Editing, Music Inspiration

Archaeological Dig

October 7, 2009

When I write a first draft, I keep a list of CDs I listen to, often by chapter. As the mood of a chapter changes, so does the CD in the player. Sometimes all I listen to is a single song over and over, until the chapter is complete. Other times, I put on a CD and let it play.

I like to edit and revise to the same music to see if it still sets the right tone. But when I reopened Shades of Pale, the second Mad Max manuscript, I couldn’t find the play list. I dug through my various thumb drives, backed up CDs, my external hard drive and my three laptops to find it. I still couldn’t find the play list. I dragged out shovels and dental picks, brooms and tiny brushes just like I did on a dig one summer back in college. And I nearly panicked. Eventually, I found a rather tattered CD tucked into the wrong physical file folder. Voila! The play list.

I have now added the songs and CDs under the title of each chapter so that I don’t lose it again.

It will be interesting to see if the songs still inspire, or if they have lost their allure in the past few months since the manuscript rested in repose on a shelf. More on that as I get deeper into the editing.

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  • Reply Clementine October 7, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    I relate with this. Jamie Johnson's single In Color came out about the time I finished Attack at Fleetwood Hill. The first time I heard it I was driving – it made me cry. I could see my characters trying to out run the enemy in my head. Music is a powerful thing, isn't it?

  • Reply Betsy Ashton October 8, 2009 at 11:51 am

    This is a tip I learned from a script writer. When she was working on a TV script, she logged her music choices. Some made it onto the show. So, yes, music is very powerful.

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