Writing to Music - Carol James Marshall
The characters for my Women of the Grey series had been swimming around my skull for 2 years. I had two years worth of seeing the concept of the characters jog around and I never knew what to do with them. I could see my main character Lisa, she'd loiter around but seemed unreachable, out of grasp and mocking me. I never allowed it to bother me though - instead I allowed her and the other characters to simmer.
That's the interesting thing about inspiration, it hits at unlikely times and through avenues a person might not have considered. Let me explain myself a bit. I come from the MTV generation. I was one of those teens that stayed up late on weekend nights best friend at my side, big bowl of chips. All to watch the latest music videos. I remember watching the premier of Gun's and Roses Welcome to the Jungle with 3 friends and feeling as if my world was about to explode.
Consuming music through music videos (stick with me, I promise I'm making a valid and maybe cool point) was something my generation did. It's a habit that stuck with me. (admittedly, not a point but heh I'm getting to the interesting stuff). To this day when I want to relax and just tune out I will fire up the YouTube because I'm not sure MTV is even a thing anymore and watch my favorite musician’s videos.
Now that you know my background here's the meat of my post: it was on a Saturday afternoon that I put on one of my favorite bands The Pretty Reckless and starting grazing through their music videos while I ate my lunch. The Pretty Reckless Miss Nothing video popped on and that moment happened.
The Pretty Reckless - Miss Nothing (Youtube)
That classic made for TV scene where everything goes slow motion and BOOM suddenly the world is right again. The moment when the song answers all the questions you've had rolling around for the last week, year, day. In the music video I saw my protagonist Lisa. The sneer of the singer and the way she swaggered around the room was character perfection. The song hit me like that cartoon anvil. In the lyrics I found Lisa's attitude, the way she looked at life and the essence of her.
Essentially in that one music video and song I found Lisa. Prior to the video I had only the notion of Lisa but not the core of her. Later that evening I started Starburst book 1 in my Women of the Grey series. Now, you might be rolling your eyes and thinking "she's full of bologna." I am very much full of bologna. I am a writer and we are so full of bologna it seeps out of our ears, but I am not full of bologna about the importance of that music video and song in my life.
That moment started a trend for me. I will estimate (I'm horrible at math so do not take my numbers seriously...honestly I can hardly manage my checkbook) about 84% of my characters have a theme song.
I'll list a few, for flavor.
Gia from my upcoming horror novel The Demon Dealer was inspired by Miranda Lambert's Mama's Broken Heart song and video. Whenever I need to feel Gia I put that on.
Miranda Lambert - Mama's Broken Heart (Youtube)
June from Stainless Steel book 3 in my Women of the Grey series is a trillion percent Lizzy Hale from Halestorm the song and video is Apocalyptic.
Halestorm - Apocalyptic (Youtube)
Valentina head villain in The Demon Dealer: theme song is Mean and Evil from Moreland and Arbuckle
Moreland and Arbuckle - Mean and Evil (Youtube)
There are times when life gets in the way of writing. I miss the character, losing sight of them. Going back listening to the song, watching the video or doing both can give me back a vibe that I've lost. It's all about the vibe, well it is for me.
By the way did you notice that most of my songs were songs by badass female singers? My taste in music runs the same as my taste in writing my characters. I write character driven Sci-fi horror - I like my females full of gasoline and grit just like my music.
I'm wandering around now trying to figure out a conclusion for the before mentioned never achieved point I brought up earlier. In theory I believe that music sets the tone for people in all types of situations. Music can bring on laughter, as well as tears. Never underestimate the power of a song. How powerful is it that a melody or a rhythm can prick books out of writers' minds?
Carol James Marshall is an indie sci-fi horror author with Starburst book 1 and Red Drug book 2 in the Women of the Grey series along with LifeSong a novella. This year Carol James Marshall will publish The Demon Dealer a horror novel, Stainless Steel book 3 in the Women of the Grey series and look for Robbie Street a micro mystery series published monthly starting November. Mrs. Marshall also writes several subscription series exclusively for its subscribers and not available anywhere else.
If you would like to learn more about Carol James Marshall's books and series, click the link http://bit.ly/CJMMenu
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