Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The Importance of Playlists
I've discussed music & writing several times on this blog. I can't imagine one without the other. Creating a playlist is one of the first things I do when I start a new project, and I add new songs to it as I'm writing. I don't listen to those playlists exclusively while I'm writing, but I often go back to them when I'm feeling stuck, or at crucial points to get an extra bump of inspiration or emotion.
For my current novel, I reached back to my inspiration band. Stars has been inspiring my writing for ages, and they are probably the only band I'm a fan of that I enjoy 99% of their work, so much that listening to one of their songs set the wheels in motion for one of my novels. I knew the tone of this novel would be different than my previous works, more introspective. I set out to look for music with that tone in my music library. Don't Be Afraid to Sing came on my Itunes DJ and it became the perfect song, and it's the anthem of my novel.
I like to think I have a pretty good taste in music, but my characters don't always have exactly my taste, or sometimes they can influence it. For my second novel, music isn't a primary interest of any of the characters. When I was creating that playlist, Taylor Swift's Mine had just been released, and it became the love anthem of my characters. I still can't listen to that song without my heart going a bit soft. It's a perfect song for their sweet, first love story.
In my playlists I have songs that I think reflect the theme of the story, but sometimes I happen across a song on Pandora or in my own music collection that makes me think "Oh, x character would like that." On average my novel playlists have about twenty songs, and I listen to them even after I'm done with a project, or if I've abandoned it, to be reminded of what I felt when I was writing.
Is music important to your writing?