Thursday, April 11, 2013

If music be the food of love...

My muse is a fickle little creature. She's quite distractable, and will flit in and out of my life on the slightest whims. I often  find her annoying, especially when she visits at the most inopportune times - sleeping or showering being two of the worst. She'll give me tantalizing snippets of ideas, but disappears when the real work begins. Most importantly, when she hits on an idea, she's stubborn to the point of stupidity.

Still, there are times when I'm grateful for her tenacity.

Earlier this month, she showed up late at night while I was working on my sequel to Red Moon. The smudge of dirt on her cheek and her comfortable worn clothes made me think that she had just been in the garden planting, although the snow was still far too deep for such activity. She sat on the edge of the couch, watching me while I tried to ignore her and focus on Connor and Dana. Her body practically vibrated with excitement.

Finally, unable to hold still a moment longer, she jumped up and shook my shoulder. "I have a present for you!"

I tried to wave her off, but she wouldn't be deterred.

"Just listen, okay? Here!"

And headphones were slipped over my ears and the initial gentleness of the song suddenly darkened and throbbed, leaving me with no other choice but to close my eyes and give in.

And with Imagine Dragon's "Radioactive," Lace & Lead's mewling cries suddenly were birthed into the world.

It's a completely different story than anything I've ever written. I mentioned its premise briefly in my last post, and it's grown and taken on a new life since then. I had prayed I would be able to make it into a short story. Now it's 11,000 words and climbing.

All because of a song.

I've always loved music and know that it has an effect on my creativity. I create complicated playlists for my characters, often crossing lines of genre and types, searching for the right combination. These lists invariably leave my DH shaking his head and muttering, "Such a weird mix," but it works for me.

I suppose that each book, each character has its own theme song, one that perfectly sums up a particular moment. What I love most about this quirk is that every time I hear that song, I think of those characters, of the moment they were going through when that song grabbed me. It's like having an old friend call on the phone just to chat.

These songs are flashes of my characters' souls sneaking out, begging me to let them see the world outside. And how could I refuse that?

Taggart - "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons

Emmaline - "Rebirthing" by Skillet

Connor - "Good Girls Go Bad" by Cobra Starship

Dana - "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles

Flynn - "Fix Me (Acoustic)" by 10 Years

Evie - "Just a Kiss" by Lady Antebellum

Rhys - "No Words" by The Script

Wren - "Bloodstream (Quartet Session)" by Stateless

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