When I'm stuck in a scene and can't find my way, when I know there's a fabulous plotline lurking just beneath the surface of my imagination, close but frustratingly out of reach, or even when I just want to take some time out and connect more deeply to my characters, I always know what to do. I plug in the ipod, or I get in the car and crank up the stereo, I clear my mind, and I let my imagination go. Inevitably, during a soaring bridge or an unforgettable lyric, something wonderful and unexpected will unfurl its petals and begin to bloom. And the writer in me (which sometimes takes annoyingly long breaks while parked on a sprung old couch in the recesses of my mind, watching reality TV and eating Doritos) starts to dance all over again.
I think most of us have at least a partial soundtrack for our stories. While I was writing my book Call of the Highland Moon, for instance, there was a lot of Evanescence's album "The Open Door" going on in my universe. A little of Keane's "Under the Iron Sea," for softer moments. Muse's beautiful song "Sing for Absolution," along with Travis's "Love Will Come Through," plus a general mix of dark and brooding music suitable for all manner of love and longing populated all of my playlists from that time period. Those albums and songs got me through the rough spots, and made me feel like I was soaring when all the elements seemed to be blending seamlessly (a book is an arduous journey, but we all have our moments of euphoria, thank God). They're as much a part of my story as the writing, because they were behind so much of it. When words fail me, I can always take refuge in a song and let the words of others fill the void. And when the hair on the back of my neck rises in sheer bliss (which it sometimes does, if I'm very lucky), I'm grateful I have those chords within me to strike. Of course, it should come as no surprise that writers are often deeply attached to music...the written word, when done well, has a music all its own. It's just nice sometimes to let someone else do the composing.
So as I listen to Imogen Heap and chill, why don't you share a song or a group that inspires you in your writing? I'm all ears...and as a music junkie, always on the lookout for something new and amazing! Happy listening, and happy writing.