Character Theme Songs

Bear with me while I catch my breath.

V's gorgeous cover!

Donna's debut book deal!

I'm so thrilled that the four of us, all unpublished when we met during a workshop in December 2009, will all publish together in 2012.  I can't quite believe it.  I don't know whether I would be published or not without the YA Muses, but I know for certain it would not be anywhere near as special.  Bear with me while I try not to cry.

As Bret would say, "Ahem."

So music. All my main characters and relationships have their own song.  Some of my big scenes have their own songs as well.  I don't usually have any songs in mind when I start writing, but as I'm working on a book songs will gradually get added to my playlist.  I'll hear a song, and have one of those OMG moments, where I realize the song evokes exactly the right emotion, tone or character trait.  Then I'll download the song  and have it at the ready.

My character and scene playlist is more than just a soundtrack for my novel. I can be taken back into the character's head, or back into a particular scene through a song.

One of the dangers of starting a new project in between revisions of a contracted book is that just as I'm discovering the voice and really understanding the new character, along comes an edit letter and I have to turn back to the "finished" project.  It's hard to shift gears at first.  Until I put in the playlist.  Then it all comes back to me.  The tone.  The voice. The feeling.
Occasionally I find the perfect song after the book is finished.  I still use it.  I think of it as the "soundtrack" for the movie.  Maybe even the song that plays during the credits.  I have one song that evokes a scene in BANDIA so perfectly, that it's replaced the original song altogether.

I thought I'd share some of my favorite writing songs of late:

Simple Math by Manchester Orchestra:

This song perfectly sums up the relationship between Blake and Brianna in BANDIA.  It also exemplifies Brie's internal conflict.  The math analogy is especially fitting for her.  I love the simple production style and how the bare instrumentation evokes raw emotion.  Love this.

He is All You Want by The Audition

This song perfectly fits one of the main characters in a new project I'm working on.  He's insecure about his relationship with his girlfriend and convinced that he has no real future with her.  He becomes convinced that she is in love with someone else.  I love the way the chorus has a crescendo that mirrors the strong emotions.

Inside of You by the Maine

The lyrics of this song aren't a perfect fit (the characters are older and the themes are more mature) but the mood and tone of the song are exactly right for the love-hate relationship that underlies SPIES.   Tanner and Berry dance around each other a lot, and I love that he is constantly rebuffed and still coming back for more, knowing that he's falling for someone he can never really have.

Liar (It Takes One to Know One) by Taking Back Sunday

This song has great conflict and angst.  The guitar riffs are as angry as the vocals.  I love the way builds to a strong finish. Its a great song for climactic revelations!

Ordinary World by Duran Duran

In BANDIA, a paranormal romance, Brianna must face the fact that she is far from ordinary.  This song works on several levels, but I especially love that it's about finding a way out of heartbreak.

Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional

This song is perfect for the ending of SPIES.  That is all.


I'm going to have to come back to listen to all of these - my daughter's actually taking a nap! Looking forward to hearing the good tunes. I liked Dashboard Confessional way back when, so I'm especially looking forward to that one. Thanks for sharing the songs!

It's inspiring to read about the progress of the Muses. I really appreciate the thoughtful, informative posts. Seriously--thanks for blogging about the journey(s)--fascinating stuff. 2012 is going to be a great year for reading!

Beth, I hope you liked the Dashboard Confessional song!

PB Rippey, it's been so amazing for us to get to share our experiences with each other and with you!

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