Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hanging on a chord

**#*#*#Dusts off blog**#*##**

I'm back! It's been too long, both from RTW and blogging in general. I have it in my head that I am not allowed to write ANYTHING except my thesis, but then that just turns into me watching marathons of BBC shows. So nuts to you, writing embargo: I'm playing again.

This weekIf your WIP were music, what song(s) would it be?

And what a good week to do so! Scars and first kisses... eh. My stories are not so great. My memory is dismal – embarrassingly so, for a writer. But songs to inspire/embody/accompany writing? I can DO that.

Even better, my writing moratorium introduced two brand new book ideas to my brain, the most recent of which came directly from a fantastically joyous song from a fantastically joyous band that I found on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts series last week, which I immediately bought the album of. The joyous song in question? Right here:
I now have a very promising, rollicking, heart-string-tugging contemporary bildungsroman WIP on my hands, with a cheeky narrator and an achingly dear best friend. Also, a growing playlist to support it (See: Local Natives' AirplanesRa Ra Riot's Can You Tell and Too Dramatic, both).

The other song that immediately sprang to mind is tied to my oldest WIP, the fantasy/adventure/time-travel YA that is now undergoing a major revision. My attempts at making a more substantial playlist for this project continue to come to naught, as it has spanned the longest period of time, from pre-grad school to now, and my tastes and interests in music keep changing. OKGo's WTF, however, has stuck like glue to my conception of Temerity's world since I first saw it, and seems only to grow more pertinent as time passes. Chicken and egg, probably.
My latest tweaking, especially, has turned Temerity's story into something that this video even embodies (to a degree), beyond just the aural elements. Yes, by that I mean TOTES TRIPPY. Other songs that might flesh that playlist out are Bat for Lashes' Horse and I, the whole tone of this Black Dub Tiny Desk Concert, The Head and the Heart's Down in the Valley, at least at the moment, but the OKGo is here to stay.

What I have found, with this WIP, is that songs for individual character playlists come to me much more readily than story-based ones (the first two in my list are for my MC, Black Dub is for the warrior girl's relationship, Down in the Valley is for the male protag/romantic lead). I'm not sure what that says about the story, or me as a writer – it isn't like I have much experience building book-based playlists, after all – but I do find it interesting.

What about you guys: character-associated or story-associated? Or something else entirely? I never did like a binary.


  1. Oh, why didn't I think of posting two choices! And I would have to say character-associated. My WIP is High Fantasy. There is way too much going on to pick just one song.

  2. I associate songs with stories or scenes. I don't have a lot of songs for each specific character. But that's a great idea that I might have to steal.

  3. Oh, I lurve the Tiny Desk Concerts. I've found such great music through them!

  4. the music that inspires me usually has haunting lyrics, ones that will really stick in the brain. sometimes they invoke a particular scene or plot thread and others, they help me to mold a character or three. nice post :)

  5. I'm jealous of people who can make playlists associated with characters! Mine tend to be more about mood, because I just can't get songs to stick with my characters.

  6. Wow love them both! And I'm a fan of Local Natives and Ra Ra Riot too :) I'd be very interested in reading the OK Go WIP. Totes trippy hahah

  7. Came over from YA Highway. For some reason the first one reminds me of Billy Joel and the second reminds me of Prince. Interesting how old and new combine!

  8. i am WAY behind on the times and as such, am just now getting to the idea that music can fuel the muse. i know. i know! but it started with the fact that i can't listen to music while i write since the lyrics get in the way of me producing my own words...BUT listening to the song before i write, now there's where the magic happens.

    p.s. i love the yellow design of your blog.

  9. Your first choice is so bouncy and fun! The video is lovely and I can really get a sense of the friendship your characters must have.

    And my goodness that man has amazing eyes...


  10. Tracey and Kaitlin: I think half of the reason behind my tendency to have character-matched songs is my utter fear of having to conduct an interview with individual characters, like so many writers advise/swear by; it just seems like so much nosey busy work! Songs, though, songs can get me details without being too detail-y…if that makes sense.

    Eliza: my OkGo WIP is fantasy, not High, but fantasy, so I totally get where you're coming from – that's why most of the choices I make change over time, because there's just too MUCH to cling to. And why Bat for Lashes is there. If she's not High Fantasy, I don't know who is.

    Karla: See above for haunting tone and lyrics – that Natasha Khan has them COVERED. I am totally with you on that kind of music use!

    Rebecca and KT: RIght? Three cheers for NPR and hipster tastes! ;-)

    Becky: Ah, Prince. If he can inspire Emma Bull, OkGo can do for me. Old and new, indeed!

    Abby, my dear: Yeah, wordy songs WHILE writing is a poor recipe. Probably also while grading, but I REFUSE TO BE BEATEN DOWN by 70 essays in silence. So, there's that. Ahem. But I was thinking of you and Vedmastic and wondering what kind of Halloween party music you had in your head for the opening scenes while writing this, so maybe that can be your first experiment! Spooky, witchy party music. I'd be down.

    Miss Cole: OHMAGAHD his eyes! Right?! Piercing, happy, amazing. I should write a book just about his eyes. […] Mm, maybe that would be creepy. I'll stick to the WIP on the line, let the eyes just inspire me. And the bounciness!


Intense Debate Comments