Friday, June 17, 2011

Soundtrack to a Novel

Until I started writing The Currently Complete Project (I'm calling it The Courier--fun title, eh?) and its little sisters, The WIP and The Outline, I was not a "listen to music while writing" person. I was a "silence is golden" person. I was a "crickets and traffic noise will distract me" person.

And then music just clicked with this project. Maybe it was the higher action content or the quicker pace. Maybe it was that it's young adult and music resonates with that part of me that's still seventeen. Regardless--I had to have my soundtrack.

A few key pieces:

First up, I should probably admit I may be the only person under the age of 50 who truly loves Jethro Tull, but I do. And Heavy Horses is my favoritest album ever, and the title track is incredible. Really, "HeavyHorses" and The Courier are about a lot of the same things...but I'd ruin both if I tried to extrapolate on that. No, I'll let Tull do that for me:

And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
and the nights are seen to draw colder
In these dark towns folk lie sleeping
as the heavy horses thunder by
to wake the dying city
with the living horseman's cry

But even more than lyrics that sing straight to my story, it's the album's folk-influenced rock and earthy sensibility that evokes both my main character and my setting. Earthy. Slightly dirty and raw. Unpolished but thoughtful.

Next up? The soundtrack from Last of the Mohicans. The beautiful music with a dark current winding under it, and the grandiose sweep of the melodies--plus I can't help but see the lush green setting of the film when I hear the music. Put me in the mood to write every time. Especially the piece entitled, curiously enough, The Courier (I swear my title came first, then the connection with this piece!)

Corndog warning--when I hear this piece, I can see my main character, Norah, deftly picking her way through bracken and fallen branches as she runs through the forest--Corndog warning lifted.

Finally, much to the chagrin of Mr. Hyaline, who is tired of this album getting played in the car, I am a giant Fleet Foxes fan. Again with the earthy folk-ish rock, much like Tull. But with Crosby, Stills, and Nash on vocals. I digress. Anyhow, their "Your Protector" totally conjured the romantic storyline dynamic for me. Because independence/dependence and protection/insecurity are huge themes for these characters. OK, enough thematic pontificating. Onto the music. It's way better than me yammering:

Are there any pieces of music that resonate with your creative projects? Do you have a touchpoint song that charges your creative juices? Or are you a "silence is golden" person when creating?


MrsC said...

Hi there,I am a big fan of Capercaillie and have been forever. I often listen to their music while sewing. However, the only music that inspires me into a particular frame of mind is Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette, and that is for vacuuming! I do love Tull though and I proposed Songs from the Woods for "The greatest song that ever lived challenge" on our National Radio, and was interviewed about it. Unfortunately the interviewer kept asking me questions about the band and I don't really know much about them except that I love their music, so I did what I usully do in these moments and blgged. No doubt a few diehard Tull listeners would have been outraged at the speculation presented as fact!

Caroline said...

I'm not much of a music listener...although I hear songs that remind me of my characters and I've often thought about having a section where I post the songs. But they're all modern songs so I fear people will think me loopy.
As an aside, "The Last of the Mohicans" is awesome! That is where my enduring love for Daniel Day Lewis started. I love that part (and song) where Cora goes to Nathaniel in prison. Now that's is sexual tension! :-)

Maybelle said...

I like your last song. It has a very touching and raw quality to it!

Hmm, music is a big part of my writing... I love making soundtracks that "tell" my stories from beginning to end (I'm a big fan of movie music from Tarantino or Rodriguez - so awesome!) Most of the time, music's there to set an atmosphere or character, but sometimes I choose "ironic" music to go with a scene in my head. I also like doing historical or fantasy scenes with much more current music - modern "reinterpretations" of the past, sort of like the movie Marie Antoinette.

One of my soundtracks has a combination of 70s rock and roll (Beatles, Led Zeppelin) and Latin music (Los Lobos) mixed with Baroque music because I found it, strangely, brought out the swashbuckling sensibility throughout the entire novel.

Rowenna said...

MrsC--I'll have to try Alanis with housework! Glad to find another Tull fan--I love Songs from the Wood!

Caroline--one of my all-time favorite movies! Plus, Cora wears this fab hat that every reenactor lady I know just drools over.

Maybelle--those sound like awesome combinations--I can see 70s rock bringing out a sense of adventure!