Clyde Barrow: The Boy Who Wrote Bonnie Parker a Doggone Song to Show Her How He Cares

This week the Debs are talking about music and its impact on our writing and our life.  As Amy said on Tuesday, we like it quiet when we write. No distractions, please (besides kids, social media, and those voices in our heads…). Even though music doesn’t get any billing while I’m writing, I still incorporate…
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The LIMELIGHT soundtrack

I cannot, under any circumstances, listen to music while I’m writing. I find it totally distracting, and I can’t concentrate at all, especially if lyrics are involved. It’s way too tempting to sing along. Even classical music is too much background for my mind to handle. I’m definitely not that lady in the coffee shop…
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Losing Myself in the Past: My Writing Playlists

"Anything Goes" by Cole Porter

Historical fiction requires a completely different mindset. To lose yourself in another time, it helps to experience it. To write MODERN GIRLS, I needed to block out the twenty-first century and pretend I lived in the first half of the twentieth century. So I immersed myself in the spirit of the 1930s, using every sense…
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Silence is Golden for Deb Joanne

This week’s theme is music to write by. Uh…truth is, I need quiet to write because, quite frankly, the voices in my head are as much noise as I can handle.  Seems weird, since I do a LOT of other things while I write (e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, compile taxes), but that’s how I roll.

End of blog post.

No, no, don’t go-I should give you a little something more, since you came all the way here. But I really do need silence to write, or at least almost silence. Background noise that isn’t too loud is okay (like a hockey game on TV in another room). But definitely music is out.

But that said, music is a fairly prominent theme in SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE (Lilah wants to be a drummer, despite barely being able to play) and this song even makes it into the book:

And some behind the scenes stuff: when I was first writing the book as a YA, there was a scene (which is actually still in the book now) where Lilah’s music teacher shows her his drumming skills and he played this (seriously, check out the drumming – I’m no pro, but I think it’s pretty impressive):



Seeing what it is, you can surely see why I thought this was a hilarious joke. Obviously not a joke appropriate for a MG book, however, so the song never gets mentioned by name. But there’s some trivia for you: in the book, when Mr. Robertson says, “Just an old Van Halen song…” that’s what he’s drumming.



And then there’s this song:

Which also didn’t make it into the final cut of the book. Too bad, because I still really like it, but it was from a romantic scene where Andy is singing to Lilah and it was just a bit too much for the younger audience. So there you go: SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE musical outtakes!

And now I’ve just spent a ginormous chunk of time surfing YouTube for videos that should have been spent actually writing. Jeez, the things I do for my Deb Ball posts!

So now tell me about you? Does any music make it into your writing or do you make playlists for your books? What about stuff you read? Do you ever think of songs that might work well with other people’s books?



Deb Sarah on Literary Inspiration Through … Music!

We’re talking about mentors and inspiration this week, and while I have had plenty of fabulous and supportive people in my life, my foray into fiction has been very much a solo act, in that other than my husband and a few early readers, I’ve forged on this path without the advice or mentorship of really, anyone. After 10 years of magazine writing and a lifelong love of books, I decided to challenge myself in a new direction, and the result was something I’m very proud of: THE VIOLETS OF MARCH.

Everyone knows that writing can be a very lonely and isolating experience. Still, I find it thrilling, just the same. I love the fun of being alone with my characters, my ideas (and a good cup of coffee and nice bar of dark chocolate to munch on). But I am never writing without music.

When I sit down to start a new fiction project, I’ve found it so important to begin with a playlist of songs (I usually have fun downloading a bunch of new music on iTunes) that set the mood for my story. With VIOLETS, which takes place in 1943 and present day, I put together a mix of songs that helped me channel my characters feelings, desires and emotions. Without those songs playing in my ear, I’m not sure I would have gotten them just right.

And, whenever I’m facing a bout of writer’s block (it totally happens), I turn to music first to jump-start my muse. And you know what? It works almost every time.

Would you like to see the songs that inspired THE VIOLETS OF MARCH? Here’s my partial playlist. And, I picked a very special song on this list to use in the book trailer, too. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, click here.

Do you listen to music when you read/write?

xo, Sarah