Over the last few months, I’ve shared with you all the playlists for my books and why each one is the way it is. I hope you’ve gotten some insight into how music affects my process.
But how does a playlist come about? This is a question we discussed at Coastal Magic February at the panel on the same topic. I was fascinated that so many of us who write so differently come upon our musical muses in the same way.
For me, the type of music a character enjoys is part of his or her definition. In The King Series, Tasmyn enjoyed alt rock while Michael liked oldies. Rafe’s musical taste was closer to Tasmyn’s; it was one of many things the two had in common, which frustrated Rafe to no end. He felt that their similarities should’ve given him an edge over Michael. Sadly for him, he was wrong.
In The Posse, Jude adores her 80’s tunes. In The One Trilogy, Sam uses sweet country music to woo Meghan, who is decidedly not a fan before her time in Burton. In Just Desserts, Frank Sinatra is the theme of the day.
So that’s where the playlists begin. One character and one style of music. I usually start off a new book with a huge list of songs, and I listen to it almost constantly while writing–and even while not actively writing. I also try to tune in to stations on Spotify or iTunes radio that dovetail with the same genre, so that I can possibly find new songs that fit the storyline.
As the plot develops and refines, I’ll nix some songs and add others. And the ones that are particularly compelling or poignant end up on replay. A lot.
In this way, the music not only inspires me; it also gives me insight into characters and situation I might not be able to quite wrap my mind around until I hear a lyric or a stanza. And in the years that follow, hearing that lyric takes me right back to that story. . .and those characters.