Writing Tip #42

I collect soundtracks. I'd probably buy one every week if I could afford it. I've written about this before, so you probably know that I write to music. Every novel of mine has a collection of songs that define it and become its own soundtrack.

Sometimes it's easy to find the accompanying music to a novel I'm writing. A movie might be "in the vein" of something I'm writing, so the music fits.

But sometimes--sometimes I surprise myself and connect an overlooked soundtrack with the story I'm working on.

This happened recently for the soundtrack of Lady In The Water. This M. Night Shyamalan movie came out in 2006 and never connected with viewers or critics. I read a book about the journey of this movie making it to the screen. I even wrote M. Night a letter that I never mailed on how I got what he was trying to do and I how I admired the guts to go with his instincts.

Anyway, tangent aside, I appreciated the movie though I can't say I loved it. I did like the soundtrack, composed by one of my favorites, James Newton Howard. I bought the soundtrack but never really embraced it since it has a magical aura in its themes that never worked with any of the stories I was writing.

I have quite the variety of music that I'm listening to as I'm writing my current novel. It's another supernatural thriller, yet it's not scary. It's many things, to be honest. Lady In The Water fits certain parts.

Sometimes I'll find an old soundtrack like this (or as I'm listening to the endless clips on iTunes) and the connection will be there.

Hey--maybe this doesn't work for everybody. Perhaps you need complete silence to write.

For me, I have music help me make an emotional connection. It helps me get to a certain place I need to go. Often times I don't start out even knowing what that place will be or what music I'll need to get me there.

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