To sit down and write something that isn't complete garbage, I have to be in the right head space. I need to understand how a character is feeling in a certain situation and how they will react (not how I would be feeling, because, despite what many people think, a character's perspective does not always equal an author's perspective). One of the easiest ways for me to do this is to listen to music. For every story I've ever written, I have a song that I've chosen to help me get into the right mood to write. Now, since a book is much longer than a ten-page story, I've upgraded to having an entire playlist, and I thought I'd share a few songs with y'all! Each song chosen relates, in some way, to the plot of my book or the characters. Maybe you don't find this interesting at all, and that's fine. However, I want to be able to look back and remember what songs I was listening to while writing, so this post is just as much (if not more) for me as it is for all of you.
1) Hero by Family of the Year
This is the song that inspired me to write the short story that inspired me to write my novel. Did you follow that? Essentially, this is the song that started it all. Rarely do I have one specific moment of inspiration when it comes to story ideas, but this is one of those times. I heard this song and immediately imagined my main character Elby. From that point on, everything fell into place, and now I'm writing an entire book! Pretty cool. (If you haven't read my short story and are interested, you can find it here.)
2) Old Friend by Sea Wolf
It's pretty apparent very early in (the first draft of) my novel that the two main characters spend a long period of time away from each other without any contact. So, one of the issues I want to deal with is how they are able to come together and reconcile what they once were to each other and what they are now, which is essentially strangers.
3) All is Well by Austin Basham
This song so perfectly encapsulates the tone I want my novel to have. The song is somewhat hopeful while simultaneously talking about failure and struggle, and that is the heart of the story I want to tell--people who are messy and imperfect and have awful luck, but manage to find the beauty in themselves and each other.
4) Devil May Care by Half Moon Run
My female lead, Madelyn, deals with a lot of big issues throughout the story, and she does so with a tremendous amount of grace and naivete. She wants to be okay with the things that have happened to her, so she comes up with a lot of coping mechanisms that my male lead, Elby, can see right through. This song, to me, represents this relationship. She is doing her best to get through each day, and Elby is trailing after her, prepared to pick up the pieces when and if she falls apart.
5) Bottled Up Tight by Luke Sital-Singh
Prior to the start of the novel, Elby has had his heart broken in ways that most people never do. So, when the story starts, he is very closed off to those around them. However, as the story continues, it becomes increasingly more difficult for him to hide behind the walls he has built up. This song by Luke Sital-Singh represents this progression to me.
6) Boardwalks by Little May
When Madelyn and Elby are reunited, Madelyn has really high expectations for Elby. She wants him to be there for her in ways that he isn't quite ready for. This song by Little May represents this conflict for me. Plus, the song moves into a discussion about identity and the future, and that is really what my entire story is about. It is a coming of age story, after all.
7) All My Days by Alexi Murdoch
This song relates to Elby's story arc in a very general way. He has a lot of problems he has to work on throughout the story, and this song encapsulates that really well.