Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Hint of a Playlist, and a Scary Idea

A playlist for a novel? Me? Nuh-uh. I've always written in silence. I may or may not be the mother of a kid who did his homework in front of the TV and protested that he needed two things going on at once, but for me, the background never stays in the background. It ends up becoming the foreground...which may make me the one who can't stay on task. Anyway.

I also think playlists are way more common among YA than MG writers, and I am MG. That is, until last week I got this completely impossible dangerous scary idea for a YA. I mean so impossibly dangerously scary that I may not ever write it. (And for now, I won't; I have to finish the one I'm on.) But it has a few notes jotted on its behalf, and now it may even have a song. The song came to my mind totally unbidden a few nights ago, and I seemed to "know" it was for this idea. Uh-oh.

So, before I leave you with Dan Fogelberg, I pose a discussion question: Do you think playlists are mainly/only a YA thing, and if you use them, by what process do songs "make the list"? Do you go looking for them, or do they just come?


16 comments:

Barbara Watson said...

I write in silence, too. Well, that's not true, my desk sits in the center of our very open floor plan. :-) But I've never made play lists because music is its own story to me so I can't listen to it while I create my story. Football game noise and other household sounds are just fine, however.

Vijaya said...

Marcia, I think writing what you're afraid to write can be some of the most powerful. And if you're giving us a hint with dear old Dan, I wonder what it :)

As to music, I love it too much to listen to it while I'm working. It becomes a distraction. But it plays a part ... with both novels, I had very specific songs in my head for certain scenes. It comes unbidden. It usually gets into the ms somehow, either through the rhythm of the words, or the ideas ...

Happy writing!!!

Leandra Wallace said...

I write w/music sometimes. Depending on my mood. And I don't make playlists(I'm YA) but certain songs will come on the radio, and I'm like- that one goes w/this idea I have, or the story I'm working on now, etc. Good luck w/your new idea, sounds like a doozy! =)

Marcia said...

Barbara -- I think that's just it. In many cases, music is a competing story going on. Football is not.

Vijaya -- Yup. This idea is scary nine ways from Sunday. I may just have to dub the poor thing "Scary" until its day comes...if its day comes.

Leandra -- Sounds like "they come unbidden" might be how it works.

Mirka Breen said...

Now I *have* to know about your so impossibly scary idea...
I hope you write it, publish it, and knock our socks off.

I'm one who must write in silence, though I could manage certain kinds of music in the background if I have to. (Like DD playing Bach.) What I can't have are words. They jump into my head and mess up the stew.

Emily R. King said...

I like music every once in a while. And usually it's just my normal playlist.

Kelly Hashway said...

Like you, I write in silence. But I do have play lists for some of my books. The Touch of Death (YA) play list was selected after I wrote the book, and I chose songs that fit the story.
I have had some books be inspired by songs, so that's almost the opposite process.
I guess you just never know.

Marcia said...

Mirka -- Yes, words would be "worse." Bach would be gorgeous, but still might carry me off to other places than my book. Or -- maybe carry me to places where I could receive MORE of my book.

Emily -- My granddaughter always wants music going, so I hear a lot of kids' songs lately!

Kelly -- Yes, every book can be different. And I very much believe in a song inspiring a book.

Andrea Mack said...

So exciting that you got a new idea -- it's hard to a exiting new idea on hold when you're working on something else!

Medeia Sharif said...

For my soon-to-be-published book I used a playlist. I found a Youtube channel that fit my novel perfectly and replayed it while writing. That was for drafting and revising. I need silence for editing.

Marcia said...

Andrea -- Sometimes it is; I'm usually pretty good at making new ideas wait their turn, though. And this one may stew for quite some time.

Medeia -- I hadn't thought about music with a draft vs. music with editing. What you say does make sense.

Janet Johnson said...

So, I am an MG writer as well, so no playlists. But I have a YA on the backburner. Definitely something to think about. Maybe that could help . . . :)

Kim Van Sickler said...

I love to write in utter silence! But, there have been times when I'm trying to finetune a character, that I will listen to a song that I think represents what the character stands for to psych me up. MG or YA. I'm curious to hear more about your scary YA. I just finished reading Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects, so it will be pretty hard to scare/gross me out right now. You wanna try?

Marcia said...

Kim -- It could be very useful to consider a character's favorite music! That's not something I've ever really explored. As for the idea, I don't mean it's a scary/gross book per se. I mean that, for a variety of reasons, it's scary to consider writing this idea.

cleemckenzie said...

I never wrote with any music. It only distracted me; however, I joined the Tree of Lifers collaboration and I had to listen to music in order to write the story. Now, I'm re-thinking my "no music" rule. I found listening to the sound track very inspiring.

Marcia said...

Lee -- Very interesting! Maybe the ability to listen to music while writing is in part learned?