Sunday, August 25, 2013

Keys and the Keyboard

A lot of people use music while writing. Veronica Roth, author of Divergent and Insurgent and the upcoming release Allegiant, does quite frequently. She actually posted her playlist in the back of her books during a Q&A session.
Can I just pause to say that this girl was 24 when her book was published?
Plus, she's so humble and down to earth about her success. If interviews are
to be believed, and I believe them, she is an incredible woman who definitely
hasn't let all this hype and success change her. It's a shame when that happens.
She also listens to a lot of Flyleaf. Awesome.


It's those authors that make you go, "wow, I bet they're tons of fun to hang out with", that I really love. People say that about me all the time. Right?

Photo: Workouts are going great, despite my lack of free time. Although, when I agreed to try the new "Hairy Chest 3000" regimen, I was unaware how literal the advertisement was.



Actually, that's Bella, and she looks like the stuffed fox that shows people the Car Fax. Currently, as I'm writing this, she's licking my big toe. I cannot fathom what appeal that offers to her, but whatevs. It's a free toe-licking house over here. To an extent. Actually, it's not. Never mind.

Yes, I get I'm not funny. Why can't I just ever have my moment? Angst, damn, and blast it, why can't I be interesting?

Okay, so, perhaps I'm not as awesome as Veronica Roth. But there's more to being an author than standing around with our colorful bombast and waiting for worldwide praise, which is something she and I, and a lot of other people, totally get. (Although, does using the word bombast in a sentence actually make me somewhat bombastic? I'm not sure. That's troubling.)

Anyway, what Veronica Roth and I also get is the influence music has on mood while writing emotional or action-packed scenes. She writes to Flyleaf and a lot of other really intense songs, and I agree with her methods. Now, sometimes silence is an author's best friend, as is Scotch, but other times I just pace and listen to music to get inspired. Then I write while the song continues on loop. This happens a lot. So much so that I'm surprised I haven't eroded the floor and fallen through the basement ceiling.

There's so much good music out there, but I've narrowed down my choices to a couple songs I adore.

This song is perfect. In the Twined series, a plethora of betrayals rocks the heroes' worlds. The initial piano introduction, coupled with the somber, hopeless tone and the line, "felled in the night by the ones you think you love", perfectly captures the sadness when you realize that sometimes, you put people in positions where they can hurt you... and they take it. Trusting is scary at times, we all know that.

This woman. ARGH. LOVE HER. Again, she seems like a hell of a good time. Her messages are always so wonderful. Sara's songs "King of Anything" and "Love Song" have been my favorites since she poked her head into my life back in, like, 2008. This cheerful, dance-like-nobody's-watching salute to bravery conveys the kind of message The Fainting Goats needs to get across. It's hard to frown when you're already smiling. I've heard rumors that she wrote this song to help a friend of hers come out. If that's true, another round of applause for this woman. I have plenty of friends who have faced this issue, and I supported them the best I knew how. Sometimes, all that's left is to lose yourself in something. Preferably funky street dancing.

I like different versions of popular songs. That temple-pounding hit of Zedd's is really popular right now. That's why I love the vulnerable sound of the acoustic "Clarity". It's amazing how tempo change and piano can take the same lyrics and melody and convey a totally different feeling. The original song I would save for a motivational scene in my book, where the characters' goals are near accomplished and they're parading forward despite the hardships. This version is more akin to a bittersweet scene of remembrance. Again, brilliant songs and brilliant material has been birthed from their influence. So cool.

Lana's voice has always been haunting. The latest song she's done, "Young and Beautiful", can be found on The Great Gatsby soundtrack. It's sad that The Great Gatsby was Fitzgerald's magnum opus, yet he died thinking he was a failure. This song emphasizes eerie tones and runs more than anything, and tells a hypnotic, swaying tale about love and sadness in summertime. "Summertime Sadness" is amazing, and helps me write scenes with a strange detachment, where the messages of my work lean a bit more towards the ambiguous side. If Scott could see his work now... 

"Booty Swing". When I told my friends I constantly listened to a song called "Booty Swing" while writing a certain book, they asked, "How many sex scenes does that novel HAVE?" In response, I let them listen to the song. In a magical blend of old and new, "Booty Swing" is absolutely what I need when my books crave a little spice. The upbeat tempo and catchy beat makes my writing flow. I listen to this song at least once per book.

Well, there's still a lot of work to do today. I'll pop my iPod in, or a CD if I'm feeling old school, and get to it. So many ideas, so little time. I suppose that's an ideal problem to have, isn't it? Thank god I haven't yet dealt with the alternative. That would drive me mad.

Get your creativity revving, listen to a song, dance in public, and don't let your dog lick your big toe. Talk to you soon. Best wishes.


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