More Writer's Block Stuff - Using Music As a Breakthrough

With a title like that, you can see how much I use the word "stuff," eh? ;-)  And why I named my blog the way I did.  (It was actually part of a challenge to my husband, altho he's a slacker as far as blogs are concerned; YouTube is more his speed, while I'm ::meh:: about YouTube.)

Anyway, found this post through Konrath's blog (in the comments section), and then further looking through the writer's posts.

I don't know why, but this is something that's been on my mind lately, maybe because I've had little time to devote to my writing because of my day job becoming super busy (that's what happens when you're fast and good - and get your mind out of the gutter, please! ;-)).

I remember a while ago printing an article or something on using music to crack open writer's block.  When I saw this on Gary Ponzo's blog, I read through the short post, and thought back to those times when I might've gotten an idea to get a scene or dialogue or whatever just right.  Recently, I went back to my sidelined historical fantasy set during World War II.  There's a scene I've been thinking about (and thinking about and thinking about, lol) in about the middle or so of the book.  Viv, the MC, is a witch (her ancestors go back to the Salem Witch Trials), but she hasn't been given much guidance in witchy/magical things.

So she translocates herself from the sidewalk to the inside of a bar, where her former lover is closing up shop.  I wanted this to be a romantic scene.  Now, I'm not the greatest with love scenes; in fact, I probably suck at it.  But some important things had to be brought up, relating to him and relating to the woman who was supposed to be teaching Viv.

Add to the fact that they hadn't seen each other in years because Viv walked out on him, I didn't think he'd be that glad to see her, or enjoy her kisses all that much.

So even before I found Mr. Ponzo's post, I decided to try music.  Hubby was playing some Cars' tunes on YouTube, and one struck me as being just right (stay with me here): Coming Up You.  Yeah, I know.  The Cars aren't know for romantic songs.  But there's something about this song that really gets to me, and it is sort of an electropop romantic-sounding song.

Maybe it's just me.

But I played it, thinking of that scene.  Because the way I look at it, Viv and her former lover never really forgot about each other; and she finds him again not because she went out of her way to look for him, but because she was in town for a funeral.  As I thought and wrote notes, I actually started tearing up a bit.  (Doesn't take much.)  I don't have it completely figured out as yet with the dialogue and all, but it's moved forward to the point where I think all it needs is a little bit of tweaking.

What works for you with writer's block?  Music?  Doing crossword puzzles?  A jog around the block?


Nicholas La Salla said...

Hi Nancy!

First off, thanks for the encouraging words on my blog. We'll get through the big move, but til the end of the month it's going to be one hard, strenuous push to get out the door and to someplace new.

Now on to your blog post: I use music quite a bit. I actually put together soundtracks for my books, roughly 70 minutes of music that encapsulates the themes of what I'm working on, or songs that perhaps are inspiring to me at that particular time.

I'm experimenting with an interesting form of promotion, and I don't know what it will do, but if you go to Playlist.com you can put together lists of streaming music and people can actually listen to it. I put my book description in the "Description" section of my playlist. We'll see what happens. I posted on Facebook about this, but I'm going to put it on my blog as well.

I think at the very least it's fun for readers to see what music served as my backdrop to creating the stories I paint in their imaginations.


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