Soundtracks

My goal yesterday was to get to page 320, and I made it. Barely. I’d been on 308, then I cut so I had 304, so 16 pages yesterday.

The plan today is 10 pages.

My friend Kris swears by soundtracks for her books. She says listening to the songs she selects, over and over, helps her get into the story.

I have to agree. I remember writing a book at my old house. I’d write in the back yard, on the patio table, with my CD player in front of me. I would listen to two CDs over and over, and it did take me into the world of my story.

Plus…my computer is in the living room. Sometimes I need to drown out the TV! Of course, my son and I keep swapping out headphones – I like headphones, he likes earbuds.

I’ve made soundtracks for the last two books, Surface and DLB. Finding the songs is like making a collage for me. I hear a song and think that needs to go on my soundtrack. I put it on a playlist on iTunes, so I don’t actually burn it. Because some of my playlists are pretty long.

My soundtrack for DLB:

Hurt by Johnny Cash
Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

Both those songs really describe my hero’s philosophy. I would love the song “Hero” from the first Spiderman movie, but it’s not on iTunes, and I’m not buying the Spiderman soundtrack for one song. Of course, that wouldn’t be his philosophy as much as mine.

Sweet Fire of Love by Robbie Robertson
Chances Are by Robert Downey JR and Vonda Shepard
Need You Tonight and Never Tear Us Apart by INXS
Several songs from Hope Floats
We Belong by Pat Benatar
No One Is to Blame by Howard Jones

The realization that love can heal.

Because the Night by 10,000 Maniacs
Point of No Return from POTO
Why Can’t I by Liz Phair

Sexy as hell.

A couple of songs from World Party and several songs from Paul Simon’s Graceland, and the soundtrack of Out of Africa because of the African flavor. I was going to buy a world music CD, but decided on these songs instead, since Graceland and Out of Africa are two of my all time favorite CDs.

My soundtrack for Beneath the Surface has History Repeating by the Propellerheads and History Never Repeats by Split Enz, because they’re archaeologists, see, and they’re estranged yet falling in love again.

Somebody to Love by Queen, because I love that song.

American Girl by Tom Petty. Because she is.

This and That and No Myth by Michael Penn, and Handle with Care, Not Alone Anymore and End of the Line by Traveling Wilburys. I have no idea why.

Something So Strong and Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House. Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty. Kinda self-explanatory.

Dancing Barefoot by Patti Smith and Black by Pearl Jam. Because it’s sexy as hell.

I know a lot of people say they can’t listen to music with words when they’re writing, but I stop hearing the words after awhile.

Another benefit of this is that you keep writing so you can hear one of the songs you like ;)

Do you make soundtracks? What’s on them?

I know I’ve probably used this picture before, but I’m getting tired of the Butterfly on a Wheel pictures.

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11 comments:

Paula said...

I usually make a soundtrack for my book, but I don't always write to it. The soundtracks generally remind me of the mood and setting of my books, and the primary conflicts.

Because I'm a southerner, a lot of my stories are set in the south, and I play around with a lot of bluegrass and Gaelic music in my soundtracks--Clannad, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris, Enya, soundtracks from Braveheart, Last of the Mohicans and Cold Mountain, among others.

Stacy Dawn said...

This is the first book that I've ever considered putting music too. Mainly because I needed to find a couple pieces of music that the character is actually listening to within the story. It really helped. I need to go ahead and find more mood music and maybe take a try at a whole soundtrack.

Toni Anderson said...

I have different playlists for each POV character. Similar tracks--like different tracks of the same albumn but with different rhythms and a whole different set of music for my villain. I don't always switch them around when the POV changes, if I'm working, but sometimes if I need a kick start? That's how I get into the mood.

For this book there's Dido, Nora Jones, Rachel Yamagati, Tom Cochrane. The last book was mainly country, Dixie Chicks and Dolly and Mary Chapin Carpenter--because it was set on a ranch :)

mary beth said...

I always make soundtracks. I love iTunes for this!
My latest book starts with Storms in Africa and ends with Ultimate Sin by Ozzy. It's a strange mix. Glad you made your goal.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to give this a try, Mar. I can't play music when I'm writing, but I can play it for inspiration before. Dragging out the soundtrack to Practical Magic so I can hook better into Izzy's personality.

J

Trish Milburn said...

Paula, I love Enya and Clannad and the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack.

I'm one of those people who can't listen to music with words when I write. Normally, I write to silence because I'm easily distracted.

Candice Gilmer said...

I can't always listen to music when I write, but I do like to listen to something to drown out the world around me.... my computer is also in teh living room, and it's a great way to tune out hubby and focus.

Myself, I prefer more dance-like tracks. Madonna's Confessions on the Dancefloor is good because it's all one long song, there's no breaks.

I'm afraid if I listened to music based on my characters, I'd find myself listening to music I couldn't handle.

c

MaryF said...

Paula, I don't always write to it, either. Sometimes I need it to drown out the real world, though. Like today when the dh and the boy were watching Al Yankovich's UHF.

Stacy, you know, I never have my characters listening to music. That would tell a lot about them, wouldn't it?

Toni, cool about the different playlist for each POV character! I may try that next time. As you can probably tell, I do more work on my heroes than my heroines, and making her her own soundtrack could help.

Mary Beth, can you imagine trying to make soundtracks without iTunes? Remember the old way to make mix tapes? Bleh.

JoAnn, that seems to be the perfect soundtrack for Izzy.

Interesting, Candice. I think I make my characters have similar tastes to mine.

I know one chapter member says she likes to write to Lord of the Dance (of course, this was several years back) because her fingers tried to match the beat so she wrote really fast.

Trish, you don't have the TV on or anything when you write? What about other operations on the computer? Your email? Internet?

Anonymous said...

I don't, usually, listen to music or have the TV on when I'm writing :)

Leslie said...

No TV or Music when I write...I get too distracted. However, listening to Phantom of the Opera prior to writing really helps me!

Thanks again for the Gerry picture. I hadn't seen that one before. YUMMMMMMMMMMM!!

MaryF said...

Sometimes I wish I could have complete silence when I write, but it ain't gonna happen. Now my mom wants me to go to breakfast with her tomorrow since we're off. My quiet day! Oh, well.

Leslie, I find Point of No Return QUITE inspiring!

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