First off, let me say that, as an addendum to last week's post, I went and saw Iron Man 3 today and it was awesome! Not what I expected, but better. I highly recommend it, and if you go, make sure you stay and watch through the credits. The scene at the end is worth the wait. It's about as good as the shwarma scene after The Avengers.
So, this week I've been thinking a lot about music and how it impacts storytelling. I recently rewatched How to Train Your Dragon and commented to a friend on how awesome the music is. I mentioned that, while revising the climax of The Shifting (soon to be published!), I listened to the HTTYD soundtrack. The music made everything I read over sound epic, which was flattering but not the best emotional stimulation for critical revision.
I've heard a few writers comment that they've listened to music while writing to help them get into the scene or the character's mind. I've done it, and I think they're right in doing it: the right kind of music really helps me understand my characters and feel the story's tone better than if I hadn't. That said, listening to the wrong music really detracts and I get stuck. Right now I'm working, a bit idly, on a middle grade novel about an eleven-year-old thief. I'm listening to a lot of Radio Disney, teen pop of other venues, and high-adventure techno. When my playlist skips to showtunes or Celtic music, I lose the feel.
So yes, I have a soundtrack for almost everything I write. I'm addicted to music, and can't imagine spending hours of my life in silence, though at times I shut down the music to focus on a tricky part. But the music bolsters my emotions. Here's the soundtrack (in case you were wondering) for The Shifting:
How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron soundtrack
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (Broadway) soundtrack
"Watch Me Shine" - Joanna Pacitti
"Ordinary" - Train
"I'm Alive" - Next to Normal
"Desert Rose" - Sting
"Where Are You Going" - Dave Matthews Band
"Caledonia" - Celtic Thunder
"It's the End of the World As We Know It" - R.E.M.
"How Far We've Come" - Matchbox Twenty
"How to Save a Life" - The Fray
"Crazy" - Seal
"Do You Believe in Magic?" - The Lovin' Spoonful
"Disease" - Matchbox Twenty
"Unwell" - Matchbox Twenty
"This One's For the Girls" - Martina McBride
"Move Along" - The All-American Rejects
"Through Heaven's Eyes" - The Prince of Egypt
"What Makes You Different" - Backstreet Boys
"Innocent" - Taylor Swift
"Defying Gravity" - Wicked
Naturally, this is not a comprehensive list of songs I used. But these were some of the ones I gravitated to as I wrote. Why? Well, I'll let you figure that out on your own. The book isn't out yet, but you can read an excerpt here, in my publisher's online magazine.