Sunday, August 16, 2015

Weekend Wildcard - A Soundtrack for A Story

Pink Heart Society editor, Ali Williams, is talking about how music can perfectly encapsulate a love story.

I'm a bit of a sucker for a decent love song, especially when it tells a story or breaks my heart.

But there's something about about songs in general - whether soppy ballads or rock anthems that get me writing, and inspire emotions when I'm writing.  I find that channeling the music often helps me to break writer's block, or infuse a scene with the exact emotion I feel when I listening to a particular song.

So these are a handful of my favourites:

The Academy Is...'s About A Girl, from their Fast Times at Barrington High album, encapsulates that denial feeling - a refusal to accept that you might have feelings for someone who clearly doesn't love you back.  Perfect for those heroes and heroines who fight how they truly feel...

Love isn't all fireworks and champagne, sometimes it's about being infuriated with the other person, but loving them through it all.  I use Paloma Faith's Just Be for those characters who have a love/hate relationship, because it's more realistic than a relationship where everything's perfect all the time.

Perhaps a little bit of a strange choice, but this album was the soundtrack for one of the best holidays I went on.  My best friend and I drove round the mountains in Italy with this as our album soundtrack, and so Wheatus' A Little Respect ends up being my ideal roadtrip song.

There are a couple of songs that seem to encapsulate all-encompassing love, and this is one of them.  I listen to John Legend's All of Me when I'm trying to write that lightbulb moment, that moment when a character truly accepts that they're in love.

Lead singer of Imagine Dragons, Dan Reynolds, has said that Radioactive is about "having an awakening; kind of waking up one day and deciding to do something new, and see[ing] life in a fresh way" which I find pretty inspirational.  I like my characters to have a realisation exactly like this, hence it's inclusion.  Plus it's just genius.

I actually use Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud in the fourth chapter of my current wip for a dance scene.  I love its intimacy - especially the way that the voice is recorded, it sounds as if he's half-singing, half-whispering the words into your ear.  It never fails to send shivers down my spine, and that's what I needed in that moment.

But sometimes an upbeat song is exactly what you need.  Characters aren't always quiet, sometimes their brash and loud and feisty, and love to party and live it up.  Lady Antebellum's Downtown perfectly captures this - plus it's the song I listen to before I go out dancing myself!

Music isn't just reserved for characters though; sometimes it can help capture the heart of a setting.  Howard Shore's Concerning Hobbits, from The Fellowship of the Ring Soundtrack, captures the enchantment of a quiet country village or small town.

A counterfactual reality is where you think about and explore something that's never happened - the ultimate what if - and Robbie Williams' One Fine Day is the perfect example of this.  Besides, there's something more than a little heartbreaking about singing about all the things that could have happened, but never did...

And finally, I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz.  I've an incredibly soft spot for this song, as it's my song with the fiance - it seemed to fit us perfectly when we were first going out and we had all this distance between us.  Now I love it because it showcases the strength that all relationships have to have as a foundation.  And because I hear his voice singing it whenever I listen to it...

Do you have soundtracks to your stories?  Are there different songs that you listen to for different books, or are you like Ali and have specific songs for specific types of scenes?  Join the debate in the comments!!

Ali Williams grew up in Croydon and spent her teenage years in a convent girls’ school. She then fled to university where she discovered champagne cocktails, a capella singing and erotica.

These days she blogs about perceptions of romance, chick lit and women in society and spends the rest of her time promoting #StrongRomanceHeroines on Twitter, and cracking on with her first novel, Breakfast in Tunford.

Editor for the Pink Heart Society, guest blogger for Mills & Boon and Harper Impulse, and occasional columnist for For Books' Sake, she defies you to slam romance novels within her hearing!

1 comment:

  1. Happy to see some of my faves in this list. :)

    My co-author and I have a weird shared mindset. We have always listened to music and watched videos while imagining our characters as the performers and/or writers of the songs. Why? Long story, and if I told you, my co-author would kill us both. lol