The Necessity of a Great Playlist…. (Part I)

Writers will tell you, meaning, they MAY tell you, if they feel they can trust you not to call men in white coats, that they hear conversations in their heads nearly constantly.  Sometimes these conversations can wake a person out of a sound sleep with plot point arguments or complaints that the author is a hack.  Amid the insanity (sometimes clinical) of writing, writers, whether they admit or not, rely on a great playlist to inspire light scenes, dark scenes, THOSE scenes, and if you’re breathing, you know what I’m mean.

There’s debate among writers about just where in the hell these characters come from.  Are they real?  Are they real somewhere else?  How can something so unlike us speak so clearly.  When I talked to my mother about The Fishing Widow, she protested with the words, “How can you WRITE something like that?  You don’t know ANYTHING about running a commercial fishing boat in Alaska.”  Wise-ass that I am (sorry mom), without missing a beat, I replied, “But, it’s Colin’s boat.  I don’t HAVE to know anything about it.  He already knows his business….”  Yes.  Insanity.

So… these creatures that haunt our dreams (and waking moments)… what the hell?  Or, what are they?  Tim Powers, in The Stress of Her Regard, which is, easily, one of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read (that’s a good thing, by the way), hit the nail on the head …. Ready?

“These creatures aren’t especially good visually, but they are purely matches in a powder keg when it comes to language.  I wonder how many of the world’s great writers have owed their gift to the … ultimately disastrous attentions of the nephelim.”  His laughter was light and sarcastic.  “And I wonder how many of them would have freed themselves if they could have.”

I don’t know about freeing myself completely, but I will admit, there were times when I wanted to shove Ethan out of my bed at 4 in the morning when he started to argue plot points and that maybe Brett wasn’t the nice guy he made himself out to be … 0.0

But where these sparks in the powder keg of our imaginations need further impetus, we writers turn to our natural allies:  musicians.  Music can be evocative.  Face it.  Apocalyptica’s rendition of Nothing Else Matters is one of the most purely erotic pieces of music ever recorded.  Want proof?  Here you go:

When I was working on the edits for The Fishing Widow, I came across Breaking Benjamin, and their song So Cold: It was nice that YouTube had a sufficiently horrific video to accompany it. Also along the lines of Breaking Benjamin is the song You from Phobia:

In Dark Places is a completely different creature (every pun intended, by the way)… The story is set in 1913 in Alaska, and we have Victrolas from that time period in places … like Kupfer, Alaska (an artful dodge there, if I do say so myself), but I needed a song to thread through the story. I came across this on YouTube, and since I don’t believe in coincidence, I’m using it. It’s John McCormack’s I Hear You Calling Me from March 1910:

Because good horror needs a good soundtrack, I’ve gone with Evans Blue on my playlist for In Dark Places, and let’s just say, it’s working out very well. Their newest single is Say It: and it deserves a listen whether your write or not. Other favorites (okay, you’ll see this coming, ’cause, after all, I’m an Alaskan writing Alaskan horror) include Cold (But I’m Still Here): along with Dark That Follows: and Through Your Eyes:

So… these are ones to chew on for a bit. I’ll be posting Part II of this with more by Evans Blue (both new and old), Breaking Benjamin, Theory of a Deadman, and Seether … okay, Seether. I have to plug one song by Seether because the first time I heard it it became “Colin’s Song.” It has nothing to do with Colin or his life, but there you go… Fine Again: And since Colin’s an all-around Seether kind of guy … he and Ellie (his wife) rate this one… The Gift:

So it all begs the question … if you write. WHEN you write? What’s going through your head?