Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day #8705 - Our Stories' Songs

While I have always loved books and the written word, I am also completely in love with music. I think the two actually go hand in hand. It's a different kind of writing to be sure, but both forms can move me in incredible ways and make me think. My appreciation for both also grew exponentially once I tried to learn it myself. I played the clarinet from 5th grade thru my senior year of college and I also play guitar (very slowly and with much room for improvement).

Music says the things I often don't know how to say, but that's why I try to use it as a tool to help me when I'm learning to write (because even if I do ever get published, I'm convinced that you never really stop learning how to do this). It should come as no surprise that I'm a huge fan of authors who let readers know what their "playlist" was - it's like a bonus feature, a companion to the story I've just gotten to experience, and it helps give me insight to a scene or the feeling an author was working to instill.

Plus, it oftentimes lets me know about great artists I may not have otherwise heard of. And I LOVE that. I especially love finding out about a musician and falling in love with their music before they're popular - it's one of those rare times when I feel like the trend setter =)

I've been finding that my playlists come together with my stories before, during, and after drafting. I may hear a song that sparks the idea for a story. I may be writing and want to capture that chord progression's feeling into the tone I'm trying to set. I may be editing and realize I want the dialogue exchange to bounce along the way that chorus does in a song I heard. Most recently, I added a song to my list because even though one story of mine is "done," I had to laugh because the lyrics perfectly fit with a situation my characters are in.

So sometimes songs tell us stories, but just as often I feel like our stories come from songs.

A few nights ago, I got to finally see my favorite musician, Eric Hutchinson, in concert, and it stirred up my very strong feelings on this topic. It was one of those shows where I kept pinching myself that I was actually there and singing and dancing along. His songs about situations that suck even make you smile, and that's something I love (and also hope my stories do something similar). And so today I thought I'd share the "playlist" for the manuscript I'm trying to find an agent for now. Maybe someday if I ever find representation and it gets sold and published and all that fun stuff, I'll share the reasons behind these picks (or maybe you'll see where they fit in when you read it!), but for now, just enjoy!

1. I'm Only Me When I'm With You - Taylor Swift
2. You Lie - The Band Perry
3. Over My Head - The Fray
4. Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) - Kelly Clarkson
5. Irrational Anthem - Plain White T's
6. It's Only Life - Kate Voegele
7. Sound of Your Voice - Barenaked Ladies
8. Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles
9. Rock & Roll - Eric Hutchinson
10. Annie Waits - Ben Folds
*Bonus!* Watching You Watch Him - Eric Hutchinson

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