Images by Monica Tarocco, visual artist
Read our interview with Monica here
The Woolf sniffs around some pros of prose.
A writer’s voice is the storytelling voice. I imagine I’m sitting across from my writer, staring over the campfire flames, listening to story being voiced out loud, and watching every inflection. Those nuances I mentioned earlier; how the writer subconsciously employs the various tricks, connectors, scene-setting techniques, tension pulls – those are the roads to unique voice and rhythm – writer’s DNA.
How do you immerse yourself in the writer’s voice?
I love this question. I have no magic formula, I have many years’ experience and I love language, art and science. I’m continually growing as a human being and this comes into who we are as human beings. I feel I’ve lived enough to have some terms of reference in both knowledge and language, cultures, characters, situations, attitudes, motivations and mentalities. It’s about tuning in and drawing on experience. Talent is a part of it, and I give great credit to my parents and teachers. Voice, words, rhythm, they’re all essential and work together in a grand choreography. Punctuation … I’m a huge fan. It’s microsurgery, but the slightest fixes can do wonders.
Keeping the author’s voice is fundamental, but it’s back to the dance. It can be quite a fine line, but if you’re tuned in, it happens. As soon as the ego comes in, you’ve crossed the line. Maintain a sense of perspective as to why you’re doing the work and for whom.
How would you describe a successful author/editor relationship?
For me, trust is the key ingredient. Unless the relationship is built on trust there will always be difficulties. As a writer myself, I know how important it is to seek feedback from people whose opinions I value, but who don’t expect me to follow their ideas blindly. I want my clients to feel the same way. When I make suggestions for changes, that’s all they are – suggestions. It is up to the author to decide how, or if, to follow through on the ideas.
Writers often agonise over blurbs and synopses. Would you be the kind of person who could help a writer distil the essence of a story?
I have a system where I show authors how to get down to the heart of their stories and will then work with them to produce attention-grabbing synopses.
What kind of editing do you do?
I look after the small stuff. It’s more proofreading than editing, so I’m less of an editor and more of a proofreader with attitude. Typos, spelling, consistency, layout, basic grammar and common sense. I often find myself making suggestions on word-choice and smoothing sentences off a little, but large scale structure, characterization and narrative arc are not my areas. I’m the guy who polishes what Stephen King would call your little red wagon before you drive it home.
What kind of genres do you prefer to work on?
Any type, because I’m so involved in the words that the story doesn’t matter. I’m not there to judge, I’m there to work, so it can be chicklit or science fiction, it’s not important to me. It can even have dragons in it if it wants. The blurbs I do for the German publisher vary wildly from bunny-books for five-year-olds to 700-page treatises on European philosophy through the ages.
Libby O’Loghlin interviews a Zürich-based photographer and visual artist
The past is always present
You have two particular series of images—Via Roma 35 and Past Perfect, a selection of which are presented here in The Woolf—both of which interrogate ideas about time, past and present. What draws you to this theme?
When I was a child my favourite pastime was to stick my head for hours in the old family’s album full of beautiful, old, black-and-white photographs—and wonder who were all those persons that I never got to know. The goal of this game was to find some familiar elements in those stranger faces.
Starting from that, the theme ‘Time’ has always fascinated me, especially the past. I love the feeling of being surrounded by images, stuff, places that have a strong history. In some sense, one can really say that I have an inborn fondness for this theme.
You talk about the affinity that can occur between the family photographs you’ve used in your images and our (the viewer’s) own personal history. What ‘measure’ did you use in order to decide if an image was going to have an element of universality?
In my images I look for what Roland Barthes called ‘punctum’; that is, the stinging particular in a photo, the personally touching detail that establishes a direct relationship with the object or person Continue reading
Libby O’Loghlin talks to a man who gets to wear a Star Trek uniform to work
Ludiwig Wicki grew up on a farm in Kanton Luzern, where he began his musical life playing the trumpet and trombone.
Wicki travels widely as Founder and Conductor of the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, a 150-piece orchestra and choir, acclaimed for their ‘Live to Projection’ performances with movies such as Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Star Trek.
Tell us a little bit about what being a conductor involves.
As conductor, I lead a big group of strong individuals and very good musicians through a musical score. That means I show them the way. They have the music, and they need someone who can give them the tempo and coordinate things. I’m a coordinator and a creator, and I can shape the music. When I conduct very flat and boring, and then the concert will be boring. When I give passion and tension, or go forward and backward to make it lively, then the orchestra go with me and the audience experience that.
It’s also the job of the conductor to prepare the music properly, to hear what’s wrong, to find problems, solve them, to keep the musicians working, practising properly. Sometimes you have to be a bit direct, to give them deadlines. That’s the game.
What attracted you to film projects in the beginning?
The film music! I love it. Often the music is for me more impressive than the film. If you come from that direction, you can see that our first dream (as the 21st Century Orchestra) was to perform film music live, as music.
In fact, that was the idea at the beginning. Then we [with Pirmin Zängerle, business partner] discovered Lord of the Rings and through that we came to the idea of screening complete films with live soundtracks. That’s special. There are the two mediums and also the challenge to bring so many things together: the score, choir, orchestra, and the film … all this, it’s a very special moment.
People often think film music is not as good as concert music but that’s not true. When you take the film out, a lot of pieces work on their own, and are very good compositions.
I attended the first performance of Star Trek in Luzern in April this year and was blown away by the power of the choir and orchestra’s performance. To what do you attribute the power of live performance with film? Is it any different than, say, downloading a film from iTunes?
Yes, yes! It’s much different. That’s the luck we have with this kind of project. First of all, you hear the music much more in front of the movie; in the movie itself, the director and mixer often take down the music because they love special effects and dialogue. But we care about the music, and that means that often the music is extremely powerful, and Continue reading