Emily MacGowan: My Booktrack Experience

Emily MacGowan

When I saw the announcement for the Hugh Howey Fanfiction Contest on Twitter, I knew I had to enter. I'd read Half Way Home a few months earlier, and the characters were still alive in my mind. I considered a few ways of looking at the story, like expanding on a scene with some of the minor characters, or looking into the future to see what might have happened. I eventually decided that the thing which most intrigued me was the question: What would the corporation have done with the information in the payload? Not just the information about the vinnies, but about the behavior of the colonists. In an alternate ending to Half Way Home, I tried to answer that question.

Being new to Booktrack, it took me a while to get used to the tools, but once I did, I was hooked. It's both challenging and rewarding putting your scenes to music – should they be pensive or dramatic? Romantic or suspenseful? How many sound effects should you use? Working with the background sounds like rain and footsteps made me really think about the atmosphere I was creating with my words. Several times, I revised the text to suit the sounds I was adding, and that process deepened my writing and helped me paint a stronger picture.

It was fantastic to finally read my story with a full soundtrack when I was finished. Sometimes I re-read my own writing and disconnect emotionally, focusing on minutiae like the cadence of sentences, but with a soundtrack I was able to let myself fall into the flow of the story, and even felt anxious and surprised by my characters' actions. Booktrack is a great tool for both creating and enjoying stories, but be warned – it can be extremely addictive!

emily-mac-gowanCheck out Emily's finalist profile page and prize-winning entry here.

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