Saturday, March 17, 2012

Can You Feel the Music?

When I first started writing toward publication, I couldn't comprehend the idea of writing to music. I thought it would be distracting and I'd end up typing song lyrics instead of the words that were meant for my manuscript.

Then... the manuscript stalled for me. A friend suggested writing to music. I cringed. And then I agreed to try it--if she could recommend some non-classical instrumental-only stuff. So began my love affair with Apocalyptica, but also... I finished the manuscript and developed an addiction to writing to music.

I moved on from instrumental-only and created playlists for every manuscript. When I first began doing it, I tried to make each playlist completely unique, but I found that didn't work for me. Too different meant that it was a distraction, just as I'd always feared. Then, rather than trying to make everything different, I just picked songs that spoke to me AND to the story. In the end, that means a lot of my playlists feature the same artists, and often the same songs, over and over.

Now, that seems logical enough, but the funny part is that I can tell them apart. If I have on the wrong playlist (even if 50% of the artists/songs are the same) it distracts me and I can't sink into the music to write what I'm working on. For me, the playlist itself--the very order and slight variety of songs--speaks to the story. It's my entry point to the world, and without it the writing is harder.

The playlist for Pretty Souls was one of the first I created. For fun, I want to play a little game. Some of you have read Pretty Souls, but for those who haven't, here's the blurb:

My life followed a simple pattern. 
Run to keep my inner wolf asleep. 
Make sure my blood-sucking foster sister, Cass, feeds. 
Hunt for supernatural trouble when we should be sleeping. 
Keep my grades up and my head down. 
It was mostly a game. 
Until people started wandering around like living zombies. 
Until people I care about started getting hurt. 
Until the menace came knocking on my front door. 
Game’s over. 
Time for the soul-stealer to realize just because he’s hunting something doesn’t make it prey. 
Cass and I bite back. 
~The Paranormal Response Team~ 
Saving the World Before Breakfast

There is also an excerpt here.

With what you know of the story, what song (or songs) would you have put on the playlist? 

(At the end of the week, I'll post the actual playlist I made when I wrote the book. And if anyone nails one of the songs, I'll draw one of the "right" answers randomly and give away some sort of prize--to be discussed with the winner. As a hint, there are no Apocalyptica songs on the soundtrack, but there's one below just because I love them.)

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