Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PROCESS--Spaces and Places--Part 2 (I’ve Got the Music in Me)

I've spent the last few days reworking and revisiting various parts of one of my middle-grade manuscripts. It invades my mind, regardless of the specific SPACE or PLACE.

Last night, on the 30 minute drive home from a meeting, I was bombarded by imagery and ideas which may play a significant part in my story. This one "chapter" kept replaying itself, fixing up parts here and there each time I retold it. However, I wanted to go to the next scene. I know the overall gist of the plot, but I can't seem to picture it the way that I want to. (My little movie-maker-mind is out of film!) That's how I've come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to find my story’s soundtrack.

Each story that I write has its own little soundtrack of a sort. Music, or a specific cadence/rhythm, helps me get into the story better. It might be due to my slight attention deficit that the music doesn't distract me; it actually helps me to focus. The soundtracks reflect my writing "mood", the tone of the piece, the settings, and often times, the characters themselves.

I can influence my students’ writing by the music I play in the classroom, so why not influence my own? For instance, I like listening to the trickle of rain when I'm writing a scene in which a character is stuck in their room. (Yes, there are soundtracks for this!) I've used tension-building music to help me on focus on the pace of my writing. I use music with a driving beat to make my heart thump. I like to imagine my character feeling this as well. For some reason, I've found Joss Stone, with her soulful voice, soothing to help me during a re-read/editing session and helpful overall.

The particular scene I want to work on involves my main characters in a bit of a pickle. Remember the great music in the scene from Thomas Crown Affair? When Pierce Bronson is evading the police in the museum? I tried this music; it didn't match for me. So today I've been listening on-line. The amazing thing about music stores on-line is that you CAN listen before buying. With MP3 players and digital music downloads I can pick and choose a variety of songs and make a special album targeted to my writing needs. I find this incredibly helpful when I start out, not knowing specifically what I’m looking for.

I suggest trying this while you’re writing. In fact, let me know if you are already using music. What gets your writing going?

No comments: