Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Fixing "Songs from a Different Shore"

The poem "Songs from a Different Shore" needs work.

First, I goofed on the ballet.  I looked up songs to be recorded in the music box, including historic ballets, but forgot to check the exact premier date.  "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" came out too late, in 1892, as my_partner_doug pointed out.  One of the ground rules for writing alternate history is that if you change something on purpose, you need to understand what you're doing and preferably why, and hint or declare it so readers will recognize it as a deliberate shift.  If you forget to look something up and get the date wrong, that's just a mistake (although sometimes when you ask yourself, "When would this have happened in my timeline?" you will discover that it was  different...).  In case you were wondering, The Steamsmith starts in 1837, not long after the coronation of Queen Victoria: right at the beginning of the Victorian period.

So, I tracked down a replacement song, "The Sylphide Calls the Sylphs."  This led me through articles on the history of ballet, then a Wikipedia article about La Sylphide, and finally a Ballet Bag article with a track list.  I've made that change.

Then I noticed the title.  In the original file, and in the body of the post, it's "Songs from a Distant Shore."  But when I typed it into the title of the post, I wrote "Songs from a Different Shore."  Now consider the final line of the poem, which is "singing the songs from a different shore."  Ideally, the title and the final line should match.  The words "distant" and "different" have subtly different connotations.  Which do you prefer, and why?

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, editing, fishbowl, history, music, poetry, reading, writing

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