One of the things I found early on when I started writing was that I needed it to be quiet otherwise I couldn’t concentrate. That’s why practically all of my writing is done when the kids are in bed. I also do a lot of the pre-getting-everything-down-onto-the-laptop thinking while I drive (while still concentrating on road conditions, traffic, speed limits and other useful disclaimers) and when I drive I always have music on.
Round about chapter eight I was trying to get into the head of my hero. What had started off as a small project was turning, against my expectations, into something larger and a lot more complicated. People on websites were leaving comments. Nice ones. I had decided not to write any further until I had gone back and sorted out a few of the initial corners I’d written myself into. I also wasn’t sure exactly who the characters really were or what motivated them other than vaguely stereotypical descriptions of spirited heroine, brooding hero of the Aragorn type who looked foul but felt fair (and looked pretty damned fair too for that matter).
Then this song popped onto the iPod and suddenly I had my Hugh*.
*I’m going to look pretty foolish if this doesn’t work. Half the reason for this post is to check if I can do this.
It’s a great song, full of ominous chords and lyrics that sound medieval – shhhh, you didn’t hear the line about the phone – and for the first time I had a clear picture of my hero striding around, sweeping Aline off her feet and his dilemma of going it alone while his life falls apart. Whenever I’d get stuck on a point in the story I’d stick the song on and try work my way through it. It turned out pretty well I think.
As an aside, Swords of a Thousand Men by Tenpole Tudor did not help the writing but is a hell of a fun song to imagine a battle to.
Now I’m five and a half chapters into book two. I have learned a little from my mistakes. I have a synopsis and even some character notes. I think I’ve even found one of the songs for my new couple. It’s very different to the last one, but then again, the story is a lot lighter too (so far). And let’s face it, who in their right mind wouldn’t love a gravel voiced rock legend from New Jersey serenading them as they dream?