Like many writers, I create musical playlists to aid the writing process. Lots of creative people use music to enhance their art, but I find that each person tends to use it a little bit differently. Today I thought I’d share my TOUCHING THE SURFACE playlist and a little bit about how I use it.
A musical playlist is one of the very first things I begin with when I’m writing. I need at least a couple starter songs that some how capture the essence of what I’m trying to untangle in my mind. Even though I have a playlist right out of the gate, it’s a constantly changing tool. Songs get added and axed throughout the whole novel writing process–from drafting to revision. What keeps a song on the final list? To this day, when I listen to the playlist, the songs immediately drop me into my book or connect me with my characters.
I use a lot of music when I’m drafting. I almost can’t write without it. If I find a song that supports a scene,you can bet that I will play it over and over again as I’m writing. My family hates my playlists. Do we have to listen to that again??? LOL! Sometimes when drafting, a certain song will capture my attention or spark something within me. When that happens, I’ve been known to actually use the song to push the plot or characters forward. There are many tidbits in TOUCHING THE SURFACE that would not be there if it weren’t for a song. (You’ll have a chance to find out what some of them are at the end of this post.) Sometime I also find songs, by doing an iTunes search for a relevant word or theme that is picking at my brain. I check out the songs that come up in the search and sometimes they’re keepers.
I do not use music when I revise–unless I’m adding in completely new material. For some reason the same music, that I couldn’t live without during drafting, is insanely distracting when I get down to working out the details. But because revising can bring about a new character or scene, I sometimes do add more music to write that new material. This can explain why some of my songs might feel more out-dated than others. The original drafting period can be literally years before the revision. Which also means, that by the time this playlist gets to readers, they may scratch their head, wondering how some of these oldies made the cut. The truth is, some of them were new and popular when I was drafting, but there is also the “Kim Factor.” I’m not a real stickler for what other people think of my music. Additionally, I often cross-pollinate between genres. I’m a music mutt–listening to what resonates with me. Yeah, ask my college roommates how many times I made them listen to the Broadway soundtrack of INTO THE WOODS. Their ears may still be bleeding, but I loved those songs–needed those songs at that point in my life!!!!
Any way, if you’d like to sample some of the songs that have inspired me to write my first novel, you can go to my TOUCHING THE SURFACE playlist on iTunes and check them out. Feel free to ask me about any of the playlist songs in the comments section–I’ll try to give you a spoiler-free tidbit about how the song relates to the book. I’d also love to hear how you use music in your writing or other creative endeavors. Do you think any of the songs I used are a perfect fit for TTS? Any shockers you didn’t expect? Ear bleeding? What songs would you add to the TTS playlist? Inquiring minds want to know. Okay–I want to know–but inquiring minds might be interested in hearing too.