Inspired by Adolescent Boys (and Music)
My book TENDRIL is written in dual first person POVs, one of which is that of a seventeen year old boy. Humans are more similar than they are different, but still… I joked around on Twitter about listening to Green Day and eating Doritos to get my brain in the right place.
That wasn’t entirely a joke. One of the primary ways I got into my narrator Dylan’s head was through music. Fortunately for me, his character plays guitar and he had a brother, also a guitar-player, who died in the early nineties. Music is Dylan’s way of connecting with a brother he never got to know. Nineties music is his sweet spot for that reason, but he likes more current music too.
Listening to music while I write doesn’t work for me. I get easily distracted by it. I need silence, or white noise – the sound of clothes flopping around in the dryer, or the grinding hum of the dishwasher, or the snores of two temporarily exhausted terriers.
Listening to music BEFORE I write is inspirational.
I’d write a Dylan chapter, then I’d find a song for its title. Then I’d listen to the song, and sometimes the music inspired some revisions. A couple of times I knew what song I wanted to use, and wrote the chapter with that in mind.
Here are the songs
1. Disappearing Boy (Green Day)
4. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
6. Trouble (Eddie Vedder cover of Cat Stevens)
7. Longing to Belong (Eddie Vedder)
9. Brother (Alice In Chains, unplugged)
10. What We Don’t Know (Linkin Park)
11. You Can Close Your Eyes (Eddie Vedder cover of James Taylor)
12. Butterflies and Hurricanes (Muse)
13. Plush (Stone Temple Pilots)
14. Lights In The Sky (Nine Inch Nails)
16. Collide (Howie Day) shout out to fellow Maine-ah…
How many of you have playlists for your books? Or maybe a single theme song?
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Thanks for sharing more about Tendril with us. I definitely make playlists for my books, though my main source for music is Pandora. When I’m feeling uninspired I’ll listen to one of my stations.
I got frustrated with Pandora the one time I tried it-maybe I ought to give it another chance. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll join us again sometime soon and link a post of yours 🙂
LOL, so I must be a 17-year-old boy at heart, because I love ALL of those songs.
I have to admit, I have no idea how to use this linky thing. But I have such a strong affinity for music, and it’s so central to the books I write, that I’m going to have to give it a try.
Please stand by for attempted linkage…
Yeah, I have to say I really enjoyed channeling my inner male teen. Not sure what that says about me… Give me a shout if you’re having technical difficulties.
Grin. I think good storytellers get into character. Their tales are the best. 🙂
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Every book has it’s own soundtrack – and Collide and Creep have both been featured. 😀 But depending on where I am in a scene, I’ll put a song on repeat. I once wrote for five hours straight to the Rufus Wainright cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. I think my family was ready to disown me that night. 😉 BTW, if you haven’t already heard it, Damien Rice does a brilliant cover of Creep.
I have heard Rice’s cover, and it’s good, but I’ve got a strange obsession with Thom Yorke. I could listen to “Lotus Flower”, and watch the video pretty much endlessly. Thom, in case you’re reading this, don’t worry, I’m harmless.
Very cool! It must’ve been crazy-difficult to find that voice, but it sounds like you found the right mix of inspiration. How many bags of Doritos did you go through?
I definitely need music when writing, as you know. I need to get pumped up for an action scene or dialled down for an emotional scene. For some reason, it helps me a lot when creative stuff from scratch, but when revising I usually need silence.
Wonder why books don’t come with YouTube soundracks, or recommended playlists or something, huh?
It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I’d already fallen in love with my MC, so it wasn’t difficult to put myself into the head of someone else who was falling for her, albeit in a slightly different way. Yes-I think you have the most elaborate playlists of any writer I know. And I have heard of playlists becoming integrated with YA books, not sure exactly how, but it’s definitely being done.
My boys would approve, lol! They love both. I used ‘The Old Ways’ by Loreena McKennitt in one of the scenes for A Song In Winter, because it echoed my characters so well. I can’t wait to read Tendril!
Stamps of approval are always welcome 🙂 Glad you made it this week.
Love the Playlist! We are kindred souls with the writing process. I find music incredibly inspiring, it evokes dialogue and settings and elevates the emotion of my characters–but *not* while I write. White noise is okay, but anything more than that and I gotta wear the clunky noise-canceling headphones.
I look forward to meeting your “boy;” he has to be very special to be worthy of Opal.
Yes, I fell in love with Dylan too, so that Opal could 🙂 I’ll look forward to your playlist post – music for writing about dragons and such. Now THAT will be interesting and inspiring!
I’m like you. I can’t listen to music while I’m writing; that is, if someone else is playing it, for the most part, I can tune it out as I do other sound, but I don’t put any on when I’m working. There are songs that inspire me, usually, they’re anachronistic.
How many bags of Doritos did you have to snarfle before Dylan let you into his head?
I’d like to see that Playlist of Anachronistic Songs 😉 As for the Doritos, that’s between Dylan and me…
Great way of connecting to your story. I can’t write to music, but always have a playlist on my ipod so I can dream about the WIP while I’m out and about. It’s amazing how someone elses creativity can really fire your own. – Great playlist!
Yes, I do that too – listen to the songs when I’m walking, or in the car doing errands.And yes, creativity is contagious 🙂
Sorry I’m late to a party that’s right up my alley. Some good flashbacks on a wonderful playlist. Yes to playlists. Many, in fact. I have overall playlists for manuscripts, and character playlists. I have action/battle playlists and character couple playlists. And I’m apparently among the few who actually listen while I write. I haven’t used food, but I have sought out and drank mead (a favorite of the Goths, who were beekeepers). It was pretty good, but I still prefer beer. I’m with Denise, looking forward to reading! 🙂
It was partially your post on music that made me decide to use music in mine this week. I think you and John Krissilas (one of the regular Thursday’s Children) are probably tied for “most elaborate” when it comes to playlists 🙂 And actually I believe you’re not in the minority, a lot of people seem to listen while they write. As for mead, I’ve tried it too. Meh. Thanks for dropping by-still hoping to recruit you…
Cool playlist! I’m imagining your keyboard covered with orange Dorito fingerprints –maybe it isn’t — but I bet a 17yo boy’s would be. lol. I love Pandora! You should give it another try. I have different channels for the different writing moods. Sometimes I can listen while I write. Or if the writing is intense I will only listen to instrumentals. They can really help with the mood and pacing.
I have no doubt you’re right about a 17yo boy’s computer keyboard. Thanks for stopping by-hope next week you’ll join the hop 🙂
If I were to do a playlist of inspiration based on my teen years it would involve a whole lot of Ani Difranco and A-ha. I like to keep things interesting 😉