It happened again this morning. Like it does most mornings after a full night of active dreaming.
I woke with a specific song running through my head. It was one that I hadn’t heard in forever, but it had played a role in my dream for some odd reason. This time it was that old 80’s song St. Elmo’s Fire. I’m sure you know it, even if you don’t recognize the title. Just pull it up on iTunes and you’ll have it stuck in your head for at least the next fifteen minutes. You’re welcome.
My mind just keys on music. It’s the way I’m hard-wired. Songs pop into my head, and people, places and events are linked with music. And even – apparently – my dreams.
Graham has songs that are “his” songs, and they have been for years. Low Rider by War is one that fit him from day one. And his kitten attitude earned him the song Breaking Dishes by Rihanna. That one was given to him by someone else, as I couldn’t say that I’d heard the song at the time, but I understood the fit.
I’ve been starting every chapter of my novel with a song quote that somehow fits with the tone and/or attitude of that section and matches what the character in the chapter is going through. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it’s amazing how much time you can waste when you’re sifting through songs as “research”. And how many different roads those songs can lead you down…
Someday, my publisher might throw all of those quotes out, telling me that paying for the rights aren’t anywhere near worth it, but we’ll see. Because they’re emotionally necessary. Of course I say that now, but if I’m struggling to find exactly the right fit for the beginnings of 48 separate chapters and that’s what is slowing down the process, I might have to re-think the idea. But I have faith that I can work it out.
But then there’s the problem of the songs that don’t fit the novel…
I listened to Losers by The Belle Brigade today (I’ll be shocked if you know that one but you should check it out), and, the complete story of another novel popped into my head. I know just how it would work from beginning to end, and I think it would be funny yet bitter and a bit painful. It would have highs and lows and conflict and awkwardness and everything that’s needed in a good story. And I know that I just have to write it because that story is MINE to write (yeah, writers can get a bit possessive of really good ideas that come along).
I just need an editor because my mind bounces from one idea to the next at just a single listening to a song. I need someone who can take my rough draft, tell me what they think, what works, what doesn’t, what needs to be twerked, reworked, rewritten, added to, toned down, etc. when my mind feels like it’s time to move on to something else. Someone to inspire me to push through the harder part of the work once the fun of creating the story itself is basically done.
Admitting the problem is the first step, right? And I can admit that I have that problem. Too many stories fighting to get out, and an attention span that needs a good kick in the hind quarters from someone else who wants to get the story finished and bound within a cool cover that just leaps off the shelf almost as bad as I do.
Because Writer’s Block is never going to be a problem for me. Even now there’s a song by Thriving Ivory that’s speaking to me. But I can’t afford to take on another novel idea. Not until I get out a few of the ones that are already in there before they start to blend together and I write the first Literary/Suspense/Romance/Mystery/Historical/Humor/Young Adult/Political/Thriller novel. But at least you could follow the plot based on the music quotes I use, right?