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Wednesday
Aug252010

Does Your Novel Have A Theme Song?

 

Any of you who have hung around my blog for a while have probably figured out that I'm a big music fan--hence the daily blog theme song, the romance I wrote about a rockstar, and my regular tweets about going to concerts or playing Guitar Hero. (Yes, I'm a thirty-year-old mom who plays Guitar Hero--look, I never said I was cool, alright.)

 

So it's probably no surprise that I find music very inspiring for my writing process too.  Sometimes a song can spark a story idea or sometimes I'll hear a song later and it resonates perfectly with something I've written already. The latter happened to me the other day.

I was driving, thinking about my book, and a song that I've heard many times before came on.  However, this time I really heard the lyrics and they gave me chills--the song fit the theme of my book perfectly.  So now every time I hear it, it just makes me want to work on the book more.

So here's my theme song for Exposure Therapy. Now, I know it's a sad song--and yes my romance does have a happy ending, it is a romance after all--but there are also a lot of dark things these characters have to handle within themselves before getting there.

"Outside" by Staind   (player in sidebar, if you want to hear the song)


Staind - Outside Lyrics @ LyricsTime.com

So I'm curious, do you use music in your writing?  What's one of the songs that you'd put on the soundtrack for your book?  Does your story have a theme song?

Reader Comments (27)

Fun post!

Call me old fashioned, but I think the soundtrack to my YA novel would be mostly Irma Thomas and other New Orleans musicians. She wrote "Time is on my Side", which the Rolling Stones made famous, and since Evangeline is a time travel romance, that's almost too convenient. But her version of "Ruler of My Heart" is the one I associate the most with my novel.

"Ruler of my heart
Robber of my soul
Where can you be?
I wait patiently

My heart cries out
Pain inside
Where can you be?
I wait patiently

When you're alone
Going gets rough
Come back, come back, come back baby
I've had enough

Make me a queen
Happy again
Hear my cry
And ease my pain

When you're alone
Going gets rough
Come back, come back, come back baby
I've had enough

Make me a queen
Happy again
Hear me cry
And ease my pain"

I'm a soppy romantic at heart!

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTere Kirkland

Oh, yes! I do. And when you have those moments, like the one you had above, it's like magic. There's a song for my first ever MS that brings up images of the characters like a music video whenever I hear it. I get butterflies and I get all giddy. I have songs for the rest as well. Music is so inspiring. I guess that's why they call it MUSE-ic.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Lynn

I MUST have music when I write, and for some reason the best ideas come when I'm driving and listening to my tunes. My novel could have "Apologize" on its soundtrack. Of course, I never tire of anything by One Republic. Never.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenE

I have to have music on while I write. Usually it's just iTunes or my iPod on shuffle so it goes through everything that I have.

As for theme song, well, I have a whole soundtrack of songs that fit the book.

But I'll just pick one. For the main romance subplot, the song from the Enchanted movie soundtrack titled "So Close." It perfectly embodies the main romance.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie McGee

Mine definitely does.."Hurricane," by 30 Seconds to Mars. :)

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Why yes, it does. We are Family by Sister Sledge would probably be the theme. (Using lyric lines for chapter headings too.) :D

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngie Ledbetter

Awesome post!

Not only do I have a theme song for my whole novel, I have one for each "big event" too.

A character dies...that's the cue to fire up "Moonlight Sonota".

My main character cries...time for "When a Woman Cries".

And so on...

I couldn't write without inspiring music behind me, like the entire soundtrack to the movie "All the Pretty Horses"

Christi Corbett

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchristicorbett

Oh yes I have music. In fact, my girls and I will be in the mall and they will point out that the store we're in is playing my playlist. Sometimes we're in the car with the radio on and they'll ask me which book a certain song is from. One daughter fought back the tears when I played a song for her, telling her it was in the book. Music has meaning and puts me in the frame of mind to write with emotion.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie Dair

Roni, the voice reminds me of REM's lead singer.

Your music selections reminds me of my daughter ... duh ... yes I am old enough to be your grandmother ...

Seriously, I have a 30 year old great nephew and grandchildren in high school ... I get by with a little help from my "older" friends and by lying about my age :)

My daughter and all the wonderful young and inspiring writers I meet keep me young and reaching.

Thanks for a great blog and for your help ... by the way ... I went to the link and my query has been posted and I am in hog heaven ...

Learning how to fly through cyber space is a magnificent journey for a crabby "mature" person.

Have a great writing day :)

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFlorence

I definitely use music! I even have playlists on my ipod for each MS I've written/am writing/am thinking about writing/wish I would write. lol For my current WIP, I actually have 2 sort of theme songs, that really encompass the theme.

#1 - "The Catalyst," Linkin Park (I freaked out when I heard this on the radio the other day, it fit so well!)

#2 - "Animal I Have Become," 3 Days Grace

"So what if you can see the darkest side of me? / No one will ever change this animal I have become / Help me believe it's not the real me / Somebody help me tame this animal."

Great post! :)

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKM

Novel#1's theme song is "Higher" by Creed. Set the mood very nicely.

Novel#2's theme songs are "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead and "Uprising" by Muse. Sassy and moody. Good stuff. :)

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM Pax

Can't write without music. Love it. I would have to say one of the songs on my soundtrack would be "Hello" by Evanescence.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRegina

Great song! Most times music isn't my inspiration for my stories. They sort of come to me at weird times. BUT, the other day, I was listening to a song and SAW a scene from one of my WIP's in my head. It fit perfectly. When that happens, it's magic.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRaShelle

A cross between Burn it to the Ground (Nickelback) and Sound of Madness (Shinedown).

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBane of Anubis

When i made my book trailer, I needed music for it and the song that popped in my head first, "It's My Life" by No Doubt. Perfect!

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I've heard that song before! I know that shouldn't be shocking...but knowing it makes me totally get it. You know?

Okay, never mind. Cool song though-should make for an interesting story then!

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOddyoddyo13

Hmmm...I've never thought about it quite like that. I gotta go figure it out.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterE. Arroyo

It does, in fact. "Time" by Pink Floyd. Captures the predicament that my two MCs are in shortly before the action begins.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPostman

YES YES YES totally!

I have whole playlists on my sixtyone account for two of my novels
http://old.thesixtyone.com/#/52faces/

And a third on my iTunes. I can instantly tell which novel a certain song is a fit for.

Like JenE, love OneRepublic - finished my first NaNo novel to their first album.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter52 Faces

Absolutely! Ha, I just posted about my theme song! I am more of a classical nerd though :)

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYou can call me Ant.

I have to have music playing while I'm writing. Typically, I just have a general playlist that I use, rather than having a "soundtrack" for whatever it is that I'm working on.

But for my current WIP, I've been listening to the Inception score while writing. It's not so much that I feel like it makes a soundtrack to my book or any of them are a theme song, though I do think they fit the mood of my book. It's mostly because the idea for this WIP stuck after I saw the film, and listening to the score while writing helps me stay connected to that initial spark.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica Hill

I love this topic! I totally write to music. But it's usually not just one song, more like an entire play list of songs. Though if I had to pin it down, my YA fantasy theme song is The Lightning Strike by Snow Patrol and my YA Dystopian is The Ghost Who Walks by Karen Elson.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMin

Fun post. :)

I do use music in my writing. Usually, my book soundtrack doesn't have a cohesive "sound." Instead, they tend to share certain themes, and they'll align to certain moments in the book. I find music highly inspiration.

Valjean's "Who Am I?" from Les Miserables , which I consider my book's theme song, had a strong influence on my work.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

I love Staind and that's one of my favorite songs. It's kind of funny how that sort of things happens when you're writing. I am a music loving fool and I cannot write without my novel playlist going. There are three songs that fit the theme of my novel very well. When I heard them it was like they were written just for it.

1. Leaving Town Alive - Bethany Joy Galeotti

So till the mornin' breaks
Go and make your mistakes
Don't be surprised if you're heart hurts
Life is for the living
The forgiven
And for leaving town alive

2. Rise Above This - Seether (which I listen to in live sets or acoustic sets.)

Take the light
And darken everything around me
Call the clouds
And listen closely
I'm lost without you

When the line: I'll mend myself before it gets me Four of my characters and what had happened to them just flashed in my head. It was crazy!

#3 It's a Shame - Hayes Carll (Sums up my main character and her ex who she runs into after seven years perfectly)

The time has come, there is no second chance
We’ve been drifting on an empty aching sea
You were the girl I never knew I wanted
I was the boy you hoped you’d never see

My favorite one line from the song: Maybe our hearts were just too careless and free

Okay wow, I just possibly wrote the longest response in your comment section, lol

August 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteramber d

I love Staind and that's one of my favorite songs. It's kind of funny how that sort of things happens when you're writing. I am a music loving fool and I cannot write without my novel playlist going. There are three songs that fit the theme of my novel very well. When I heard them it was like they were written just for it.

1. Leaving Town Alive - Bethany Joy Galeotti

So till the mornin' breaks
Go and make your mistakes
Don't be surprised if you're heart hurts
Life is for the living
The forgiven
And for leaving town alive

2. Rise Above This - Seether (which I listen to in live sets or acoustic sets.)

Take the light
And darken everything around me
Call the clouds
And listen closely
I'm lost without you

When the line: I'll mend myself before it gets me Four of my characters and what had happened to them just flashed in my head. It was crazy!

#3 It's a Shame - Hayes Carll (Sums up my main character and her ex who she runs into after seven years perfectly)

The time has come, there is no second chance
We’ve been drifting on an empty aching sea
You were the girl I never knew I wanted
I was the boy you hoped you’d never see

My favorite one line from the song: Maybe our hearts were just too careless and free

Okay wow, I just possibly wrote the longest response in your comment section, lol

June 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramber d

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