Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tips & Tricks - The Soundtrack

First, Happy Veterans Day! A big Thank You to all the brave men and women who've helped keep me, my family, and this country I love safe and free! I appreciate you~

* * *

Now for today's post:

I had the hardest time getting started on WIP3 (working title is Cheveux Roux).

Anyway, I worked so hard to create writing blocks of time for it and then during those times, I played and chatted with bleeps. I researched New Orleans in the Gilded Age, read about the aftermath of the Civil War, read about French surnames and histories, downloaded photographs of clothes worn at the time...

Check this gorgeous dress I found from the period.

[Note: Image removed due to copyright concerns.]

That's black velvet on white satin--very art nouveau.

Anyway, I'm happy to say all that procrastinating was not wasted time. There was actually one thing I did that seriously helped me. Nikki posted about it Tuesday over at the Oasis.

I made a soundtrack.

The truth is, I'm a musical mush-pot. Want me to remember something? Set it to music. Seriously, it's freakish the way I remember songs. So it really wasn't a hard thing for me. It was kind of fun.

Originally, I'd wanted to write a story set in a circus. Why? I don't know. But as I got to writing, I decided a cabaret in New Orleans would be more interesting. And possibly easier because of the whole "close to home" thing.

So I mined all the musicals and sort of showy, dramatic songs I could think of and assembled tunes that to me represented certain characters. Wanna hear it? (link).

I'd never done that before and I have to give it up. It worked! 

I did not listen to it while writing. I actually didn't listen to it very much at all in the beginning. But toward the end, I put it on the iPod and one character in particular came rushing back to my mind--I went straight home and wrote an entire scene with him in it.

So cool beans and kudos to whoever came up with that idea. I remember Jennie wrote about her soundtrack over the summer, and I think Jessie did too. Have any of you guys done this? Did it Help? Want to share one or two of your songs?

And just as a very non-scientific poll, what do you guys think about a French title for WIP3? Is that a BAD idea?

Here's the logline for the book (historical YA fiction). I'd love to hear your comments/critiques:

Seventeen-year-old Hale plans to escape her life as a cabaret performer in 1890s New Orleans by marrying a wealthy, genteel suitor she doesn't really love, until a handsome stage-hand arrives and steals her heart. But when a sexual predator threatens the orphan Hale rescued and raised, she is convinced their only hope is by sticking to her original plan, even if it costs her the one she loves.

All the best with your current projects! Have a super weekend~ <3


Candyland said...

Cool idea. I've heard of writers doing this. I have a few songs I refer to in my head when I'm writing but I can't listen to music while writing.

Vicki Rocho said...

So ironic that you should post this today because I was all about my musical ILliteracy today.

There are some songs that put me in a certain time/place but I don't know enough of them to make a sound track effectively, and they are not reliable as they invoke different moods on different days.

And that dress is STUNNING. I'd wear it in a heartbeat--but there aren't that many functions in IOWA where a dress like that is necessary.

DEZMOND said...

well, as a translator I wouldn't know what to do with a French tittle of an English book :)

The idea of your new book sounds great and that pic is lovely! It seems you found a nice historical period.

Matthew MacNish said...

That dress looks amazing! I can't do music with writing, or while writing, or relating to writing. I'm super uptight about it for some reason.

Anonymous said...

I can see multiple conflict in your synposis. Well done. You have a nice hook that hooketh well. And I don't do much with music, although I'd like to get back into playing piano or guitar with lessons. Bess oh so many years.

Old Kitty said...

I love your blurb/logline!!! It's got lots of juicy meaty bits in it and that's just a big YAY for me!!

That dress is just perfect - it's gorgeous!! And wow - great that you've composed soundtracks too!! That's incredible!!!

Good luck with your writing!! Take care

Unknown said...

I love the French title -- but then, I love all things French! I can't write to music. It needs to be silent in my studio when I write. I wish it weren't so! That dress is gorgeous, btw.

Talli Roland said...

LOVE the dress!

Not feeling so much love for the French title. If it's something easily understandable - maybe. But I think it could put off a lot of readers, who might think the book is in French, or just not understand what exactly it is. From a marketing perspective, it's probably not the best idea. Just my opinion! It's very romantic though!

Hart Johnson said...

That dress is AMAZING. The tiny speck of me that is not committed nudist would prefer to have lived when people were all FANCY. (even if they couldn't breathe)

I've never done a soundtrack, though I do have a couple songs that go with very specific story ideas.

Unknown said...

You know I love the title! I listen to music quite a bit while writing but usually it's the same few songs on repeat.

Melissa said...

OOO, that dress is freaking crazy gorgeous.

Soundtracks really do make all the difference!!!

The french title. On one hand I love it (french immersion kid here!) but on the other, I feel like it may confuse people who have no french background. I think you should keep it still.

Helen Ginger said...

The dress is gorgeous and could easily be a modern dress. I have songs that remind me of a certain books, but when I write, I need silence. I'm easily distracted.

The French title sounds like ti would fit the book possibly, but it will throw off English speakers and possibly hurt sales.

Summer Ross said...

From experience, titles should catch the reader in some way, make them curious in others, I would say if you were to use a french or any other language title- then to make it familiar as possible. Other wise I wouldn't title it french, or you could even do french English title?

I have never made music to go with writing. I end to work better without a lot in the background. Even if I like a song- it ends up being noise while I am writing, or distracts me to sing instead of write :)

Jan Markley said...

I love the sound track idea - great for kick starting the creative juices. I think a title with french words would work if it contained words that were easily recognizable to non french speakers ... if you know what I mean!

DL Hammons said...

I mainly write to instrumental music, piano and acoustic guitar mostly. I have a playlist on my iPod specifically for writing. It helps me focus, as well as block out distractions from around the house.

Your story sounds very interesting!

LTM said...

just so I'm not being misleading, I can't listen to music *while* writing either. This was just something that for me helped keep the characters, the story, and the tone alive in my head. (Especially when I started the big revision on a whole, completely different MS.)

@Mel--yes, the dress. I found several, but that on was esp. interesting. Since the story's set in NOLA, I was thinking French title, and "Red Hair" has a role in the plot--it just sounds nicer in French~ ;p

@Helen & Summer, I guess. I mean, who really knows. Moulin Rouge did well with a French title, but Baz Luhrmann was a known entity. As were the actors. Perhaps this is my second or third bestseller. ;p hello! visualize... <3

@Jan, I'm sure you're right. I'm just playing around, and I'm flexible when it comes to the title. I've heard that's usually the first thing to change! :o) <3

Unknown said...

I'm all about the music, the songs that are the most inspiring I'll play over and over and over again. It never irritates me, the minute I hear it I'm taken back to that magical place. Brilliant.

That gown is drop.dead.gorgeous I just can't get past it.

PK HREZO said...

Your story sounds great ... kind of Moulin Rouge-ish... (love that film.) ANd who doesn't love French culture and the language?? I think a French title would be tres chic!
The dress is gorgeous. I think it's really helpful to have music to accentuate your story.
My WIP invloves a lot of music actually, so before I started writing it I was switching back and forth from Country to Indian Bollywood style , neither of which I listen to on a regular basis, but they both have a part to play in my story. Have a great weekend! :)

Creepy Query Girl said...

Ive never done this but it sounds like a lot of fun! I loved your logline- sounds like a really tension filled read!

Theresa Milstein said...

I. want. that. dress.

A french line might keep away readers. What were you thinking it would be?

LTM said...

@P-Thanks! I described it as Moulin Rouge meets Oliver meets My Fair Lady meets Dr. Zhivago (end) meets ... some other stuff. It's seriously my kitchen sink story. But I really do think it works. :D

Bollywood. Cool~ :o)

Unknown said...

I adore that dress, so much like Elizabethan blackwork embroidery that I aspired to copy in my youth.