Sunday, October 28, 2012

Play it again, Sam


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.

24 comments:

Snookie said...

Hmmm, interesting question. I don't have a particular song, but there are songs that when I hear them puts me back into time when I first heard them or when something memorable happened in my life. For example, everytime I hear Fleetwood Mac's "Sweet Little Lies" it takes me right back to the time I took my baby sister to college at OSU in Corvallis, OR. That was in 1987! I think it's really cool how music can do that!

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

I have so many events that I associate with music. Here a just a few.

It Had to Be You by Harry Connick Jr - mu wedding day

Photograghs and Memories by Jim Croce a painful break up

Against All Odds by Phil Collins brings back another painful break up

Baby, Mine - Dumbo Soundtrack make me think of my daughter's birth.

One More Night by Phil Collins makes me think of a dear friend.

Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest, Moondance by Van Morrison, and All 4 Love by Color Me Badd all make me think of my husband

Songs all capture the major events in my life. I love music.

Karina Bliss said...

Snookie, was that a road trip song taking your sister to college? I remember visiting a girlfriend in LA and being driving in an open top convertible listening to Talking Heads' 'And she was'. A wonderful intro to the States for a small town Kiwi girl. Did your sister graduate? What did she end up doing?

Karina Bliss said...

Tammy, I was wondering if we search out songs to match break-ups because we all have at least one. I don't know a couple of these (Jim Croce and Color Me Badd) so I'll check them out.
We have a family track all the adults hate - Baby Beluga by Raffi. My sister lives in Canada and introduced it to all our kids one trip and they all adored it. It used to get played endlessly on long road trips.

Kathleen O'Donnell said...

One song that always hits home with me is Because You Love Me. I know it is about a woman and a man's feeling for one another. But some of the words hit me about my family and the way they have always lifted me up when I was down, and they were literally my eyes for a bit after my surgery. So every time I hear this saw I get tears in my eyes and think how lucky I am that someone loved me.

Jo's Daughter said...

I really like: Breathing by Lifehouse.

I am hanging on every word you say
And even if you don't want to speak tonight
That's alright, alright with me
'Cause I want nothing more than to sit
Outside heaven's door and listen to you breathing
Is where I want to be

linda s said...

You hate Baby Gaga?! Isn't that illegal or something? That was one of grandbaby's first words: Mommy, Daddy, baby gaga...

Paint Your Wagon - Got a dream, boy, Got a song... It always reminds me to follow our dreams into the unknown.

Karina Bliss said...

Kathleen, I find that song very inspiring too. Great build to the emotional punch in the music.

Jo's Daughter, I just listened to the song and really like it. Thanks for sharing.

Linda s, how funny. I think Baby Gaga must have some subliminal message for children that gets them so addicted. Thanks for another song to try.

Pamela Hearon said...

Years ago, my critique partner cgave me a CD of music to inspire creativity. It's New Age stuff. But when I get stuck in a story, I put that CD on and my earbuds in--works like a charm to get me unstuck every time!

I connect lots of songs with people and events. There's one song from the 60's that reminds me of a boy I was friends with in junior high. I'm not sure why it reminds me of him. But everytime I hear the song, Henry pops into my mind! Maybe we danced to it at a party? ^shrug^

Karina Bliss said...

Pamela, wonderful to have a fail-safe cure for creative block.
I love the link of song to boy from past. You haven't suggested a romantic connection in real life but it sounds perfect for a story one day.

Snookie said...

My sister did graduate with a double major in Forestry Mgt and in Recreation. She works with me now. Just last night I went out to eat with my husband and some friends and I heard a song that took me right back to my early 20s and sitting in a park on a Sunday evening celebrating our regatta win. That song always does that too me also.

Karina Bliss said...

Cheers for the update Snookie, sounds like you both have interesting careers. Impressed with the double major. You've got some nice moment music memories happening.

Kaelee said...

The song that brings back the most memories for me is It's Now or Never by Elvis Presley. It is sung to the tune of O Sole Mio which my Uncle used to sing in snatches when he was happy. Elvis wasn't my favorite singer but the song just clicked with me maybe because of the tune. One of the best memories of the song is dancing to it with my husband, who rarely dances, in a taverna in Athens Greece. I was singing along to the song and the Greek singer handed me the mike so I had a few moments in the spotlight.

Karina Bliss said...

Kaelee, what a lovely association. Thanks for sharing.

mistransformation said...

He ain't heavy he's my brother. by the Hollies. I remember being a 14 y/o and the song came on in the car with my parents in it. I said I hated the song and that it was stupid (typical teen). My mother said, "listen to the words." I did and after I had a life changing experience to this day I break down into tears when I hear it - one time I even had to leave a store when it came on in the overhead music I was crying so much.

Karina Bliss said...

Interesting that a song you initially hated has became so important. Associations are so powerful aren't they? Just after my dad died I was in the supermarket and started unexpectedly bawling over a glimpse of silverbeet which he grew in his garden.

Hanny said...

I love your question. I’m an aspiring writer so music is important to me. I’m a huge fan of country music. Don´t all the songs hit you in the heart but in different ways? Some make me cry, smile, even fall in love. And it´s just like writing, it´s a story in every one of them.

Lady Antebellums – Just A Kiss, As you turn away
Lee Ann Womack – There is a god
Jason Aldean – Don´t you wanna stay
David Nail – Sound of a million dreams
Brantley Gilbert – You Don’t know her like I do, Them boys.
Houston County – I can´t make it rain
Richard Marx – Almost Everything …
And many others. The list is endless.

Karina Bliss said...

Hi Hanny, Country music seems particularly good at hitting the heartstrings. My favourite is Bonnie Tyler's 'I can't make you love me if you don't.' I'll check out some of your recommendations. And good luck with the writing.
Karina

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