On Music as a Muse

On Music as a Muse

On Music as a Muse

How do I get into writing a scene for any of my three books in the Truth, Lies, and Love in Advertising series – Camera Ready, For Position Only and Princess Smile? I use music. Music is the singular inspiration for all my writing. If it is just the background inspiration, I choose the chill channel, because the mood is sensual and relaxed. It’s easy – no serious lyrics to get in the way of word flow – and it lends itself perfectly to the genre of my books. On the other hand, if I am thinking of plot twists, character development or other ways to work something out, I always create a playlist. I have one for each book and they change over time. For instance, with each scene in For Position Only, I have a song in mind that I would use if I was the director and producer of the movie version. Once I know the background score, I put it on my cardio playlist and when I’m at the gym, the songs inspire different conversations among my characters, reactions and potential behavior that I insert within the manuscript later. Here is an example of music I have selected for For Position Only. Chapter one: Choke by I Don’t Know How But They Found Me.” It’s sounds a bit poppy and Beatle-esque but I love the lyrics. The band wrote the song to disparage the music business in L.A. but it’s the perfect opener to set the tone for the novel: Sarcastic yet still fun. The song is perfect to depict Craig Keller’s long and involved process choosing suits, shirts, ties, belts and shoes in the opening scene. It also follows him quite nicely on his drive from Malibu to Santa Monica, all the way until he reaches the lobby of the ad agency, Mitchell Vance & Mercer. One of my favorite lyrics describes Craig’s personality perfectly:

Stop, drop

And drag me into place

And lock the fire escapes

I’ll break your pretty face.

Oh, you clever little things

the sycophantic teens

What a precious basket case …

I hear the music playing until he encounters Pearl, the receptionist. Here I envision the music stopping completely, giving way to the silence that accompanies Craig’s nerve-wracking wait for Warren Mitchell to meet with him – praying he will accept Craig’s intended proposal. Similarly, I hear Twenty One Pilots’ “Jumpsuit” as Craig makes his hellish descent into Skid Row. It couldn’t be more raw or poignant. Then, later, when he’s wandering around London trying to find himself, I hear “Half the World Away” by Oasis – or maybe Ready to Let Go by Cage the Elephant – which might seem a little obvious, but I love the line, The monster in my head is ruthless. It depends on which day I hear them as to which suits this scene best. Stay tuned for more music-related posts, and while For Position Only will not be available until December 2020, you may purchase my first novel, Camera Ready, by clicking here.