Monday, June 30, 2008

My True Love (in case you didn't know)

I have a confession. As much as I love writing and reading, my true love is music. I would be happy if I could just sit and listen to (and sing along with) music twenty-four-seven. So it probably comes as no surprise that for each of my novels I create a soundtrack. Heck, I'll read other people's novels and start assigning songs I hear to them too.

Creating a soundtrack while I write can help me stay focused, to be able to review my plot in an hour (or the hour, fifteen minutes that I aim my soundtracks to be so they can be put on a CD if I want). Listening to music in search of a soundtrack can at times provide just the inspiration I need for a scene. When I'm done with the novel and soundtrack, listening to it can provide me with a happy reminder of the story and characters. And finding that perfect song for a scene or a character, especially in a spot that had seemed impossible to fill a minute ago can completely make my day (even make my life as some YAYAers would say).

For the first time I just finished my soundtrack for a WIP before I finished the actual WIP. I usually end up finishing the soundtrack a month after the first draft. It usually takes just a little longer to find those perfect songs and get the playlist the length I want than it does to write the words.

I prefer to make a soundtrack chronological, with a song per important scenes and character-based songs put in where it makes sense for them to be. I know some people make soundtracks other ways, and some not at all.

So, share your experiences. Do you soundtrack? Just know of one or two songs that you relate to your novel? Never considered it? If you do make a playlist, how do you make it? Is there a process you go through? How does it help you with your novel writing and/or enjoyment? And if you want, share some of your favorite songs and how they relate to your novels or characters. You know me. I'd love to hear about them.

Lots of love,


Trish Doller said...

I almost always listen to music while I write and I've compiled soundtracks to all my different WIPs. My playlist for MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY is heavy on traditional ska and reggae, with a dash of punk. My playlist for NATURALLY CARRIE is more mellow with Jack Johnson and Colbie Calliat. And Breaking Rule #2 is The Clash, Elvis Costello, Beat Union, and The Jam.

SuzanneYoung said...

I usually find a few songs and put them on my ipod when I start writing a book. Mostly love songs... cuz I'm sweet like that. haha.

But the last playlist I made was two books ago, so I think I'm slacking.

Still, listening to music helps me get "in the mood". heh heh. FOR WRITING!!!! Sheesh.

hannah said...

"(even make my life as some YAYAers would say)."


As Sage knows, I do indeed make soundtracks....usually I have one or two songs that really sum up the whole ms.

These Humans All Suck was my easiest soundtrack. I just listened to the American Idiot CD again and again and again and again.

Sage said...

Usually when I'm "auditioning" music for my soundtracks, I'll find an artist or a CD that I'll be like "OMG, this entire thing is so my WIP!" But when I get to the actual soundtrack, I try to vary the music. Three songs by the same artist is really the max for me (and even then, I'm checking to see if something else would work just as well for one of them).

I'm very particular, though. I also won't let two songs by the same artist be back to back. And it thrills me when I get several girls on my soundtracks, 'cuz I tend to gravitate more towards male artists when it comes to them.

My *best* soundtrack is for HEVN SNT. I discovered this recently when I was taking a break from Love Sucks's soundtrack (my most recent WIP). The songs work so well, and hit just the right emotion for the scenes. Right from the first song, Five for Fighting's "If God Made You" set when Tia's in Heaven with her brother and about to leave.

Love Suck's might be my most varied soundtrack. More soft ballads than I usually have (one character's songs are all ballads), but mixed in is some rock, and alternative, pop, folk. I have Motion City Soundtrack, Dar Williams, and Miley Cyrus all next to each other. Eclectic I am :-)

Chantal said...

Nope, I work in silence (or as much as possible with two roudy sisters, a dad who's practically deaf, a yappy dog, a main avenue just outside the window...). I've tried with music and I just end up singing and not writing.

Well, I don't write much in the first place so...

I'm not much of a music person really although I know a lot of songs.

LizR said...

I've usually got anywhere from one to three songs per manuscript that, somewhere along the line, connected themselves to the story in my head. They can really help me get into the right mood when I'm writing.

A couple of times, it was the song itself and the mood and images it created that initially brought the story into view for me.

Jacqui said...

I usually listen to whole albums. They're more likely to fit the voice of my main character, or the mood I want the book to have, than the action in any given scene. But mostly they're like a signal to my brain to start writing.

By the end of the book, I am TIRED of its album.

Pink Ink said...

I don't write to specific songs, per se, but a certain style of music does get me in the right frame of mind for my W.I.P. When I write my Philippine novels, it helps to listen to Philippine music; my brain switches to that culture/language, even if the text is mostly English.

Stumbled upon this from AW. I am also an aspring published YA novelist. Wonderful group; cool blog.

Vanessa Concannon said...

My soundtracks are always pretty chilled-out, sometimes psychedelic, sometimes (usually) pretty dreamy.

One awesome thing for me was Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple...EVERY song matched both of my protags at different points in the story/backstory. Seriously, how boss is that?