Thursday, March 04, 2010

Rock On

By Nichole Giles

This week I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about music and the effect it has had on my life. I do everything by music, and every thought, emotion, action, inaction has a theme song in my mind. Every book I read, every major life event, every important or memorable moment has been assigned a musical theme.

The funny thing is that I don’t remember when I started doing this, which tells me I’ve always worked that way. Even more funny is that while five years ago I wouldn’t have even dreamed of admitting something like this to anyone, now I have reason to tell, well, all my readers here at the very least. No big deal.

Because it’s normal, right? Isn’t it? I thought so. Yeah.

So anyway, last weekend I attended a writer’s conference in Phoenix. I heard several speakers, learned many lessons, had a few ah-ha moments. You know, the usual. And then, during the last lecture of the day, Nancy Turner talked about overcoming writer's block and she said something that struck a chord in me. She said, “Everything has a theme song.” And she went on to explain that even if every scene in your book doesn’t have a theme song, at least every manuscript should have one in the mind of the author. A song that helps you get back into the theme of the book, the minds of the characters, the story itself.


So that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. Every morning when I crank up my stereo—which is piped in through speakers my wonderful, thoughtful, insightful husband installed in my bathroom ceiling one Christmas—I’m getting ready, gearing up for an afternoon of writing. Or thinking about writing. Or plotting. Or, well, you know. Life revolves around story when you’re a writer, and my love of music has been fueling my love of story all along. I see the connection now, and it makes total sense to me.

Music is an expression of story, and story an extension of the music. So when Ms. Turner said that in conjunction with overcoming writer's block, I couldn’t help but grin. Okay, actually I almost laughed. But not at her, because the class was great. I was laughing at me because I could name titles and artists for certain scenes in all my works in progress, and even overall theme songs for entire novels. Talk about dorktacular.

Anyway, my point is, the next time you struggle with a writer’s block, try sifting through some mood music, and maybe even work on assigning the scene a song that will inspire you to keep going. It works. Trust me. I’ve been doing it for years.

Until next time, write (and rock) on!


C. K. Bryant said...

Speakers in the bathroom? Dang! "OH HONEY?" I'll be right back. Now where did he go. "Sweetie?"

Braden said...

That is an excellent idea--I think I've done it a little big intuitively, but making it conscious is a great idea.

Nichole Giles said...

I know, C.K. I had the same thought when I opened one of the speakers and he explained the plan of installation to me. Genius! Gotta love a man who knows me that well.

And Braden, yes, I'm telling you, it does work.

Carolyn V. said...

For my current WIP I've been listening to a particular group that just brings tons of ideas. I love it! Great post Nichole!

Nichole Giles said...

What group, Carolyn? I'd love to know. For me it really depends on the scene, but I have a specific work in progress for which I've assigned--don't laugh--Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Yeah. I know. But I just love that song.

Lots of Second Hand Serenade these days, too.

L.T. Elliot said...

I find music to be so inspirational and whenever I get into a funk, I pick a song that "feels" like my character and BAM! I'm back. =]

Write on, Nichole!

Cindy (C.L.) Beck said...

Such a great tip! There's always music running around in my head anyway, so why not pick a theme for the book as I'm working on it!

Love ya for that idea! :)

Nichole Giles said...

It feels like I'm in a writing funk a lot lately, which is why music is so important to my process. Glad you liked the post, kids. Now, back to writing!