Monday, February 21, 2011

Lost Cities, Dead Things And Creeping Inertia

Have I mentioned I've got a novel coming out next year? My urban fantasy CITY OF THE LOST drops next January and the follow-up, DEAD THINGS, will be out... some day. I don't know when. 2013 maybe? No idea.

Yes, I know you find this stuff absolutely riveting. Okay, maybe not.

Anyway, DEAD THINGS is making the rounds right now among some of my Trusted Cohorts(tm) so I can get an idea of just how badly it sucks. Hopefully won't need too much of a rewrite, but we'll see.

All of this means that I have to get cracking on the next one. Can't sit on my ass, after all. On the chance that DAW wants a third book it'd be nice to have one to give them. Or at least an idea for a book to give them. Or something.

Music plays a big role in my writing. It helps connect me to the story and the characters when I've been away from it for a bit. I've tried using pictures as a touchstone, but that's never really worked for me. Too static. Doesn't give me a sense of who a character is, what the story is about. The music keys into concepts the way pictures don't.

It's a big part of my planing process. Which sometimes can stretch well past the initial draft.

I remember the playlist for CITY OF THE LOST having a lot of Massive Attack on it, though for the life of me I can't find the damn thing.

Here's the playlist I did for DEAD THINGS.
  • Inertia Creeps - Massive Attack
  • My Boy Builds Coffins - Florence + The Machine
  • She Cries Your Name - Beth Orton
  • Bones - Little Big Town
  • Pepper - Butthole Surfers
  • Haunted - Poe
  • No More Room - The Scarring Party
  • Sister - She Wants Revenge
  • Casino - Soundtrack from Run Lola, Run
Each one of those is keyed to a story point, a scene or a character. I'd say it paints a pretty decent picture of the book, actually. It's a pretty bleak story. But then it's me.

Right now I'm trawling through music trying to see what I can use for BOOK THREE. Yeah, snappy title, ain't it? Usually takes a while to pull it together. I'll run across something, the light bulb goes off and onto the list it goes.

So far I've got a couple Don Henley songs, Dirty Laundry and Sunset Grill.

Oddly enough I have trouble writing to music. I have to get into a groove before I can turn it on or I'm screwed. And if it has words it gets in my way. So I tend to stick to a lot of ambient for actual writing.

For the writer types out there, how about you? Do you use music in your planning or when you write? What do you listen to? What have you used

Thoughts? Buehler? Anyone?


John Hornor said...

I don't use music plan, but I do use it to get into the headspace for writing. For SG I listened a lot to Alan Lomax's recordings and, strangely, Sufjan Stevens. Weird but true.

Jarrett said...

I wasn't a music guy until the last couple of novellas I've been working on. And it's not music I listen to regularly. It's trip hop and acid jazz and I'd never really listened to is regularly until I started writing these pieces. For some reason it puts my head in the place it needs to be to write on these.

Chris said...

Music informs my writing something fierce, but I can't write with music on. I'm good with silence or background noise, but I'm completely unable to tune out music like most folks can. Instrumental or not, it sort of pops my imagination bubble...

Karina Cooper said...

For my Dark Mission series, I tend to rely heavily on scores for The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and Constantine.

For my secret project, I have a Pandora station based on Francois Adrien-Boieldieu, and I occasionally dip into the score for Sherlock Holmes. All of the above lack words.

Other projects have used scores from The Painted Veil, Transformers, and belly dance rhythms.

Like you, I can't do music with words while writing, which is why I'll pop on any old type of music while I revise, as it keeps me from losing myself to the story.

When it comes to characters I build for my LARPs and personas, I'll create whole playlists of various music, words or otherwise.

Good luck with BOOK THREE!

Mike Sperry said...

Congrats on the upcoming book!