Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It’s a Cruel Memory to Look Back on Who We Were*

Because Barbara Watson asked about it, I've decided to blog about the musical inspiration behind CM. Excuse me as I ramble....

I mentioned back in this post how music has played a crucial role in bringing Cruel Melody to life. While music has always been vital to my writing, CM is the one book I honestly believe never would have existed had certain songs not existed, too.

The first notable song is “Love Like Winter” by AFI:**

Listening to this song years ago birthed a pair of characters in my head out of the blue. I had no idea what they looked like, what their personalities were, or even what they were named. However, I did know they were boy/girl best friends with the potential to become something more, and that the boy would have Issues™ that could drive them apart forever.

I tried to figure out more about these characters so they could get their own book, but all my attempts at that failed. This didn’t stop the characters from owning even more songs, though, including this one:

Puddle of Mudd’s “Moonshine” ended up being all I listened to for a whole month because of these characters. It helped keep them both alive when they easily could have faded away forever…but still I didn’t learn more about them.

Then, in 2011, I heard Three Days Grace’s “Over and Over” for the first time:

I was still revising FLG at the time, but despite how close I was to finishing that book, it had to take a backseat, because OMFG, I was finally learning something about those ambiguous best friends in my brain! Thanks to this song being on repeat, something just sparked, and these characters developed appearances, personalities, and even names. I also figured out what their book would be about and exactly what mythology would be used for it. (Nixes from Germanic folklore FTW!) This book even managed to quickly snatch up a title, which I shamelessly stole from a Black Light Burns song:

A little more obvious now why I think music has been so important to CM’s existence, yeah? In order to honor that importance, every chapter title in CM is actually a song title from its playlist. Some of these have been super-challenging to work around (one chapter is called “Hey Zeus the Dungeon,” for example), but it’s been fun regardless, and I can’t think of a better way to pay tribute to the very thing that allowed my current WIP to exist!

Anyone else out there ever have music play such a vital role when writing? If not, has something else been equally as important, to the point where you feel the need to pay tribute to it in some way in the actual book? Sound off in the comments!

*This is a lyric from one of the CM playlist songs above. Can you guess which one? ;)

**This music video freaks me out a little. Although I’ve loved the song for years, I never saw the vid for it until
after I figured out that my protagonist would be a supernatural water creature, so seeing one in the song that brought him to life is…eerie, to put it mildly!


  1. Music does play a role in my writing as in getting me in the mood. Once I get the mood, words fly on the screen. I also listen to it on occasion while I'm revising.
    I think I do it most when I'm plotting and playing with a book idea.
    However none of these are as deep as yours. :)

    1. I use music to get me in the mood to write, too. It's such a great way to get back in touch with characters and the "feel" of their story!

  2. Interesting songs! A great change from the modern day pop that is everywhere. I can't listen to the radio without being attacked by Rihanna and Lady Gaga!

    I do have soundtracks but I've never really had it play such a huge role in my writing. I prefer to have it off when writing.

    1. I like pop, but I agree, that type of music can get sickening with how annoyingly invasive it is sometimes, and it's usually not as inspiring as the kind I just posted, anyway! BTW, it amuses me how you mentioned Lady Gaga, 'cause a violin cover of one of her songs is actually used for CM's playlist, haha! (My protagonist is a violinist, so there are a lot of violin songs I listen to for his book....)

      I'm the opposite of you and usually need music on as I write, I am that obsessed with it.... XD

    2. It's all that is played on radios at the moment.

      I love some artists like Jessie J and Bruno Mars though.

      Lady Gaga has some good songs but I think I'm getting sick of her. She needs to take a break or something! I keep seeing her everywhere!

      Violin covers can make the worst songs amazing! That's just how powerful the violin is! I love the violin but I can't play it! YAY for Violins!!

      I think it's just something you get used to. I could write with music but it would take some adjusting.

    3. I honestly think it's been a year since I've last listened to the radio, so I'm blissfully unaware of the pop invasion at the moment, haha!

      I wish I could play the violin, because I agree, that instrument seems to make any song amazing! I love listening to a bunch on repeat for this book....

    4. I listen every morning. I don't know why but it's sort of a habit. I wouldn't call it pop. It's more like techno-disco rubbish-American-style.

      So do I! It's very hard to learn though and very expensive and I don't have the money!

    5. I agree--hard and expensive! Plus, there's that whole time factor. I already have so many other hobbies I don't seem to have the time for; adding yet another one would be craziness on my part!

    6. lol! Violin would be a cool hobby. But time I agree with. It takes years to even be able to play simple tunes without killing everyone's ears!

      Do you play an musical instruments? I know learning the piano helps. I can't play any music lol!

    7. I don't know how to play any instruments, but I wish I did! I always feel jealous of those who do. It'd be such an awesome skill to have!