Monday, September 26, 2011

The Story in the Music

How many of you listen to music while you write? Show of hands…one, two—okay, a lot of you. If possible, I always listen to music while I write, if I can’t, then I prefer nothing at all. Mostly, I try to stick to music which has some relevance to the story I’m currently working on, or inspires the story in some way. If there isn’t anything fitting, then I keep the music benign. What I mean by benign is that the song choices can easily fade into the background while I focus on writing. When I’m really into a certain part, an entire CD will play and I won’t even notice.

So, the other day I had my Pandora up on my iPod. The Pandora station was on Today’s Pop Music, because nothing is easier for me to drown out than Pop music. No disrespect to Pop, just my opinion. Suddenly, a Taylor Swift song comes on. I’m not a huge Swift fan, if one at all, but I have to respect someone so young and so talented. The song playing was You Belong With Me, and it proved my former point wrong. Because even though Taylor is a country singer, her songs are Pop music…and this song did not fade to the background.

If you’re not familiar with the song it’s basically about a girl in love with her best friend, (who hasn’t been?), and the best friend has no clue. They never do. But the lyrics really caught my attention. I’ve heard this song before because they used to play it on the only station that comes in clearly in my office—unless I want to listen to sports. Not!—but I’ve never paid much attention to it.

It’s this line that makes me stop writing: Laughing on a park bench, thinking to myself, hey, isn’t this easy.

I could see the story, just pictured two teens sitting on a bench, carefree. She’s in love with him. He’s clueless…or maybe not. I love stories where friends get together. I’ve written a couple and will probably write more. I’ve had that experience when my now deceased ex-fiancé, (okay, I know that was confusing. He was my fiancé from the age of twenty to twenty-three. We broke up and he passed away four years ago. Got it? Good), professed his undying love to me. He was in love with me from the time we were seventeen and I was clueless. Yes, CLUELESS-lol.

Maybe that line and this song spoke to me because of how my cluelessness turned into my first love, or maybe it’s because I write stories for young adults and this is such a YA song/story. I don’t know, but I love when I hear that song and can actually see the entire 200+ page novel. I think Swift did an excellent job co-writing this. It sounds like a teen. She could have made it convoluted, where you wonder what the heck the song is about. Maybe that has something to do with her being a teen, writing for teens about teen issues.

Are there any songs you’ve heard that are visual to you? Or have you heard a song that has inspired a novel? Tell me all about it!


Hannah Kincade said...

I'm almost always inspired by music. There are some songs that paint instant visuals for me, most of those are instrumental or of the ambient variety. I don't think I've ever not listened to music while I write.

The same thing happens with pictures, which is why I do my Tuesday series. A good picture will create a story in my mind almost immediately.

Jennifer Hillier said...

CREEP by Radiohead inspired my novel. How I wish I could get so inspired by every song I love!

I love music. For me, music and writing are very connected. Every one of my stories has a soundtrack.

Karen Denise said...

You are so right Hannah. I'm inspired by so many things. A phrase once inspired a story idea for me. I'll have to check out your Tuesday Series!

Oooh, Jennifer, I didn't know that. I just added CREEP to my "Must Read" list and now I have to add Creep to my ipod!

I was inspired to write a Dystopian/Vamp novel by Kings of Leon's song Closer. It has this dark sound and I pictured a girl and boy running through a barren wasteland. The boy has machetes and the girl has the trigger to an explosive in her hand. Even though I'm more than half way finished this novel, everytime I hear Closer, that scene plays in my head. Gotta luv it!