A Music Playlist for My Work-In-Progress
Chapters In Progress: 10
Chapters Completed: 8
Somehow I’ve developed a bad habit of forgetting how chaotic life can be during the end-of-year holidays. And writing a book amidst the stress of work, Christmas shopping, baking, braving winter weather, and going to or planning parties… Well, who has time for all that? (Ha ha!) So, due to a combined lack of time and concentration, it’s taken from before mid-November to January 2 to write another 5,000 words. But that’s OK. Forward progress is forward progress, especially during one of the busiest times of the year. And progress is always worth celebrating.
Here’s what I’ve worked on since the previous Chronicle:
- Chapters 7 and 14 (the latter was my original Chapter 12) are done! The second of the two had been so close to completion for weeks, but I hadn’t touched it because I’d been focusing on other chapters. So, it felt great to finally put a checkmark next to that entry on my novel “to-do” list.
- Notice that I said Chapter 14 used to be Chapter 12. Yeah. I decided to add new Chapters 11 and 12 after noticing I was trying to cram too much stuff into one or two chapters and needed to space things out more to help with the story’s pace. However, these two new chapters will also allow for more time to fully develop the conflict unraveling between my protagonist and one of her travel companions. This conflict is central to the plot as well as the protagonist’s growth and development. And the more I flesh it out, the more believable I hope it will become.
- I’ve also written various scenes for Chapters 6, 13, and (the newly added) 17. (Yes, I’ve added placeholders for three new chapters since hitting 30,000 words!) As mentioned here, I’m using the “writercopter” method for the novel, working on whichever scenes I’m most inspired to write at that time. And the further I plunge into this story using the “writercopter,” the more grateful I am that I created a outline before doing any writing! I know about 95% of what’s going to happen in this story, but allowing my creativity to flail here, there, and everywhere like octopus arms has started to get overwhelming. My priority for the next few sessions once again is to finish some of these in-progress chapters, and maybe eliminate the pressure I’m unintentionally putting on myself.
- Outside of the novel, I’m continuing to develop historical and character background. I’m also planning to use some of the character development piece in a later Chronicle so you can “meet” the protagonist. What do you think?
Many of you who’ve visited this blog before may know that I’m also a freelance music journalist and avid music fan. It might not surprise you, then, to learn that music is an integral part of my novel-writing sessions. This “novel-writing playlist” doesn’t include the hard rock, progressive, and heavy metal fare I usually listen to. Instead, it shuffles through film score compositions as well as more “pop”-oriented music that reminds me of certain scenes, conflicts, or characters.
When I sit down to work on the novel, I either pick out a specific track that fits what I’m planning to write that day or turn on the iTunes playlist and let it randomly play one song after another until it “finds for me” a piece matching the day’s muse. The music doesn’t distract me, even if I know by heart what scene from which film it belongs to. Instead, the song’s mood, tempo, and/or other elements allow me to focus on my own scene. Sometimes I’m so lost in the intertwining act of imagining and writing that I don’t even hear the music – yet, it helps me feel the emotions I’m hoping to convey in that particular scene or conversation.
So, here are a few songs from my playlist that have been particularly inspiring to write or brainstorm to so far!
“Axe or Sword?” (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
This piece blossoms with so many different emotions and attributes: trust, discovery, companionship / friendship, forgiveness, majesty – I could go on. One of my favorite pieces to write to so far for this novel, it’s been incredibly effective and evocative for quieter or dialogue-centered scenes.
“Prince Caspian Flees” (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)
This track builds in momentum starting at 0:44, then comes the fluttering and swelling of the orchestra and the tribal percussion. It’s not be the best examples of a track I’ve gone to for action-writing, but the necessary urgency, breathlessness, and tension for such scenes are there.
“Evenstar” (The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers)
“Evenstar” was on repeat when I wrote a scene in which [SPOILER] the protagonist learns a close friend has died. [END SPOILER] Now I can’t listen to this track without tearing up. It’s the musical epitome of heartbreak.
“She Moved Through The Fair” (Josh Groban, All That Echoes)
This version of the traditional Irish folk song reminds me of a scene I’ve planned for the novel but have yet to write. It involves the protagonist realizing her true feelings for someone as they talk outside on a balcony, then go inside to dance. The lyrics don’t fit the scene, but that’s not the point. I simply imagine the dance moving to this song’s tempo, and my heart goes pitter-patter.
“Run” (Eklipse, A Night In Strings)
I’m not familiar with Snow Patrol’s original version of “Run,” but this Eklipse cover gets me every time. And somewhere in the mingling of melancholy and love, I see my protagonist and her (eventual) love interest. Maybe it’s because they take the ultimate rollercoaster ride together in this story, and they grow closer through their shared suffering, sadness, and support.
And that concludes this latest Chronicle! I’m starting the New Year with an mini-vacation of sorts to take care of things at home, and to continue working on the book. (Yesterday’s snowstorm helped make this a true stay-cation, too!) January looks like a quiet month right now, so let’s see what happens from here.
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what tracks or genres of music do you play in the background while working on your WIP?
Next Chronicle: When I reach 40,000 words
Until Then: Stay tuned for my review of Baliset’s Exordium EP at Sonic Cathedral! A long time coming, yes, but we’re also preparing for a major Zine facelift, which will hopefully happen soon.