I had a couple of false starts with this blog post. I’d write a couple paragraphs and then decide I wasn’t making any sense, or it was getting away from what I really wanted to say. Then I realized I don’t need to say much.
Below is a youtube video of KT Tunstall singing Black Horse and a Cherry Tree live. I found the video because I like the song. I wasn’t expecting that when I finished watching it my first thought would be, “Now that’s how layering is done.”
You’ll notice that KT is the only person on the stage. She has no band, no back-up, it’s just her, and her mixing. She starts with the tapping/clapping, then the tight strings, the tamborine, the “Whoo Hooo” then she begins playing and singing. Then again at 3:33, she starts layering in more to make a big finish.
Now think of the parts of a story…character, plot, dialogue, description, action, emotion, and remember that none of these things alone are as good as the whole. Knowing how to create each aspect of a story isn’t enough. To tell a truly great story, no matter what genre or format you work in, you need to also know how to juggle, blend and weave the parts together.