Sunday, October 08, 2006

Theme Songs... Kinda Like Rocky

I love music. I've always loved music. From the time I was a teenager, I can remember day dreaming when my favorite songs came on the radio... sometimes I pictured what the song was about... sometimes the theme would tie in to a book I was reading or had read... whatever emotion the song called up within me, there was a story that inevitably came along with it. And living on a farm with lots of busywork meant a great deal of time to day dream while my hands were working on some mindless task like weeding the garden (yuck!).

It wasn't until I became a writer that I learned that I was story building. Day dreaming in this way wasn't something to be embarrassed about, but a natural part of the creative process. I still do my best solitary plotting to music of some sort.

These days, all my heroes and heroines have their own "theme songs". I'm not talking about writing to music, because I can only write to instrumental. The words distract me. Instead I'm talking about particular songs that cross my path and stand out because they embody the primary issue or emotion of my character. I can listen to the song to put me in the mind frame of my hero or heroine, drawing on the emotion to illuminate their actions or remind me of the lesson this character will learn throughout the story.

The book I'm currently in revisions on has only one character with a theme song: the heroine. Her song wasn't apparent to me right away. It was one I'd heard before, but not many times. One day I was listening to the CD and BOOM!, I heard it in an entirely new light. What is her song? Gone by Kelley Clarkson (Breakaway Album). The lyrics are obviously written about a lover, one that needs to be left in the dust after all the havoc he's caused. But this doesn't hold true for my heroine. For her, the song is about her mother, the same mother that willingly dragged her child through a humiliating and lonely childhood. It encapsulates my heroine's determination to build her own life, a better life, and leave that unstable childhood far behind.

My husband burned his favorite rock/alternative play list to a CD for me and I love it! It's full of songs that express emotion from a male point of view, and not just longings of the erotic kind. I have no doubt my future heroes' theme songs are hidden among these gems sung by 3 Doors Down, Nickelback, Creed, Lifehouse, Evanescence, and a lot of other bands. Ah, my hero came through for me!

I know many of you write with music playing in the background, but do your characters or books have theme songs of their own? Any particular artists that you find "speak" to you?



Linda Winstead Jones said...

I love music -- Need it, in fact. Sometimes I have particular songs for books and/or characters. sometimes not. Since it has to be just the right song at the right time, it doesn't always come together.

My latest fave is John Mayer. I've been playing his new CD over and over. I listen pretty widely. In my car, at this moment, I have CDs by Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Toby Keith, and Josh Groban.

Last week my sister and I went to see an Irish Dance Company. It was great, and I enjoyed it very much, but what I came away *loving* was the Irish music. :-)


Kathy said...

If you want a very SEXY sound get Justin Timberlake's new CD! You can check it out this weekend. He's a genius. James Blunt has a 'Beautiful' voice. Nelly Furtado sings 'Promiscuous'.

I love all kinds of music and listen to it daily, depending upon my mood. As a historical writer however, I listen to music that has the ability to take me back in time.


Smarty Pants said...

I usually have songs that I use. A lot of time, I do it to manipulate my mood and get me in the right frame of mind for the characters. There has been a lot of Evanescence and Nickelback influencing my vampire books. The soundtrack to Underworld also had a dark, slinky sound that really inspired me. I haven't figured out a song for my new characters, yet.


Playground Monitor said...

I love music and will listen in the car and in the house when I'm doing housework. But when I'm writing, the music stops. I'm too easily distracted.

I bought a CD of Indian flute music back in the summer. The man had a booth at the arts and crafts fair when I visited my sister and was performing live. I walked past and was pulled in by the haunting feel of the music -- and immediately pulled out my debit card and bought a CD. It's so wonderfully relaxing and uplifting at the same time. Just kinda gets in your soul.


Problem Child said...

I can't listen to music when I write--most of the time. I'm too much of an auditory learner to have background noise.

But I will put something on sometimes if the quiet starts to bug me--but then it's instrumental. Enya's first CD is really good writing music.

Kathy said...

Funny you mention the Indian flute music, PM. That's what I listen to as I'm writing my book.

The music reflects great spirtuality and a connection with the earth, don't you think?


Emma_Sanders said...

Music gets me "in the mood" to write, but I can't listen while I write. I love many of the bands listed here-3 doors down is one of my favorites. I'm looking for good instrumental-I'll have to check out the Indian flutes.

Angel said...

If you write suspense, the soundtrack for Pirates of the Caribbean is a good one too--and instrumental!


Anonymous said...

Music's a key part of my writing. I make up my own mini soundtracks for each wip, especially for the key scenes I have the song playing that goes with it. I write easier when I have music playing then when I'm in silence (hmm maybe that's why my production's down, too much silence *g*)

I listen all across the board, Backstreet Boys to Kid Rock to Metallica to Dean Martin and Michael Buble to Nelly Furtado to country. A lot of country song's have great lyrics that can fit a mood perfectly.