I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: I hate silence. Maybe it’s because I’m a mother, so the quiet hours feel unsettling and strange. Or perhaps it’s because I’m friends with a bunch of Californians who can talk for hours about seemingly nothing. Maybe it’s because I write such dark material and silence leaves me a little too alone with my thoughts. Whatever the reason, I cannot stand quiet for long.
I also cannot write with anyone next to me. Even if someone isn’t speaking, their presence in my office is usually enough to interrupt my train of thought. Psychology classes taught me how to use my “active listening skills,” but they never mentioned how to turn it off. One random comment and I will become distracted for hours. So, what’s a girl to do?
Music is my happy place. It provides just enough background noise to keep me focused without becoming distracted. Every story I write ends up with its own playlist. I’ll string together anywhere from ten to a hundred songs that fit the mood and vibe of my story or scenes. Every writer has a unique process. Mine involves spending an entire day putting together my mood music.
Here’s a peek at a few of the songs from my current work in progress, Daughter of Nightmares. Feel free to click on the song names and take a magical adventure through YouTube. Can you guess anything about the story from these songs?
“And it’s so easy when you’re evil
This is the life, you see
The devil tips his hat to me
I do it all because I’m evil
Your tears are all the pay I’ll ever need”
Admittedly, this is one song that made the playlist for my own pleasure. While none of my characters can identify with this one, it’s my jam for writing darker scenes. It helps keep stave off some of the guilt of slaughtering innocents. It’s also catchy as all hell. And hey, who doesn’t like being evil sometimes?
You can’t wake up, this is not a dream
You’re part of a machine, you are not a human being
With you face all made up, living on a screen
Low on self-esteem so you run on gasoline
Oh, I think there’s a flaw in my code
Oh, these voices won’t leave me alone…”
Lili knows she isn’t entirely normal. The question is, how long until everyone else knows, too?
Because it’s awesome.
“When I was a child I heard voices
Some would sing and some would scream
You soon find you have few choices
I learned the voices died with me”
“Then I think about things that I’ve seen
Right in front of me
That I don’t wanna believe
Gimme one of these mikes
Lemme let em know
The way that it is is not how its gonna be
Not if we don’t let em get ahead of us
The present tensions no threat”
So there you have it! I’ll share a few more songs on my Facebook page, but these are five of my favorites. Go ahead and turn up your speakers, close your eyes, and see what comes to mind for you while you’re listening. Music is a great way to fire up your fiction.