In the Process, Music! (or not)

by Jody Feldman

As a person who came in 3rd place in an all-campus Name That Tune contest back in my college days, you'd think that I'd be in the forefront of building playlists for all my works-in-progress. It hasn't worked that way for me. Several reasons.

1. Whenever I listen to music while I draft or revise, I get lost in the music and accomplish way too little.

2. If I were to go down the rabbit hole of assembling a playlist to inspire me, I might as well skip ahead and change my occupation to Playlist Creator.

3. The only time I managed to drum up a brief playlist, the book never went anywhere, in that it never made it past my agent. Not that I believe that the playlist tanked it. It was more that, honestly, it didn't do anything to make me a better, more inspired writer. 

That said, I occasionally happen upon a song that becomes the anthem of my main character or the premise of the book itself. 

In The Seventh Level, Travis Raines is not only small for his age, but he’s that kid whose antics make it hard for people to take him seriously ... until. I was still in brainstorming mode for 7th when John Mayer's Bigger Than My Body played somewhere. That song – throughout my process from first draft through revisions, copy edits, everything – kept reminding me that even kids like Travis have all the qualities to become a force in life.  

Next was the instance of a yet-to-be-published-because-I-messed-up-but-will-eventually- revisit-it book. The Fool on the Hill by the Beatles became the atmospheric anthem of this story. Whenever I hear it, even now, it reignites my passion and makes me want to drop everything and go through the arduous task of rewriting this story from the POV of the right main character. (Yes, it was that type of mess up.)

As for my current WIP, so young that I haven't yet named my MC, maybe, hopefully, I'll stumble across the right anthem for her or for the story. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll try that playlist thing again. 



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