Passions in my life – reading, writing and music.
Music is playing
When I need a break from writing I’ll go walking. Not only do I love the physical benefits I get from walking, but the magic begins when my ipod is whirling and churning out song after song.
My mind is distracted from writing and I’m humming along as I walk along the river bank surrounded by rows of grapevines. And all of a sudden the song that plays is the song of my character – whatever he/she is going through at the point in time – anger, love, anxiety, fear – there seems to be a song for it.
As my first novel, Haven River, started to take shape and Luke became a real person there were songs that just were him. I took a note of those songs and before long I had a playlist that was all about Luke.
I played his songs while I wrote his story and it somehow made Luke stronger as a character.
Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
Best of You – Foo Fighters
Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own – U2
Talk – Coldplay
Wake Me Up when September Ends – Green Day
Numb – Linkin Park
If You’re Gone – Matchbox Twenty
Talk by Coldplay is my favourite. It beautifully personifies the difficult relationship between Luke and his brother, Ryan.
Another writer who has compiled playlists for her characters is Holly Goldberg Sloan Check out the playlists for I’ll Be There.
readwritethink.org has an interesting assignment for students, which asks them to create a playlist for Holden from The Catcher in the Rye (man, I still have yet to read that book!).
Swoonreads is another website that addresses character playlists.
Songs make our characters come alive and are an integral part of the writing process. A character somehow seems incomplete if a song doesn’t tell their story.
If you’ve read Haven River would you agree with the list above? Would you add any other songs? Do you have a playlist for your characters?