Thursday, June 9, 2011

Music: Inspiration when I have lost my way

Creating (and Maintaining) Character

Sometimes I get a little lost in my writing.  I stare at the computer screen, waiting for inspiration to flow through my fingertips. Sometimes I need to take a step back and see my novel as a whole.  I need to feel the impact of the entire story.  I need to connect with my character and keep her consistent.  I need to remember who she is and what’s she been through before I can move her forward.

As a reader, I find that it is the characters that determine my opinion of the story.  If a character is weak or inconsistent, I lose interest.  And I love my main character, Echo.  She is a complex combination of average teenage angst mixed with an inner strength, wit, and wisdom that develop from her grief after a tragedy.  It would be such a disservice to her to force the writing when I have “lost” her. 

So, what’s my answer when I’ve lost the heart of my story?  I listen to Echo’s Soundtrack.  Yes, that’s correct.  While it may have seemed like a waste of time, I put together a collection of music that connects me to my main character and her story.  It is a fairly eclectic summary of my book.  When I am lost, the music shows me the way.  It captures the tone/mood of scenes and the emotions Echo battles. 

I love how other forms of art inspire writing.  Writing itself is artistry with words.  In the classroom, I try to incorporate all forms of art in lessons in order to inspire or emphasize the techniques all artists use in creating their work:  style, tone, mood, form, etc.  We can learn from all of it.

Without further ado, here is some of Echo’s Soundtrack.  While it is a YA sci-fi thriller, there are definitely quieter moments of reflection and an immense battle with emotions.

Echo’s Soundtrack:
1.     Human – The Killers
This song was an original inspiration to the story; it is actually perfect for this book.
2.     Any Other World – Mika
Again, so perfect for Echo and her story.
3.     This is War – 30 Seconds to Mars
Title and words fit. Echo must fight for freedom and the world itself is on the brink of war.
4.     24 – Jem
I love the rhythm and the mood it sets; exciting, desperate – could work for a couple of scenes.
5.     Wait for Me – Moby
I LOVE Moby; his work is a great example of setting mood; this one is a bit chilling and sad.  This genre so perfect for sci-fi.  I recommend his music to anyone needing music to inspire you.  There are few words and he shows great variety.
6.     Breathe – Prodigy
This is great for the high action scenes.  It really inspires me to keep those moments of the story fast-paced and suspenseful.
7.     Heard the World – O. A. R.
A light-hearted feel at first, but serious lyrics which closely reflect Echo’s battle/emotions
8.     The Great Escape – Moby (again)
What can I say?  I love, love, love his work! This song could be taken very literally in the book.
9.     Time Won’t Let me Go – The Bravery
The theme of looking back on the past and homesickness for a life that never really existed is very relevant.
10. You Wouldn’t Like Me – Tegan and Sara
Echo becomes a person she doesn’t really recognize and isn’t sure she likes.
11. Talking to the Moon – Bruno Mars
Loneliness – very fitting
12. Why Does my Heart Feel so Bad? – Moby (Yep. Again.  I just can’t get enough!)
13. Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
Looking back at things/people taken for granted; saying good-bye
14. What I Cannot Change – Leanne Rimes
Acceptance of mistakes; coming to terms with who we are, which is something Echo must do.

These are just some of the songs that inspire me in my writing.  They help me find my way back to the heart of the matter.

What inspires you?

Video made with Moby's Why does my Heart Feel so Bad? If you don't know the song, this is a great way to check it out:

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