Playlist Track 9 and 10

Track 9 is another song that makes me think about co-dependency but now with a heavy side order of loss and regret. If you’ve never seen the video then I recommend stopping what you’re doing and watching. It’s beautiful and poignant.

 

Track 10 is more about loss and regret and about how sometimes a brief happiness can make seem like a cruel lie when the misery returns.

 

These two songs take me into the state of mind of my little group of amature detectives. They’ve all felt a terrible loss they’re each one striving to be strong for the others. They’re each living with a gaping hole where someone they cared about used to be.

Why not tell me in the comments about the sort of music that helps you when you’re writing? Does it help you to concentrate, or help you visualise a scene, or does it create a mood. And if you don’t like music what do you like? Silence? Ambient noise? Podcasts?

All the Playlist posts.

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Playlist Track 8

This song is for my group of ‘detectives’. They’re good people but they’re all a bit damaged.

Tragic backstories all round.

But the thing about damaged people is that they can be hard to scare. How do you intimidate someone when you can’t say anything that’s worse than they say to themselves? How do you threaten someone when they’re already in more pain than you will ever know?

And if you’re a killer who has so far gone undetected you can forget about them missing any evidence you’ve left behind. The OCD won’t let them miss things that are out of place. The Autism won’t let them stop looking. The PTSD and the depression mean that they don’t care enough about their own safety to  even think about letting things lie.

For further information

Playlist track 7

This one inspires more character development every time I listen to it. In part it’s a song about disability and co-dependance which are major themes in the story.

Like most songs by the Correspondents the lyrics seem both personal and specific. Their songs tend to get stuck in my head and send my imagination in all kinds of directions.

If you’re writing and you’re devoid of inspiration just look at a bunch of their videos on YouTube and if the music and the lyrics don’t get you going the visuals will.

For more of this go to the Playlist Page

Playlist: Track 5 and 6

Brace yourselves. Lots of video links in this one.

These two tracks go together, not just because the title combination and the swerve from folk rock to trashy pop pleases me but because these are both squad songs. In the real world no crime is ever solved by a single person, though it sometimes seems like that. That’s even more true in my story where each character has only small pieces of a puzzle that they have to assemble together.

Track 5

This is the darker of the two. My characters are in bad places mentally. They’re dealing with the loss of a friend but also with their own problems of physical and mental disability.

Track 6

No I’m not going to defend this choice. It’s my playlist. Fuck you. Fight me.

But seriously. This song is on here because it’s defiant and fun and because it reminds me of this song.

Bonus Track

This is a Tumblr track. I only know it exists because of my Tumblr friends (the RL friends who introduced me to Tumblr and the people I only know through Tumblr). My characters all have Tumblr blogs. Some of the novel is going to be taken directly from their blogs. We’ll get to see events through their eyes and in their own words.

The Project Cecil Playlist Page.

Playlist: Track 3

This song takes me into the psyche of one of my main characters.

This character has traumatic memories of nearly drowning. This person also often feels like they are metaphorically drowning in their own body and sometimes feels the pull towards non-existence that is not quite being suicidal but also not quite not.

The drowning experience forms a link with another character that I’ll be touching on with the next track.

Playlist Page where this all gets explained.

Playlist: Track 1

This is the sound of my opening scene. The last moment in the story where my characters still think that order still holds sway. This is the music that’s playing when the person who’s going to be the leader of my little group of sleuths finds out that something bad has happened to someone that she cares about.

This is a great song to have on any writing playlist because it’s like musical prozac.

When i’ve been down at my lowest ebb – and that is pretty fucking low – I have found myself self medicating with this song using the 24 hour version. That’s not a typo. That’s a link to a 24 hour long version of the video though the page is a bit buggy at the moment so here’s a link to a YouTube playlist of it.

For more information about what’s happening in here see this post and this page.

Using a Playlist

A while back I wrote a post about how I use playlists to create an appropriate head space for the novel I’m working on. Some people found the post quite useful. With NaNoWriMo approaching and a new novel in the planning phase I thought I’d share the project playlist and how I’m using it.

I don’t have a title for the novel yet so I’m calling it Project Cecil. It’s a nod to one of my favourite writers, Warren Ellis. When he’s working on something that’s under an NDA he gives it a code name so he can talk about it on his blog or his newsletter.

Project Cecil is the straight crime story I was challenged to write. I was having a lot of trouble with it but the process of building the playlist has already been really useful. It’s given me a better handle on my killer and on some of the themes that are probably going to come out. There’s 33 songs on the playlist in it’s current form and I plan to focus on 1-3 songs per post.

That’s the plan but since it might turn out to be as boring as all hell I reserve the right to drop it and post something else instead. The playlist is certainly not the only thing I’m going to be posting over the next couple of months. I have a lot of thoughts about preparation and writing a first draft so expect the blog to be heavy on writing stuff and light on Zeppelins until at least the end of November.

Advice to writers – playlists

This is a departure from my previous posts aimed at young writers. This one is for everyone because this post is something I really needed to know ages ago but instead had to find out the hard way.

Music while writing can be controversial. Some writers, like Ian Rankin, swear by it and some, like Philip Pullman, can get quite salty on the subject. Even the writers that like to write to music tend to say that they can’t listen to music with words.

For years I resisted writing music, even though I love music, even though my husband would make me writing playlists based on the book I was working on, even though I tend to turn to music videos for inspiration when I’m all out of ideas. Gentlepersons, I was wrong. Sort of.

I come to you today not to praise the writing playlist but to suggest a new use for it.

One reason that we use music in films is because it’s great at setting the scene, creating mood, driving emotion. That’s not necessarily great while you’re writing. Unless you’re very careful you can end up with the music you’re listening to driving the scene instead of the characters. But writing doesn’t just happen while you’re sitting at a keyboard or a notebook.

My best writing often happens while I’m standing at a bus stop, or shopping, or looking out of a moving vehicle. It’s not really writing then, of course, at that point it’s still story. It doesn’t become writing until I sit down at the computer and write it. But that purposeful daydreaming of story is a vital part of my creative process and I can’t be the only one.

Here’s how to use a writing playlist to make your purposeful daydreaming more useful.

  1. Create a playlist for each writing project. Name it after the working title.
  2. Give each of your characters their own theme songs, they can have as many as you like.
  3. Pick some songs that reflect the major themes or moods or events of the story.
  4. Every time you add a new element to the story try to add a relevant song.
  5. Listen to this playlist whenever you’re doing something boring, like housework or shopping or walking somewhere.
  6. Only listen to the playlist that’s related to the current project. When you switch projects switch playlists.

This is so useful because the playlist creates a headspace that you come to associate with the project. That means that you can stop working on it for a while, do something else, come back and the music will take you back to where you were when you were working on it. The music pulls your imagination in the right direction. It becomes the soundtrack to the moving pictures in your mind.

Try it out, folks, don’t make the mistake I did and write another four first drafts before giving it a chance.

Millennial Angst.

This isn’t a post about Millennials being all angsty. This is a post about GenXers and Baby Boomers getting all angsty about Millennials.

I just saw (with my own two eyes) someone claim that Millennials calling a phone with no battery charge ‘dead’ is down to their “morbid fascination with death”. This was my response.

What the actual fuck? I’m 45, so right in the middle of Generation X, and I say this. So does my mother, who was born during WWII, and my Mother-in-law, who is a Boomer. People have been describing a battery without charge as ‘dead’ for as long as we’ve had batteries.

To all the old people out there going to such an effort to ‘other’ young people I say, “Grow the fuck up. The reason you don’t ‘get’ them is down to the passage of time and your lack of imagination and intellectual laziness. Either make some effort or shut the hell up, lie the fuck back down and prepare for a dirt nap.”

It makes me so angry. The Boomers had entire genres of film and music based on the idea that the older generation didn’t understand them. And they learned precisely nothing from it.

I lived through the spectacle of the very people who listened to Rock and Roll (aka the Devil’s music) getting all panicky about Punk, Glam Rock and the New Romantics.  I listened to the very men who got beaten up for having long hair getting all sniffy about men with make-up and women with buzzcuts.

Time moves on and a lot of people my age and older seem to want to either pretend that it doesn’t or to blame young people. Neither of those is going to work. New stuff keeps happening and some of it is great. Ask some young people to recommend some for you. Maybe listen when they talk? Maybe don’t assume that the world still works the way it did when you were young? Maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn to accept other people’s lived experience as genuine.

Or you could stop pretending to be relevant and get the hell out of the way.