One thing that is essential to my writing is music. My iPod has grown over time to almost half radio songs and the other half musical scores. I have as more songs by Hans Zimmer than I do Bon Jovi, and I love Bon Jovi.
As the story comes together and the chapters become more fleshed out, I begin to score the book. The music helps me to orchestrate the moments. Because scores are made with specific sounds for a specific movie, (i.e. jungle percussions for King Kong, bagpipes for Braveheart, etc.) it can be difficult to tie a score to what you are writing. A lot of times the songs are hard to fit.
However, to pay a conductor to write a score and then have a full, professional orchestra to perform and record a score for my book would be wasteful at best. Perhaps in ten years if I have bundles of money I could have James Newton Howard hired and it could be a legitimate possibility. At the same time, searching endlessly on the web or downloading any score possible would be a waste of resources. I’d kill endless hours on finding that “perfect fit” and have lost precious time that I could have spent on writing instead. Priorities are important while trying to write while working full time.
As a result, it mainly helps to focus on the emotion of a song. Regardless of whether a song would be a perfect fit, take a look at what the song truly wants to convey to the listener. Is it a moment of extreme catharsis or a sense of foreboding? Once the song seems to generally fit it then comes through the song itself can help orchestrate the specific elements of the scene.
The first song that truly fit was the song “Memories (Someone We’ll Never Know)” from the movie “Moon.” It’s supposed to be a great movie that shows the amazing talent that is Sam Rockwell. The music is orchestrated by Clint Mansell, who grew to fame thanks to working with Darren Aronofsky. Even if you don’t know Mansell, you know his work. The song from “Requiem for a Dream” entitled “Lux Aeterna” was in almost every trailer known to man for a long time until it became an overly saturated cliché.
The song features very simple piano and subtle strings that emphasize a quiet sense of emotion. The emotion of that song is perfect for a key moment for Eric Coleman, the wind energy specialist brought on days before the operation begins. (See my Day Five blog for more information about the character.)
Clint Mansell perfectly captured the isolated emotion of the character that feels separated from the rest of the group as an outsider. It also is perfect for a revelatory moment for the character. He explains a moment from his past to the crew. It explains why his wife is no longer in his life and why he took the job on such short notice.
The song, as well as others from “Moon,” delivers the strong sense of a person away from the normal. Songs like these fit the story perfectly and it becomes very important in my writing. One day, while in Baltimore sitting on a dock, I listened to “Memories (Someone We’ll Never Know)” a good fifteen times, thinking over every sentence of the chapter. How does Eric say each sentence? What does he divulge completely and what does he keep abridged from the crew?
These are the moments that I will love writing in more detail and finishing. As the character biographies come together, I will know the past of each of these characters. Their pasts will result directly in their decisions during the present of the narrative. I plan to keep certain elements of the characters hidden so that the reader will come to their own conclusion about the past of the crew. Look for future song blogs about specific titles that inspire my writing.
See you tomorrow! Thanks for reading!