Music Playlists: Rock Your Novel to a Beat
Is your National Novel Writing Month story epic? Does the hero storm the castle, talisman in hand, lessons learned with an absolute resolve to do or die?
Did you hear that? There, in the background. That’s your novel’s soundtrack. What music is playing?
Music makes my heart pound and my imagination sour. I know some people find it distracting. Maybe, they just can’t write to music. Maybe, they have never found music that fits the mood their writing calls for.
For those that can or what to try, music can help get your Hero through that door of no return, see the gleam in that love interest’s eye, or find that last ounce of strength to forge through to the end.
Supportive DJ Friends
Some people love finding, mixing and sharing music as much as you do novelizing.
Way back in 2011, during my first NaNoWriMo I asked my best friend, Dee, to make a CD for me with soundtrack music. I told her I was writing a Science Fiction epic. She delivered a couple discs of dark pulsating atmospheric kick-ass music.
Dee is a frustrated DJ. I, along with most of her friends, anxiously anticipate her annual “Divas” music mix CD every Christmas. She’s that good. As much as I love music, my commitment to researching, downloading and mixing song after song is nowhere in her solar system. I am thankful.
If you don’t have a Dee in your life check out 8tracks.com. They stream free music with tracks selected by the user. I always stumble on something interesting here. A word to the thrifty, the website is free but may take up too much bandwidth and battery power (if you’re roaming without plugging in.) The iOS app in-app subscription price of $19.99/yr seems a bit pricey to me.
Dust off those old cassette tapes and snap ‘em in your tape player. You still have one of those, don’t you? No? How about that old classic iPod or old-school MP3 player. Yes?
Ok. Press shuffle. See what comes up.
Need inspiration? Roll through the genre list or an artist or song that sets the mood you’re going after.
There’s An App For That
The world of music, like fiction, is home to more creative people that you will ever have time to read. So, use technology to your advantage.
Locating to right music is a multi-step endeavor. It’s a search and rescue mission—or, rather, find and collect—followed by expansion, or world domination if you will. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much. Here’s the plan:
- Grab what you already have: pull out vinyl, cassettes, iPod, MP3, iTunes playlists, borrow from friends
- Identify songs that catch your ear: Shazam
- Expand the search to discover similar songs: Pandora, Songza, Spotify, iTunes Radio
- Rinse and repeat: Shazam and iRadio over and over.
Now you’ve expanded further and further into a world of music you didn’t know existed but now perfectly sets the stage for your Hero to take action just…in…time.
In my next post, I’ll go into specifics about my current process. If you write to music, how do you Work It?