Thursday, May 26, 2016
Using sensory stimulation to keep me in character: Sound
In my last two posts, I shared with you how smell and sight help me to stay in "the moment" while I'm perched at my desk, writing. For someone who has limited writing time each week, it's important for me to be as present in my writing as possible. And staying focused is extra difficult when you've been absent from practicing the craft of writing for six months prepping for your wedding, having said wedding, and so on. My creative/writing muscles are a little out of shape, so I'm doing everything I can to help stay inspired, hence this new sensory stimulation experiment.
But smell and sight don't cover all the bases. Sound--music, in this case--really helps me get in the writing mood. A slow whimsical song that I associate with a character experience, let's say someone is falling in love, helps reiterate what that feels like to me, helps me remember my own experience and channel that into how my character is feeling in that moment. A fast tempo with bass and baritones might be an angsty song, perhaps representing a character's bad day or anger toward someone. That's why, for all of my stories, I have a playlist.
A playlist is something many authors have while writing a book or series, and for good reason. Sensory brain regions house emotional memories. What does that mean? Essentially, sound triggers emotions through past memories so that I can identify with what my character is going through in that moment.
There's a song I love by Linkin Park called Iridescent. Every single time I hear this song, I think of The Ending Series. For me, Iridescent embodies Dani and Zoe's struggles throughout the four book series, and it will always be that way for me. This song is The Ending Series.
For Sam's story, Whatever It Takes, every time I hear Bastille's, The Draw, I think Sam's struggle with regret and her past and how she's trying to cope with that.
Mac's story is no different. There are songs I use as cues to help me really dive deep and feel what my character is supposed to be feeling in that moment. This helps, a lot. Especially if my mood is so different that it's prohibiting my ability to "get in the zone."
Mac's story has many ups and downs in it--family issues, personal growth, sexual tension, comfort in friendship, love, self-discovery and the struggle of letting things go... There are happy, fun moments and those that might make me tear up a little bit. But I have to be able to feel that while writing otherwise it won't come across in my prose.
Some of Mac's playlist includes (and why they mean so much to me):
Silence Looks Good On You - Rachel Taylor (Mac and Colton)
Stand By You - Rachel Platten (The trio's friendship)
Smoke and Mirrors - Imagine Dragons (Mac's struggles)
Half of Me - Rihanna (The real Machaela Carmichael that not everyone knows)
As you can see, music plays an important part of story writing for me. Generally, I can't get in any groove for writing until I have a hearty collection of songs I can listen to as needed. Music is probably the most important mood-changer that I've found so far. It's essential for me.
Don't forget I'll be leaving this blog site soon and exclusively posting on my new blog, connected to my website for more streamlining ease. So check it out as soon as you can.
Thanks for checking in!