Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ouch, My Dark Flower!

I always write to music. In fact, each of my novellas and novellas has a little playlist of its own on the Greatest Invention of All Time*, and I call these playlists a soundtrack, in my head.

As though my novels and novellas are somehow movies starring Bradley Cooper coming out this fall from Universal pictures. Though I suspect that if my novels and novellas really were movies starring Bradley Cooper coming out from Universal pictures, Mr Cooper would be significantly less happy about the whole situation than I would be.

I mean, most of the stories I write that feature someone who resembles Mr Cooper kind of have a troubling amount of butt sekz. And when I say butt sekz, I don't mean "and then her dark flower opened to him". I mean: "and then his dark flower said oh holy fook what are you DOING????". Because something about Bradley Cooper just calls to me, I dunno.

But anyway, where was I? Oh yeah - talking about writing to music. Which I do. And am now about to give you an insight into, whether you want one or not.

Basically, here is my "soundtrack from Universal Pictures" to the latest novel I'm working on, Power Play:

9-5, Dolly Parton
Call Your Girlfriend, Robyn
Winter, Joshua Radin
Teeth, Lady Gaga
Strip Me, Natasha Bedingfield
Yes, McAlmont and Butler
Number One, Goldfrapp
Gravity, Sara Bareilles
Distant Dreamer, Duffy
What's My Name, Rihanna
End of Time, Beyonce
Rolling in the Deep, Adele
Armour Love, La Roux

Of course, the actual playlist is longer than that. It's just that I don't really want to show you anything more embarrassing than 9-5, by Dolly Parton and songs by both Beyonce and Lady Gaga.

Yes, I know that the above is hideously uncool. I know it. I have all the musical taste of someone who has no musical taste at all, and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. I mean, I try to like cool bands like The White Mumford Kasabians or what have you, but somehow it just never comes off. I always end up writing about Brandon Routh getting spanked to the light trilling of someone awful, like her who sang that Good Girl song. The one that uses the word "boom" instead of other words that make sense.

But if it sounds as though I feel bad about all of this, I want to stress: I don't. I write to the music that moves me - and I do find it really helps, sometimes. And realistically, anything that helps - I'm not going to turn it down.

*Seriously, what did we do before iPods? I don't even know. I can't even imagine that dark and barbaric time when I did things like arduously make a mix tape for seven hours. It just sounds like those stories you hear of the olden days, when washing clothes meant you had to find a big rock in a haunted forest and then scrub in a frozen stream on a washboard made of jagged spikes that made you lose fingers.


  1. Teeth is a fabulous track and I don't care who knows I said so!

  2. Hooray! I feel so much better about my bad taste, now. xxx

  3. Charlotte,

    There is no such thing as bad musical taste. (This is a general comment, not directed at your list, since many of them I've never heard of.) (But hey, I like Dolly Partons!) Musical taste is a highly personal thing. My husband HATES a lot of the music that I love. I'm not going to kick him out for that.

    What I'd like to know is whether you make up your playlist before or after you know the basic plot of your story. I mean, do you deliberately pick music that has an emotional or thematic connection to your current WIP. Or conversely, do you pick songs that fit your mood, and then have the songs influence the story?

  4. I agree. Different folks have different musical tastes, and your own taste can change over time. There is nothing like music to set the mood.

  5. Lisabet - True, true. As for how I pick the music - I usually map out scenes in my head, before I start picking songs. I like them to go with the feel of the story - lyrically and also in terms of how they sound. Moody, upbeat, etc. Sometimes the songs influence the stories a little bit - but only in terms of how emotional a scene might be. If I'm listening to a particularly resonant song, it can make the scene turn out a little more wrenching than I intended.

    Thanks for asking!

    Jean - Definitely!