Thursday, January 14, 2010

Writing Ambiance

Last spring I got a song stuck in my head. "Mad World." It stayed there for days.

I'm from the Eighties, so I remembered the Tears for Fears version. But this one was haunting. Sad. Filled with pain.

It was awesome.

And suddenly, I was in the right mood to start my book.

The two versions that gave me this great feeling were sung by Gary Jules and Adam Lambert. Yes, I have a Ph.D. and I went to Yale and I watch every single episode of American Idol.

There are more of us than you might think.

Current iTunes play counts:
Adam Lambert version: 510
Gary Jules version: 670

I now have about 40 songs in my "Mad World" playlist. They are songs that make me think about certain aspects of the book. They put me into the heads of my characters. They refocus me into the Ganzfield world. I put the playlist on whenever I'm writing; it keeps me in the book.

When a song comes on that pops my attention out of the book, I skip it. If this happens a few times, I take it off the playlist (Sorry, Lady Gaga. I had to take off "Paparazzi"). But most of them have been there for a while, and they now have play counts in the hundreds.

A few recommendations:
Supermassive Black Hole: Muse
Strong: Velvet Chain (I went to high school with the lead singer. Small world)
Cavanaugh Park: Something Corporate
Don't Panic: Coldplay
Fidelity: Regina Spektor
21 Guns: Green Day
She is Love: Parachute
Can't Help Falling in Love: Elvis (lyrics from this one actually appear in the book)
Blue: Eiffel 65 (these are in it, too)
Only You: Joshua Radin
Letters from the Sky: Civil Twilight

I hope that one or more of these songs gets stuck in your head today. Got any others to recommend to me?


Matthias said...

Kate, I hope you know that the Gary Jules version was composed for the excellent creepy movie "Donnie Darko." I can never hear the song -- any version -- without getting movie flashbacks.

A friend of mine once provided me with an MP3 of Jules performing his version live on guitar, if you want a fourth version.

ann foxlee said...

It's so funny that you say that, because on my media player on the computer, I have my playlists arranged by mood, specifically for writing! Depending on the scene, I just pull up that playlist and I'm instantly in the perfect mood for what I'm writing.

I can't do music with lyrics though, I just start singing along and forget to write :-)

I am particularly fond of (most of) the Amelie soundtrack and (most of) the Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightly version) soundtrack.

I do like electronic-type music for other stories though.

Disgruntled Bear said...

I have a bunch of soundtrack songs that give me movie flashbacks, but the one that has the strongest pull has got to be "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel.

SAY ANYTHING was an awesome movie.

I have a bunch of non-lyic music on my writing playlist, too, Ann. It does help kee focus.

Disgruntled Bear said...

KEEP focus. Curse you, typos!

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