in this world
Start again 

So why a cover version of White Wedding by Herman's Hermits on the album When Pigs Fly? Several reasons.
**Click to go to album on Amazon
  • How hilariously bizarre is this compilation? It's totally something I can see Whitney buying and since it was released in May 2002, it's ideal;
  • The cover sound is fantastic for the Midwestern theme
  • Gabe sings cover songs in a bar--hat tip;
  • Finally, I have a favorite sarcastic response-- "when little winged piggies are skating in Hades" so I absolutely loved this album title.
In my personal Strong Enough playlist, I also have the VH1 Storytellers: Billy Idol version. It's amazing.

Some Insight into the Prologue
In the very first version of the prologue, I lead the reader to believe Whitney was attending a funeral until the bride and groom floated past, angry. The scene made me giggle and I enjoyed surprising the reader. Also, I thought it was the best way to emphasize that the character wasn't wearing fashionable black.

I seriously started the novel after I moved to Boston. While living there, I took some masters courses in creative writing. I work-shopped my prologue and was deeply criticized for "tricking the reader." With sadness, I shelved my opening.

Originally the novel shared settings in New England and the Midwest but after the first draft, I removed all ties to the east coast. Years later, a friend told me how much she loved the wedding scene. This was important feedback. Knowing a Midwesterner enjoyed my vision of a black veil worn to a wedding encouraged me to embrace the humor. I also accepted the advice of the writing class and removed the misleading description and laid it out there--the main character wears mourning to a wedding in a quirky small town infused with respect for tradition. Now the question was why? The real answer isn't the one Whitney tells herself at the beginning.

**I am not shilling for Amazon. This is the only place I can find the album.