You oughta know I'm here to remind you of the mess you left when you went away! It's not fair to deny me of the cross I bear that you gave to me!Let's Talk Music. We all listen to it. We all have our favorites. As writers, many of us use it to inspire us - whether we listen to it while we write, before we write, or after we write. The angry lyrics that started us out is Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" (which I am currently listening to). It's an inappropriate song at times, but that's part of its charm.
Lyrics from You Oughta Know (yes. I LOVE this song)
This song encompasses a range of emotions: hurt, anger, bitterness, and a bit of crazy desperation. Songs do that - they tell a story in 3-5 minutes (if they're the good ones). As storytellers, we want to encompass emotions as well as music does, that's why we're so often inspired by it. Music can rile you up, make you weep, or bubble you up into a totally good mood. Think of your favorite songs - why are they your favorite? Here's the things songs can do for us as writers:
They help us find the emotion we're looking for - Are you writing a death scene? A breakup? A funeral? The right emotionally heartbreaking music can put you in the mood your character needs to be in. Or maybe, like Alanis, your character has been totally cheated. You need ANGRY music STAT! Get that angst up and running through your veins! Then again, maybe it's the best day of your character's life, but you're feeling pretty blah. Pop in "Everything is Awesome" from the Lego Movie or "Happy" by Pharrell Williams (or whatever makes you smile).
They inspire a story we didn't have before - I can speak personally on this one. My novel LAND IN BETWEEN all sparked from a song that's haunted me since I was a child. Fastball's "The Way" is about a couple who decide to leave their lives behind, driving off in the night in a double suicide.
You can see their shadows wandering off somewhere. They won't make it home but they really don't care. They wanted the highway. They're happier there today.One of the verses mentions the children waking up and unable to find them. I always wondered what it would be like for those children - and so LAND IN BETWEEN was born.
They help us "get into character" - I've read more than one author who had a playlist for their books. I know sometimes I do. If your character is nothing like you, songs can help you become more like them. Let's say you hate country, but the muse has brought along a character who LOVES it. Finding the right country songs (that don't make you want to kill yourself) can help you learn more about your character.
If your MC is a huge One Republic fan, perhaps there are lyrics in you need to hear from your MC's point of view. "Man, I always liked 'Secrets', but now I have a new appreciation for the line 'Sick of all the insincere' after Maddie's boyfriend totally lied to her. She's totally connected to this song."
So what's YOUR favorite song/playlist/genre to listen to? Have any songs inspired scenes, or perhaps even entire plots, in your novels?