As I wait to hear back on the query letters I’ve sent out for my novel, I’ve been keeping busy with another little project. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been filling up another Novel Notebook with research, brainstorm blocks, image collages, sketches, research notes, and a playlist for the sequel to Novel #2.
At the core of my writing process is music. The playlist for Novel #2 proved to be an immensely powerful tool in helping me shape characters and mood. Overall, 94 songs served as the soundtrack for the “movie” playing in my head from start to finish. As I embark on writing the sequel, I intend on using this tool once again to create a stronger emotional sense of my characters as they undertake new journeys and to aid me in creating an atmosphere that is a bit different from Novel #2.
Novel #2 is all about falling in love and fighting for what matters most in life. There is struggle, but also strength and determination. Therefore, the music on my playlist was often ethereal to reflect the nature of Ian’s identity, but also to emulate the euphoria of falling in love. In addition, songs with a strong beat and empowering lyrics dominated the latter portion of the novel to represent a fierce conflict that rages both internally and externally for my characters. Aside from storyline songs, the playlist also included music for individual characters. In particular The Beatles, Junip, and Death Cab for Cutie represented my main character, Amanda.
The sequel follows a different plotline in that it’s a step beyond the “origin” story for Amanda and Ian. They now find themselves in a new struggle that is defined by several factors:
- Falling in love is great, but it’s not always easy
- Confronting past “demons”
- Once you have what you’ve always wanted, it isn’t what you imagined
- Issues of identity
A new journey means new music, but there still has to be ties to the familiar in order to maintain continuity. The mood is a little darker, but it’s not overwhelmingly heavy. As for my characters, they are experiencing growing pains, but they retain their core personalities. To make a playlist to accommodate these issues, I started by selecting songs on the old playlist that I consider to be overall theme songs. These are songs that will work for the entire series as they reflect Amanda and Ian’s bond and the big picture journey they are traveling.
For example, Firefly by Delerium is the ultimate song that inspires Amanda and Ian’s journey as a whole:
At the same time, I am selecting songs that are unique to the plot and character development of the sequel. To achieve continuity, I’m looking to the same bands for new music that has a familiar feel. Delerium was the central component of Novel #2’s playlist so I combed through all of their albums and found a perfect new mix. Additionally, the band Junip has since come out with a new album, which is great news for Amanda!
Here’s a selection of what I’ve got so far . . .
- Flowers Become Screens
- Consensual Worlds
Delerium – Single Tracks
- Entire Album, but especially Line of Fire and Your Life Your Call
Once I get this playlist loaded on my iPod, my muse will have the juice it needs to start writing the first draft!
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For more posts on creating the perfect music mix, see The Daily Prompt: Mix Tape Masterpiece
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