• Sheryl Gwyther

#4 The power of music ... and creating a story

Research for my story has been a thing of joy and discovery already. As I write, I live my young street urchin's journey to discover her past, and to follow her destiny as a great singer.

A universal story ... the quest to find one's place in the world, and the love of a real family.

Now, I embark on a journey to experience the sensory input that will come from walking in Caterina's footsteps across her island city.

So, how to know what Venice looked like back in 1715 when my story is set?

Luckily for me, one of Venice's best painters was out there every day doing his thing in the 1700s. Giovanni Antonio Canal, aka Cannaletto, most brilliant artist and recorder of the landscape, the architecture and the people of Baroque Venice, and not only the people, but the dogs as well.

Weaving two narratives together is tricky. I need to ensure Antonio Vivaldi's intriguing presence does not eclipse that of Caterina's. It is after all her story.

Vivaldi struggled to follow his creative genius, against illness, against the pressure of those who thought the red-haired priest should be following his religious calling with more enthusiasm.

He also faced a constant need to compose music for money (yep, just like authors and artists today). He tried to ignore the critics who derided him for making foolish, 'performance' music especially his concerto called The Four Seasons, but it would've hurt.

Most people today only know Vivaldi for his Four Seasons - background music, from TV ads, elevator muzak. But he composed over 700 pieces of music, from concertos to operas and sacred music - innovative, passionate, intense, spiritual, poignant and powerful.

Much of his work has been lost to the world, but even in this decade, his handwritten and published notes and compositions have been discovered in ancient, dusty libraries and performed.

You can see why I have to be careful to not let my passion for this brilliant musician take over Caterina's narrative - she is the centre, she is the one who leads us a merry dance through the four seasons of that year, 1715.

I'm 3/4 through an edited draft, and Caterina is still in charge because she is a powerful character in her own right.

I can't wait to finish this novel and send it to my favourite publisher ... although, I'll be open to

offers, of course!

Countdown: 11 days until we fly north to Berlin.

Till next time. Signing off...


#travel #writing #Australianchildrensauthors #music #Vivaldi