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Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Cure for Writer's Block---Music

Source: Gary Ponzo's Strong Scene Contest Blog

If you're like me, the juices don't always flow at the precise moment you need them. No we're not talking Viagra. (I saw you going there) I'm speaking of course about the mental juices we bring to the keyboard to create the greatest novel ever written. Which by the way we're all trying to accomplish. Let's face it, no one's missing an episode of "30 Rock," to write a mediocre book. So I'm here to tell you that music is the answer. Whenever I get in that rut, I slip on the iPod and go for a run and listen to the words of the artist flowing over me. I can receive the same benefit while driving alone in the car.

A great example of this was when I was searching for the ending to a touching scene in my novel, "A Touch of Deceit," where FBI agent Nick Bracco's wife has been shot by a terrorist and is recovering in her hospital bed. Bracco knows she'll never be the same again, especially if the assassin isn't found and arrested. Her eyes glisten as she implores her husband to track down the terrorist and put him away. It sounds silly, but I struggled with his response. "Bet on it," he sneered. "It's done, Sweetie," he said with tight lips. You get the idea. Everything sounded so canned. Then, later that day, I'm listening to Coldplay in my car, the song, "Shiver," and I hear the lyrics, "Just you try and stop me." Bingo. No it's not Walt Whitman, but it was precisely the emotion I was looking for--confident and cocky, giving his wife peace of mind. Yes, I swiped an innocuous and common phrase from Chris Martin, but it served its purpose.

Believe it or not this can even work for instrumentals. It's the rhythm and the emotion of the piece which can jump start that right side of your brain. Try it the next time you're juices need lubricating.

PS- There's an old Jules Shear song about a bitter breakup with the lyrics, "I've never seen the weapon, but I know the prints are mine." Is that great or what? Feeling anything yet?

L Anne Carrington

1 comment:

  1. I can so relate to this as one who has keyed two books to the strains of one man's achingly romantic albums ringing in both her ears and her head.
    The right piece of music can reach deep inside and touch that special place that makes the emotions and the words flow. Take, for example, Barber's Adagio for Strings, anyone not moved to tears by that piece must have a swinging brick for a heart. Is that not the perfect piece to accompany a scene of desperate sadness?
    No two arts were ever truer bedfellows than music and writing.