Play Lists . . . Or Not
Am I the last person jumping on the Play List bandwagon, or have you been holding out, too?
I first heard of play lists with the release of “Twilight.” Who hasn’t heard how Stephanie Meyers found inspiration in Muse’s music? I didn’t see it as something I might want or need. Ms. Meyers is just one person, and we all have our unique writing processes. Right?
But suddenly, everyone has play lists. Play lists have their own spot on author webpages. And there are almost as many questions asked about your play list as about your actual manuscript. I had to pull my head out of the sand and start researching this previously ignored aspect of writing.
My first AH HA moment came from reading articles about creativity. Seems creative people generally release their energies in more than one mode. Meaning writers paint, or design, or sing . . . or play music.
Next came a reminder of something we’ve all known at least on a subconscious level for years: music evokes emotions. When I write, creating and eliciting emotions is my number one goal. Hmm. I was starting to see a light.
And then there are life experiences. If I stop to think about it, there’s a play list for my life. Certain songs are forever connected to specific times or events in my life. Isn’t that true for you, too?
So why, I had to ask myself, wouldn’t it be true for the lives of my characters?
Next problem: how do I develop a play list?
I started by keeping paper and pen in the car (where I’m most exposed to the radio) and writing down any song that might fit with my current manuscript. That turned out to be a short list. Like zero. So I widened my concept to writing down any song I liked. And BINGO! I found the one song that defines my current work: "I Won't Give Up on Us," by Jason Mraz. (Okay, it may seem sappy, but when you’ve waited four hundred years to be reunited with your one and only, it works very well.)
I also found two songs with stories I have to write. Who knew???
But what, you might ask, are the benefits of having a play list? Besides inspiring emotion? For me, the biggest benefit is a seamless continuity of rhythm or cadence. Have you ever read a book where the prose was so buttery smooth that reading felt more like floating? I want that smoothness in my writing. Hitting the play list before writing puts me consistently in the mindset of my work so that the ups and downs of my ‘other life’ don’t slip onto the pages.
Are you considering a play list? Do you already have one? How did you find it? How do you use it?