Monday, January 20, 2014

Music + Manuscript = True Love

I’ve emerged from my revision cave. I AM ALIVE. Barely, but I'm done with first-round edits, y'all.

In early December, I received my first edit letter for PLAY ON. In one of my earlier posts, you may have seen me say that I love revising. And I still do, but this time? Things were different. Because this was a big revision. Big. BIG, big.

From the time that I started querying this book until I dove back into the story, seven months had passed. In that time, I wrote and revised a different manuscript, so my brain was pretty detached from this book's world. I was beyond excited to start the revisions on this one, but once I opened up the document? In the words of my MC:

I got nothin’.

But rest assured, things did start coming, slowly but surely. How did that happen? I had the right song. Seriously. Go with me here.

Pretty much every writer I know either drafts or edits to some sort of music. Many even have a designated playlist for each manuscript. I do. I had a carefully constructed playlist that I listened to while drafting PLAY ON. So naturally, when it came time to edit this bad boy, I broke out the playlist. The problem was that it just didn't fit the vision or the tone I was trying to achieve with this revision. It frustrated the heck out of me.

But then I heard it. THE song--the one that matched the tone of my story perfectly. Then, I heard another one. And ANOTHER. After that? I was golden. Revisions were still rough, but it helped to have those songs that I could always go back to. They kind of programmed my brain, I guess you could say. They set me on the right track when my characters tried to get all out of whack. The best thing? It's when you find an artist whose voice sounds exactly how you’d imagine your character’s voice. The BEST, I say.

The TL;DR version: my advice is to find at least one song that “defines” your manuscript, so to speak. It’ll help get your head in the right place at the right time. Pavlov's dog, and all that jazz.  

I’ll share one of my songs below (it’s country. It’s twangy. You’ve been warned.). Do you have a song that matches your manuscript? 


  1. I agree! Music is a huge part of my writing regimen too. I like soundtracks. The last manuscript I wrote should come with a note suggesting the reader listen to the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack by Bear McCreary. :-)

  2. Music is so inspirational during drafting and revising! One of my critique partners told me when she hears "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons she thinks of my ms. That song is the most played on my book playlist! Crazy! :)

  3. I've had several pieces inspire -- well several pieces! I'd never have the war scene in my MG without John Williams, the love scene in my YA Sci-Fi without Evanescence or the premise for my WIP without Coldplay. Amazing music sparks creativity.