On Writing

All the Worlds a Stage…A Rock Stage

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My musical tastes are best described as eclectic. My iPod’s 10 gigs of music contains classical, dub-step, electronic, guilty pleasures like Abba and of course classic rock. From the best of the one hit wonders to today’s selections that are destined to be tomorrow’s one-hit-wonders. I have many moods so I need a lot of musical selections to fit them.

Music was my first introduction to poetry. In many ways the only poetry that sells these days is the stuff surrounded by music. And for me, no song is “good” unless the lyrics are good. I won’t disparage Rap, Hip-Hop or whatever they are calling songs that talk about killing people, slapping yo hoe, or ridin’ dirty. I’ll just say that those lyrics I find to be the anti-thesis to life. Music and words should inspire more than our most base behavior…although certainly old school bands like Kiss are equally guilty of a single theme that begins with S and ends in X.

Still, I require “smart” or meaningful lyrics to enjoy a song. Of course I am also white and in my forties so it is equally helpful if there is an opportunity for me to demonstrate my air guitar or drum skills…in private, always in private. I mean I do have enough social intelligence to know not to be “that guy.” Being cool at my age is best accomplished by employing a silent air of mystery, some small degree of foot-tapping…my sports edition Mercedes covers the rest. Blog-3-pic-1-MB-of-SA-2013-C-Class

I’ve written a lot of poetry (not good) in my life, listened to a lot of music and have written a good share of prose. But these were pretty-much separate endeavors. I never connected the three…until the Creepers Saga. It happened by accident. My writing mechanism was to visualize each scene in my head and then put it to paper a little later. I worked out details and troublesome scenes by laying out by the pool and seeing the little movie in my head. But I never do the tanning thing without the iPod thing…too boring. So it came to be that I was listening and thinking and the music inspired the scene’s tempo and emotion.

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In writing book one and two I found that I needed a soundtrack. Before I could write a scene I needed to find the “right” song to move it along. It helped immensely with the process. Today, I can’t separate the play-list from the chapter. I’ll never listen to Looks that Kill by Motley Crue without “seeing” the character Annie in a knife wielding rage or hear When Star Go Blue without thoughts of the character Goldie’s sad back-story. The music and the words are now deeply intertwined. Every chapter and sub-chapter has a theme song. Something that represents the scene.

I think there is a connection between the fact that the character Goldie lives in a world silent, except for the songs on her father’s iPod. She’s hearing what I’m hearing when I write the story. In a way that character carries all the emotion of the stories. And the music has become the key to unlock the third and final (hopefully) book in the series. Because I have a big and concerning challenge and the music seems the only way to accomplish what I need (want) to accomplish.

Without any spoilers (for those of you who continue to disappoint me by not reading The Creepers Saga) the first book is filled with hope, but the second book takes a darker emotional tone. It was necessary as every resurrection requires an exodus from the light into the darkness. Darkness is not where I want to finish. Not where I’d ever leave my beloved characters. Book 3 needs to bring back the hope for me to feel I’ve treated my characters, their journey and their sacrifices with the respect deserved. And the way I get there is with…the correct soundtrack.

It is important to my writing process…or at least for this series as I’ve found the soundtrack wasn’t required for The Devil’s Hour. So although I should be writing the third book, Our Light in Darkness, I found I had to first outline AND put together the soundtrack. I had to use the music to outline the emotional content of the unwritten chapters. To give me a guide through the darkness so I could find the words that will bring the story to the light. It’s strange to think of a story outlined by “emotion” and tempo, but there it is.

So as I prep for the A to Z challenge, write volumes of material for my day-job, and prepare for a deep-dive into my third novel, I thought I’d share the soundtrack with you. I made a play-list that follows each chapter and sub-section and you can listen to it on Spotify through this link. (Sign up is free for Spotify. There is an embedded player below which seems to only include 37 of the 46 tracks)

If you’ve read the first two stories, you may find it interesting to know the emotional ride book 3 intends…or you may just find it’s some really good music…or it may just give you pause to wonder how I write to that “crap” at a full-volume assault.

To the last all I can say is that it’s easier than killing zombies.

4 replies »

  1. I’ve never made a soundtrack for my writing before. I have listened to particular types of music when working on certain stories (Celtic, soundtracks, etc.), but I’ve never made a soundtrack. Now I’m wondering if that would clear the cobwebs from my brain and get me writing again…also, to those that continue to disappoint Raymond: GO READ THE CREEPERS SAGA! You won’t regret it.

Keep it sane

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