Music taps into emotion faster than any other medium. A song comes on the radio and suddenly you’re an angst-ridden teen pining your first love, itching to dance, or smiling on a mood updraft. Music can bring past into present, make housework bearable, and even inspire a baby to shake and wiggle.
It can change brain waves - quietening our minds (Gregorian chants) stimulating us creatively (slower Baroque) or stirring passion and activity (Rock).
Some writers have music playing in the background when they’re working. I prefer to find a song that encapsulates the mood of the love story and listen to it when I get stuck.
It’s the fastest way to recall the emotional core of the book.
Sometimes the song I’ve picked as a book’s theme tune loses power as I explore the characters and eventually gets dumped. Sometimes I choose a song that feels right but I’m not sure why and discover the reason through the writing. Best of all, the process of linking music to story is fun.
Interestingly my first published book had a theme tune and I didn’t use one again until the last two books when I began to realize how useful music can be to finding story.
Here are some examples of how I use it.
Mr. Imperfect is a reunion story. Look at these lovely lyrics. “And I held your hand through all of these years/But you still have/All of me” My Immortal by Evanescence. Here’s the link:
Bring Him Home – A widow fall for her husband’s best friend in a military story. Both have unresolved grief and the sweet sadness of Pearl Jam’s The End encapsulates that perfectly. “What were all those dreams we shared/Those many years ago?/ What were all those plans we made now/Left beside the road?/Behind us in the road.”
Prior Engagement, the fourth and final in my military heroes series will be out May 2013. A back from the dead story about two people who didn’t have the trust to make it work first time around but are fated to be together. Civil Wars’ song - Poison & Wine - uses lyrics like: “I don’t love you but I always will” and “I don’t have a choice but I still choose you.”
How about you? Do you have a song that hits you in the heart every time? Make a comment and go into the draw for my latest release Bring Him Home.