One of the first things I do as I try to figure out the characters and plot for a new WIP is listen to music, with an eye (ear?) toward songs that clarify my characters emotions — their Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. As I identify a song that one of my characters might relate to, it goes in my messy, unorganized jot pad, and over a few weeks, I am able to put together a playlist that somehow captures different aspects of my story.
For NaNoWriMo, I have been working on a chick lit — something a little different for me, but once I got a few songs in my head, it started flowing. Here’s some of the highlights from my playlist, with an explanation why I picked each one:
1. England Swings – Roger Miller: This is a kind of novelty song from the 1960’s, but I’ve always liked it. Like me, my heroine Cassie is a devout Anglophile, and listening to “bobbies on bicycles. . . Westminster Abbey, the Tower and Big Ben” lets me get into her head pretty quickly.
2. Your Love is My Drug – Ke$ha: Cassie goes way overboard for a very appealing gentleman, and this song captures that addiction-like mania you feel in the first over-the-top days of a relationship. And unfortunately, Cassie learns why you should say no to drugs, including love.
3. Dirty Laundry – The Eagles: Cassie lives in a small Southern town where her daddy is the Baptist preacher. The church is based on the one I grew up in, where the ladies would never, ever gossip, but they could hang your dirty laundry out all over town by making “prayer requests” for you. When Cassie gets caught doing something the church doesn’t approve of, boy, does the dirty laundry get aired!
4. I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) – Meat Loaf: Ok, I know. Meat Loaf. He’s bombastic and over the top and my children make fun of me for listening to him. But in this story, Cassie makes small decisions, one at a time, to hang onto Mr. Wonderful. They end up changing who she is, and finally she has to decide just how far she can go for love without giving up herself.
5. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield: Cassie is a writer, and the lyrics of this song sound like something she could have written herself at the end of the story. The theme is that you have to go through the emotional rollercoaster for yourself, and stay open to the possibilities that you encounter, cause you are the author of your own story. If you’ve never heard it, find a copy and listen. It is beautiful, meaningful, and a future classic.
So that’s what’s playing in my muse Bridget’s ear. What’s in your playlist?