Words & Music Monday with Carolyn Crane

Hi all!! This week’s guest author is visiting for the first time, and I’m so excited to have her!! Carolyn Crane is the author of The Disillusionists Trilogy, and the new spinoff novella Devil’s Luck is available now!

Hey Jennifer! Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog for Words and Music Monday! I’m so happy to be here and this is a fun feature, and a fun subject.

I love music! Music is so deeply, deeply important to my writing process.

However, I don’t listen to music while I write (except sometimes when I am first drafting by hand, and then I have very specific music that will work, and I have various rules about what must be played first in order for me to have a good writing session which I won’t go into here! Because they’re nutty! But I can’t help it. lol)

And I don’t do soundtracks, either. I see a lot of other writers do soundtracks for their books, and sometimes I think maybe I should. Do readers really like them? I always think that the same piece of music can evoke such different emotions in different people that a soundtrack is pretty meaningless.

However, after I write all morning, if I have time, I like to strap on my running shoes and my ipod and set out for a run and listen to all kinds of music, from various playlists and also the from the radio.

I turn it up really loud and just run and rock out and let my head be full of music. And, a funny thing happens – a lot of times problems from my manuscript just solve themselves. Or, I’ll get a new perspective on a scene I’ve just written. And most days, I get tons of ideas. And I really believe it comes from the music.

It’s almost like letting music pour through my head after I work on my pages for the day adds a new dimension to my stories—a more emotional, visceral dimension. (And I’ve learned to bring along a pen and paper with me so I could jot these ideas down!)

I think this is especially helpful to me in working with my male characters.

When it comes to sinking deeply into the reality of my male characters, there’s something especially inspiring to me about harder rock and heavy metal, a musical form where men are permitted to be both highly emotional and highly masculine. It’s a heady combination for me as a writer. (and, okay, as a woman, too!)

This was especially true while I was writing my novella of Simon For some reason, the music of Nine Inch Nails and Rob Zombie really spoke to me about him, in particular, the song “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails.

Simon is this highly reckless character who loves to gamble, and I’d long thought about his recklessness as a way he tempts fate, and a ‘life wish’ instead of a ‘death wish’ (though it can look like a death wish). Anyway, in Closer, Trent Reznor, or the character Reznor portrays in the song, feels having sex gets him closer to God, but it’s also about escape and self-loathing. And, my character Simon feels sort of immortal when he take wild chances. It’s not precisely the same thing, but with music, it really doesn’t have to be.

Prettier, lighter songs make me feel into my characters in other ways—David Bowie, Midlake, Keren Ann. Every song has an emotion, and I feel like sinking into the emotions of characters through songs adds richness. So much so that, when I can’t run over the winter because of snow, I lose that post-writing connection to music and my work suffers for it. Oh, but now it’s spring again. Thank goodness!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Carolyn!! I love getting to see how music influences the writing and characters of so many authors. So… the lovely Ms. Crane has offered up an ebook copy of Devil’s Luck to one of YOU lucky commenters!!! Here’s my question… what do YOU think of book soundtracks? Do you prefer to create your own “fantasy soundtrack” to your favorite books, or do you prefer to see what the author’s vision of the soundtrack is? Let us know in below, and one of you will WIN!! This is open internationally, and the winner will be chosen randomly tomorrow night (Tuesday, March 27th) at midnight pacific.

One Comment

  1. Comment by Susan Puls:

    I like to make up my own soundtrack for a book. I usually listen to music while I read and soundtracks from movies, games, and TV shows are great ti have playing in the background. I try and pick something from a work with a similar theme or scope and sometimes the combinations turn out to be quite epic.

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