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?