Music to motivate the muse

Nashville own Kings of Leon
Nashville's own Kings of Leon

     I have always had to have music to listen to as I write.  Even when I was working on the Scottish epic, I listened to bagpipes and celtic music.  As I started to develop Broken, music became very important, because the hero is afterall the lead singer of a rock band.  I think I spent just as much time searching for the right songs and creating a playlist ( that’s a mile long) for my hero and his heroine, as I did writing the story.  I have songs like the Foo Fighter’s “Pretender” and 3 Doors Down’s “Not My Time” that I see the hero singing on stage.  Then I have background music, like The Smith’s “How Soon is Now” for when the heroine first sees the hero.  And I have the love song, actually two.  One has all the lyrics that capture how I think my two characters feel about one another.  It’s forbidden love that is so powerful and Garabage’s “#1 Crush” just echoes that feel so well.  Their other love song, well of course it’s Sarah Mclachlan’s “Angel”.

     Now I am working on this new YA story and all I listen to is the Kings of Leon.  Their new album “Only by the Night” is so haunting and absolutely perfect for the action of the story.  In fact the first song that really fit into the story is “Crawl”.  I don’t want to spoil, but that song just reminds me of animals crawling and the heroine having to …well that’s spoiling.

     So I’m wondering who else must have a playlist?  Who else has muses that demand background music for everything little thing s/he does?  And what’s thier theme song? 

Here are my muses’ theme songs :

Caleb (from Broken) – Foo Fighter’s Pretender

Sarah (from Broken) – Seether’s Rise Above This

Kale (from Redd) – Kings of Leon’s Crawl

Heaven/Redd (from Redd) – Fiona Apple’s Criminal

Leath (from Haunted) – 3 Doors Down’s When I’m Gone

Caitlyn (from Haunted) – Cake’s Short Skirt and a Long Jacket then later Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life

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Using horoscopes to define your characters

          Well, I never thought I would actually use a zodialogical chart thingy to develop my characters.  But when I realized I was having trouble in the middle of Broken, I knew I had to really dig to find out who my characters were.  Caleb has always been easier to grasp.  Ever since I started a notebook, recounting various scenes through his perspective, I understood his motivation and drive clearly.  Sarah was harder.  She needed more drastic internal conflict.  And she came across as two dimensional, that is until I figured out what her birthday was, April 12, 1989 for those interested.  After I came up with her birthday and Zodiac sign, I really could see her better.  Based on the Aries characteristics, I suddenly could visualize how she would react to certain situations, how she would banter a little more sarcstically with Caleb and her friends, and how her past haunted her and she blamed her self (typical open mouth insert foot/ I got my self in this mess mentality).  But just to see if other authors used this – trust me they do – my best friend and I sat down and tried to enter the birthdays of two very famous characters.  Guess what, they matched…she is virgo and he’s cancer…and if you know who I’m talking about then you can see why I am forever using astrological charts to get a head start on my characters.

The hair splitting ordeal

          This is the first time I have ever attempted to write a pitch.  It’s for a contest, the Knight Agency’s Nutshell contest.  And the parameters : write a hook/pitch of your completed manuscript in three sentences and 150 words.  I have been working on this for the last three days.  My goodness, I never thought it would be so hard.  But I think that it has helped me to be more concise.  I tend to write long and restate things over and over sometimes.  Now off to work on the synopsis, whoohoo that will be fun.  Here’s what I am think the final that I submit for the contest will look like.

          Caleb Smith leads a double life, masquerading as the lead singer of the Dragons and a pretentious college student, he’s also a renegade angel; however Hell wants his pretty head on a plate and Heaven wants their AWOL military genius back on the front line. All Caleb wants is Sarah, Wenham University’s arousing new student, but having her means revealing who he really is and breaking more than just a few of Heaven’s laws, not to mention bringing the demons of Hell after them. When their unyielding passion ignites a fire storm of wrath and fury, Sarah must give in to her heart and trust her soul to save her angel from a fate of eternal damnation; losing him forever just isn’t an option.

This is what I actually sent and thought I should update it!