The first draft is done, and I took a step back this week after making some headway in the first round of revisions. But that’s not the update today.
When I write, there has to be music playing somewhere. Usually on headphones, so as not to distract the roommate. But also so that it can block out as much of everything else that’s going on. If I blast the music loud enough, I can even drown out some of my random brain chatter.
I think music influences my writing significantly more (or as much as) any other sort of external stimulation. I’m not one for going out and being all crazy all the time – on my days off, I like to stay home and hibernate. And music helps me get outside of myself, to focus on something other than whatever’s stuck in my brain at the moment. I try really hard (and if you knew the music the roomie listened to sometimes, you’d know this was REALLY HARD) to listen to new things. Sometimes, I find music I like. Often, the music bugs me to no end.
That isn’t to say that I’d write a different book if I’d been listening to different music. A lot of times, I’ll set up a playlist for myself, and within a day or two, I don’t even hear anything any more. I hear it, because if I just played the same song on repeat all the time, I’d go crazy. It’s the opposite for the roomie, she listens to the same song OVER and OVER again, and I can HEAR it across the room, and it drives me crazy. Ever hear frogs croaking for two weeks at a time? I have. In any event, the music really doesn’t factor in unless I’m specifically trying to evoke a certain mood. During a depressing scene, I played more soft, melodic stuff. During the final conflict, I grabbed a bunch of Marilyn Manson and fast paced stuff to get the blood pumping.
Most of the music I like, personally, falls into one overall category. Rock. I’m not a hair band freak, or a metal head, but I like guitars, and harder sounds. Within that scope, I love symphonic rock, anything that uses a symphony in the background somehow, violins, great lyrics, or strong female vocals. A lot of my favorite songs are from bands like Evanescence or Within Temptation or Madina Lake, who fit into one of those two labels (sometimes with a bit of shoving).
Each of the novels I’ve ‘finished’ has ultimately come with it’s own soundtrack. On top of that, they’ve each had their own specific theme song. Whenever I listen to that song, it’s like I can close my eyes and see scenes from the book playing out in front of me. With Shadows of Evil, that song was ‘Crawling in the Dark’ by Hoobastank. The lyrics fit perfectly with where the kids were, and the struggles they were going through. I figured the connection out weeks before I finished the first draft.
With Witch Eyes, the theme song didn’t fall into my lap until I was already in the first round of revisions. It’s a song I heard a snippit of in a television commercial, and my brain went ‘omg, THAT. SONG. WHATISTHATSONG?!?!?!’ Quite literally. As soon as some synapses started firing, I went crazy trying to figure out what the song was.
Who knew that a song from a television commercial for a show I’d never even watched (on NBC) would be so difficult to unravel. I visited NBC’s official boards, I visited fan sites, I did searches of the only lyric I could actually hear in the commercial, and still, there was no luck on the song front.
And then, I saw a post about a band who’s album wasn’t out yet. They had a song on the show, and I rushed right over to Myspace to look them up. Sure enough, that was my song! It was So Braden, I couldn’t even stand it. (Irony, the band? Hardcore Christian band, and Braden is in so many ways not a Christian). I rushed over to Itunes and crossed my fingers. Yup, success!!! I’ve had that song on my ipod ever since ,and it’s one of the only songs I’ve been listening to.
I don’t think I could have gotten this far if I hadn’t spent an inordinate amount of time finding new music, and listening to it obsessively. It helps me draw the muse out, or it’s my muse itself. I’m not quite sure about that. And I don’t know that I’m supposed to be asking questions.