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Sunday, 13 September 2015

My latest book and its connection to Haim, and how to know if Taylor Swift finally gets to me.

I like to write in total silence.  Environmental silence that is.  No background sound at all.  There's already enough noise in here, what with me tutting, randomly shouting 'what did you do that for?' and eventually slamming my laptop shut with the resounding cry of 'well that's a complete bunch of crap, where are the biscuits?'  I struggle to work when, from next door, comes the sound of the garden-landscapers radio, if anyone is talking outside or even if a cat is purring too loudly, which is why I often work wearing a pair of industrial quality ear-defenders.
My secret shame
And I am puzzled by people who say they write to music, what with me getting annoyed by the fridge for making random 'brrrrrrr' noises.  I know it's each to their own and everything, but...HOW?  Whenever I listen to music, and by 'music' I mean songs not classical because if you are the type who listens to classical music whilst writing then you are highly unlikely to be reading my blog, although I must admit to quite liking a shot of Ride of the Valkyries whilst hoovering, I find myself getting caught up in the lyrics. And, from there, there is a high probability that I will abandon whatever I was writing up to that point and start writing whatever story the lyrics of the song dictate. So, if I suddenly start producing a lot of books about women being deserted by their no-good, cheating boyfriends, you will know that Taylor Swift finally got to me.
I'd like to think I could take her in a fist fight, but if she starts singing I'm a goner
However, I do find myself sometimes getting inspiration from songs. Not directly, but sometimes there will be a 'mood' or a tone or even just a base line that makes my brain go off in a certain direction.  Random bits of lyric or melody get stuck in my head and my thoughts just seem to go off and do their own thing with it, and before you know it there's a book that's come out of one particular song. The instrumental break in Snow Patrol's 'How to be Dead' gave me ideas which found themselves in Star Struck, for instance. 

My youngest daughter is a huge Haim fan.  I mean that she likes them a lot, not that she's like seven feet four or anything. But this means that I have been subjected to many many tracks by the band, and, gradually, things have worked into my subconscious, so I now blame Haim's track 'Falling' for inspiring many of the ideas in I Don't Want to Talk About It.  Not the melody, not the words, but something about the general mood of the song ('Never look back, never give up')....

Currently I've got Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain' stuck in my head, providing me with mood-music for the current WIP - it's the phrase 'Running through the shadows' that's doing it.  I just can't actually, you know, listen to the music while I'm writing, so I have to hum. Or sing to myself. And given my total lack of musical ability, I'm even annoying myself....
I do not look like this. Unless you factor in the onesie, the biscuit crumbs, the coffee stains and the cats.


angela britnell said...

Interesting post, Jane. I know people who make soundtracks to fit with the book they're writing. I sometimes have the radio on but just as a sort of background hum as it were!

Eleanor Smythe said...

It was great to read about silence when writing. I'm so easily distracted myself by music, and the neighbours chickens. The music makes we want to sing and dance but the chickens make such a noise I could quite happily pop them into a curry or soup. The next time I'm frustrated by noise I will know, I'm not alone in my need for silence...It might just save those chickens.

Anonymous said...

Surely you're still mesmerised by the performance of "Touch of Blues" at the Edstone Bash; or maybe just trying to erase it from the memory?

Chris Stovell said...

I prefer to write in silence too (ie not listening to music as opposed to gibbering wildly to myself) though, like you, I'm often haunted by songs as I'm writing so I turn them into a Spotify playlist which helps reinforce the mood of the book. Mind you, this does make for some strange compilations.