We all strive to get our work just perfectly so, to tell a good story with well-rounded characters and some kind of grip in the plot, which is to be commended, but don’t neglect adding details that will provide a “wow” factor.
Although it’s not for everyone—as with any given novel—, the music of Pink Floyd has that “wow” factor. At first, it sounds about as trippy as Strawberry Fields but if you let the words, strange chords and unusual sounds linger for a while, you’ll see it all contains shades of sorrow and joy, irony and societal satire and commentary that is difficult to appreciate at go one. It’s not drug music at all…it’s art. And many Breaking Benjamin songs are so rich with metaphor that every listener comes away with a different meaning like their song entitled Dance with the Devil.
It has nothing to do with the actual devil. It’s just a metaphor, which could mean giving your life away to debauchery while ignoring its destruction, a loss of life or love, the inability to save a friend, turning your back on responsibilities, drug addiction. I’ve heard commentators all over the web give a different meaning for this song. Kind of funny and cool all the same.
You can infuse, braid and paint multiple layers into your works to create greater texture: secrets for the setting/town or minor characters that are uncovered little by little, codes to be unlocked, dark humor, irony, satire, themes, multi-layered metaphors, mini plots that weave in and out of your main plot.
A pro at layering is Eric Wilson, author of Dark to Mortal Eyes and Jerusalem’s Undead Trilogy. He has character and prop connections in most of his books, where one minor character will be related to a character in another book or the mystery surrounding a relic in one novel is revealed in another. He also infuses his love for chess, Eastern Europe and Judaic history.
As long as the things you write flow in the story in a non-cumbersome way, it’s okay to weave in undercurrents and nods for things, tiny treasures to be unearthed by your keenest readers.
For instance, I am a Red Sox fan, so my main characters in Kings & Queens are also Red Sox fans. One of my character’s had a dog named Dewey (nn for Dwight Evans, for those who don’t know) and Carlton Fisk’s name pops up a few times (one of the best catchers ever). The two jersey numbers worn by Fisk during his career tie into the plot and I refer to Don Mattingly as being from the Evil Empire. Most readers will gloss over these details, but they’re there for savvy fans to find.
In the 80’s when Family Ties and Growing Pains were on air, Michael J. Fox and Kirk Cameron had an on-going competition with one another to see how many times they could spin in any given episode. Would any viewer even give the spinning a second thought? No. It’s a private joke between them. That’s funny and cool.
Don’t be afraid to build in those little extras. Deeper nuances, richer details and surprising angles and tie-ins will make your work much more resonating. For keen eyes and minds, your hidden jewels will make the read unforgettable.
~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.