Music plays a big part in my life, and no matter what I’m doing, there’s sure to be music playing close by on one device or another. From the home stereo to the laptop while I cook, clean or *gulps* do laundry; to earbuds in the mp3 player or cell while I write; to even earbuds in the Kindle while I read (yes, I’m one of those bizarre folks).
When I began the long, arduous, seemingly endless journey of writing In The Best Interest of the Child during NaNoWriMo last year, my playlist was a random selection of about 1600 songs. Slowly, as my characters became more defined and vocal, they would tell me what songs to play. (Stay with me here.)
I finished NaNoWriMo with a word count of nearly 60K, seven chapters, five defined characters…and a music playlist I would spend the next nine months listening. No, not consistently, but words just seemed to flow better when I played that particular playlist.
It wasn’t the playlist I’d initially envisioned. With the psychological focus of the story, and scenes of mental, emotional and physical trauma, I believed I would end up with something more haunting; more ethereal…spiritual, even.
Despite the obstacles, real or imagined, faced by our heroine…and subsequently, her eleven-year-old client, this group of pirates went straight for the romance. And, I mean pirates in the sense that MY characters plundered MY playlist, got it? There are no pirates in the story.
It’s like the characters I created in my mind were judging me – does that mean I was judging myself? – deciding their choices were superior to my own. I grudgingly admit they had a point.
Where I was leaning towards Billy Joel’s She’s Got A Way About Her, lead male, Bruce Bellamy preferred She Is by Ne-Yo and Tim McGraw, and Love, Look What You’ve Done To Me by Boz Scaggs. I wanted Streisand’s Woman in Love, but Olivia Chandler pouted until she got Faith Hill’s If I’m Not In Love With You.
Letting my characters have their way with the music playlist not only made writing their stories easier, the music became their story.
Confused? Don’t be. Their music choices show these characters are more focused on where they’re going, not where they’ve been. It’s my job to recount their journeys, under their watchful eyes, of course. They get to bask in their HEAs (happily ever afters). I have to move on to the next book.
Did In The Best Interest of the Child inspire the playlist, or did the playlist inspire the book? I would like to believe the former, but what do I know? My characters are the boss of me.
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