There’s a discussion going on over at Facebook among a few mystery writers about music. Specifically, Dana Cameron is building a playlist to get her through the draft of her next book.
If that sentence needs no further explanation, skip this paragraph. For the rest of you: “playlist to get her through the draft of her next book” refers to the music that teases the best ideas out of your brain for a specific project. You use your music playing software, iTunes, whathaveyou, to build a list of just the songs that speak to that story, and then when you open up your computer or notebook to get some words laid down, that’s the music you play.
Probably there’s some psychology at work here. The Pavlovian response to Lorde’s voice is to type faster. But that’s me. And not “Royals.” I hate that song.
I don’t always write to music. Sometimes silence is best. Cafe noise is pretty great for me. But sometimes I have trouble focusing, and that’s when a patron saint song can come in handy. I’ve written before about how I wrote the last half of THE BLACK HOUR to the Awolnation song “Sail.” Everything about that song was right. The first time I heard it, I was sincerely creeped out. It had the right sound. It had the word SAIL in it, for crying out loud. I love when I hear that song playing somewhere unexpected. I also have it readily available in my car so I can play it LOUD.
So what’s the playlist for LITTLE PRETTY THINGS, you ask?
So glad you’re playing along here.
This was the patron saint song of LPT for a long time. I wrote the first 10K to that, probably, maybe more. I’ve seen Katie Herzig in concert. You should, too.
Then I heard this song and things started to come together.
We live in cities you’ll never see on screen
Not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things
Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams
And you know, we’re on each other’s team
I liked this song so much I bought the entire album, and then I found the real patron saint song of LITTLE PRETTY THINGS—this song. I was still fixating on this song—listening to it over and over—when I finished the book.
The whole list looked something like this:
The Little Pretty Playlist
“Lost and Found” by Katie Herzig
“That’s Who I Am” by Neko Case
“Stealing From the Joneses” by Emmet Swimming
“Girls in Their Summer Clothes” by Bruce Springsteen
“All Things At Once” by Tired Pony
“Prince Johnny” by St. Vincent
“Money Power Glory” by Lana Del Ray (against my own will, I like this song)
“Habits (Stay High)” by Tove Lo
“Kansas City” by The New Basement Tapes
You’ve some iShopping to do, don’t you?
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This is a terrific list, Lori. It gets really strange for me at the end of a project, where I listen to one or two pieces of music obsessively. Later, if I hear them out of my office/writing context, I’m immediately transported back. Which is cool…and unnerving. 🙂