Yesterday was rough.
I don’t mean that in the “if it’s not rough it isn’t fun” way, either (though I’m kind of impressed with myself for combining my dog’s death with a raunchy Lady Gaga lyric).
I’m a fiend for music – even Lady Gaga, though that’s not generally my first (or second, or twelfth) choice of ear candy. I can’t stand to be in a car or at my computer without music playing. If someone cut off my access to Pandora, I’d probably never write another book again.
I’ve seen authors who compile soundtracks for their books, and while I haven’t gone that far, I definitely have songs that capture the mood I’m trying to create in certain scenes.
When I wrote the final love scene in LET IT BREATHE, I played Patty Griffin's "Change" over and over again. I must have hit replay 25 times before I had things nailed down just the way I wanted them (note the clever use of the word “nailed.”)
The Push Stars’ song “Claire” became my unofficial theme music for the budding relationship between Drew and Violet in BELIEVE IT OR NOT.
And every time I hear Joseph Arthur’s “Tattoo,” I’m back in the early chapters of MAKING WAVES, trying to capture the rhythm of a boat crashing through the ocean.
For me, it’s about mood more than lyrical content. “Change” isn’t the least bit romantic if you’re only paying attention to the words, but it set the tone I wanted for that scene in LET IT BREATHE. There’s no character named “Claire” in BELIEVE IT OR NOT and no one ever utters the phrase “I would die for you,” but there’s still a certain vibe to the song that captured the relationship between those two characters.
I was curious if my idea of vibe would match someone else's, or if it’s one of those subjective things. I whipped out the iPod in the car one afternoon and made Pythagoras listen to “Claire” first, then “Change.”
“So based on that,” I said. “What sort of mood would you guess each of the two love scenes might have?”
Pythagoras laughed. “Why do I think that last one is something I don't want my mom reading?”
Do you listen to music when you write? Do certain songs catch in your brain when you’re reading scenes in books?
Please share. I need to go download something new to scrub that Lady Gaga earworm from my brain.