Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Power of Music

When I sit down to write, I often listen to music. The wide variety of genres on my mp3 player - classical, pop, rock, movie scores, R&B - give me many different moods to sample. If I'm writing a skating action scene, classical puts me in the right frame of mind. If it's an intense emotional scene, I want to hear something with a lot of depth. Keane's "A Bad Dream," for example (someone needs to skate to this song, by the way). 

I like to work music into my stories, also. In LIFE ON THE EDGE, it plays a key role, not only in the skating aspect of the story but also in the relationship between the two main characters. There's something very powerful about the emotions that music can evoke. It can remind you of certain events, happy or sad, or certain people, and it can put you back in that place, experiencing everything you felt when you last heard the song or instrumental piece.

I've always made "soundtracks" to my stories - a list of songs that fit my characters plus songs/classical pieces I actually mention in the story. In this new age of e-books, I'd love it if there was a way to link audio files into e-books so the reader could listen to the soundtrack while reading, if so desired. I'm sure the copyright issues could be a huge barrier, but almost every song imaginable can be found on YouTube with one click, so perhaps this could be a possibility in the future. Is this a feature you would find interesting, too?

Below is part of the soundtrack for LIFE ON THE EDGE. When I first heard the song "Un-thinkable" by Alicia Keys on the radio, I knew the lyrics fit my main characters' situation perfectly. Have you ever heard a song and felt like it was written about you or something you experienced? Drop me a comment below!

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  1. I love the way you shared the music you used while writing 'Life on the Edge'...I can't wait to buy it once it's out.

    PS with or without you...I see the scenes of Em loving Sergi from afar. Good.

  2. I have always believed it is incredibly unfair that screenwriters get a soundtrack to help build tension, drama, and mood, while other writers can't.

    My dream is that someday an ebook will be similar to what you suggested, J. The music plays as you read and changes according to what is happening in the book, resetting itself every page or so to deal with different reading speeds.

    Can I order one of those please? ;)

  3. It will happen very soon. I read there are interactive children's e-books. It's only a matter of time before they add sound.

  4. Melisa, it's such a great song, isn't it? I mention it in one of the revised chapters I didn't post on CC. You'll be able to see it in the published version ;-)

    Lauren, maybe we can lead the charge for audio-enabled ebooks :)

    Thanks for the link, Rachelle! That sounds encouraging.

  5. I love how you created a a playlist for your book! What a great idea! :-) (I came over from Goodreads)