Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The soundtrack of a book

Right now, I'm writing my second romance, SKIN TIGHT, (which will be published under Ava Gray). I have no idea if this is typical (other authors, please chime in), but as I go along, writing a book, I find songs to fit the mood. By the time I'm done, the soundtrack will often have as many songs as I have chapters. If I need to quickly get into my characters' heads, I play the song that suits the chapter I'm working on, and for me, that evokes the emotions the characters are feeling. It's a shortcut that saves me a lot of mental mojo.

I'm not sure why this works so well for me, but I suspect it's because I'm susceptible to music. Certain tunes make me sooo sad. To this day, I'll never forget hearing Seasons in the Sun on my cousin's record player, and crying my head off. Even as a kid, I understood how bleak the song was. (If you Google the lyrics, you'll see it's either about a dying man, or one about to commit suicide.)

You'll note that there are a number of hyper-emo selections on SKIN TIGHT's soundtrack. This book has a lot of angst to go along with the violence and sex, so emo strikes the right note. Selecting songs for the list also allows me to spend time getting to know my characters. As I'm listening to new music, pondering it, I'm asking myself, would the hero like this? Would the heroine? What does she listen to when she's cleaning the house?

Do you guys listen to music when you write? Readers, do you ever play a list on your computer when reading the author's books? Do you think that would enhance the experience, or would it be distracting? I'm interested in what you guys have to say about the book / music relationship.


Blodeuedd said...

It depends, if I have music on I want it to be soft so it doesn't disturb my reading. Loreena Mckennit is good for that.

When i write I do like to write to different sorts of music to fit my mood, and what I am writing. The Killers and King Of Leon are good for articles :)

Casey said...

I've never associated music with my writing. I don't even listen to music while I write. I find it too distracting. Of course, I do have a canary (Perry the Canary Mason) here in my office. He provides all the soundtrack I need!

Jess Granger said...

Awwww, I miss having a bird. Maybe I can get a little parakeet sometime.

I also can't listen to music. The fact is, I really am a visual learner. I have to concentrate hard to get anything out of music, and I find it messes with my typing if I listen to anything at all while writing because I have to split my concentration.

I also have a hard time finding things that are "perfect fits" for what I write. I appreciate good movie soundtracks though. I guess it is more than background music for me, because I think about it.

I loved what they did with the various musical themes for the different races in the LOTR movies. And the Gladiator soundtrack makes me cry every time I hear it.


Jackie Barbosa said...

I really can't write with music playing, at least, not if it has lyrics. For some reason, the words just get in the way of my own words. What's odd about that is that I have no trouble writing with the TV fact, I find it oddly conducive.

That said, the lyrics to songs often inspire story ideas for me. A single line or phrase can often be a springboard to an entire novel. But that still doesn't mean I can write the book while listening to the song that inspired it. I'm just funny that way, I guess.

azteclady said...

I can't listen to music and read at the same time, because I tend to pay attention only to one of these at any given time.

Even worse if the music has actual lyrics :grin:

Yeah, I'm crazy.

Angie Fox said...

Yes, I can't read or write with music on. It's like there's too many words. When my husband and I were first married, he wanted me to stay and read while he watched TV. I can't do that, either.

Jess Granger said...

If I'm reading, I can tune out anything, including childbirth.

(Thanks Gina Showalter)