Friday, January 29, 2010

Are you listening?

I just finished a book one of my book group buddies gave to me, NO ONE YOU KNOW, by Michelle Redmond. I liked it a lot, it's a women's fiction story that is about sisters and has a murder mystery entwined. Nice. At the back, as part of her reader's guide, she included a couple of coffee cocktail recipes and her playlist for the book. Though she says she writes in silence, the songs listed helped her as she developed the story.

Curious, I listened to a few of the songs. Some I knew and enjoyed. Some just didn't match the rhythm of the story as I felt it. I confess, I really enjoy Top 40, classic rock, just Regular-Jane pop-type stuff so some of her list wasn't to my taste. Surfer Guy was a music major in college and he appreciates different types of music more than I do (though he's resisting enjoying any of the rap/hip hop that Son2 is exposing him to, while I like some of it). In the end, the author's playlist didn't add to my enjoyment of the book (which again, I liked a lot).

I have my own playlist for each manuscript which I listen to as I write. Some songs are just made for the book. I listened to Jason Mraz's "If it Kills Me" which is about a friend wanting to be a lover, which matches the secondary storyline of my next book, CRUSH ON YOU. Right now I'm listening to the Glee cast version of "Taking Chances," along with other songs for the manuscript-in-progress. I'm still searching for the exact right mix. I thought about putting my playlists on my website, but am waffling. Maybe it's too personal? What I like might turn off someone else (or expose me as the complete music tweenager that I am--I have Hannah Montana stuff on my iTunes!).

To readers: Are you interested in the author's playlist if they have one? Do you think it might enhance your reading experience--or diminish it?

17 comments:

Michele Hauf said...

I think it's cool to see the author's playlist for the book. I don't have to agree with it, and usually I won't recognize half the songs, but if I recognize just one I think it's neat. Another way to connect with the author and the characters.

I like it so much I have my playlist printed in the back of my April release. :-)

Christie Ridgway said...

If you don't recognize the song(s), Michele, do you go listen to them? Maybe that was my mistake. That instead of nodding my head at the ones I knew and just taking in the titles of the others, that I sought them out. Then I was kind of...huh?

I can't wait to see your playlist.

Cindy Gerard said...

I've never been one for a play list although the idea is very appealing to me. I probably wouldn't bother to check out an author's playlist for a book for the same reason I wouldn't bother to pick out a play list for one of mine. I'm lazy that way. I do, however listen to music constantly as I write. It's like white noise for me and as necessary as the vanilla candle I ALWAYS have burning on my window sill in my office and one of the cats sleeping on the corner of my desk. For me it's more about the 'total' environment than each detail.
Now, if someone would put together a play list for me to work by, I'm totally there!!

Christie Ridgway said...

Cindy: My playlist is white noise for me too. I started listening to music while writing when my kids were young to drown out all the yelling and thumping.

Interestingly, when I am not doing actual writing, but plotting or developing, I need silence or some music without words (I have Brain Sync tapes). Must work a different side of my brain.

Michele Hauf said...

Nope, I haven't checked out a song I don't recognize yet, Christie. But maybe if it had a weird or interesting title I might be compelled. I always think for the playlist to really be affective, it should either list the song at the beginning of the chapter or scene that it applies to. You know? Or even at the beginning of the story so the reader can have the music in mind.

I listed mine at the end, but I did put in things like 'hero's theme song' 'falling in love song', 'vampire's theme' for a little more detail.

It's just fun stuff any time an author adds anything. I love reading author's notes. If they list a research book I find that interesting. Of if they climbed a mountain to research I want to know that too. So of like the extras you get on DVDs. :-)

Kathleen Eagle said...

I write pretty quietly. If I turn on music, it's something without lyrics. I'm very much aware of lyrics, remember the words to everything--sound tracks, jingles, the whole soundtrack of my life, and the fact that I can't carry a tune is somewhat frustrating. So I'll play classical or "new age" or maybe some jazz, Lakota flute music, Hawaiian slack key guitar and like that.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hey, I took the girls to their elementary school "sock hop" last night and got such a kick out of the playlist. There was a little Miley Cyrus, kiddie hi-hop, a few bits I couldn't have sung along with, but They're still doing the Bunny Hop and the Hokey Pokey. I high-fived my 2nd grade grand-d for winning the Twist contest and getting to the final round of the Hula Hoop contest. Yes, Nana used to do both of those quite well, which set me to thinking...

50's dances have been popular since, well, the 1950's. The gym was packed with poodle skirts last night. That era was...OMG, 50-60 years ago! Can you imagine going back that many years for music and costumes for your elementary, jr or sr high parties? That is some staying power!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, and Elvis made a special appearance last night. The kids loved it! The principal and her daughter were dressed in matching poodle skirts and saddle shoes, and the music was mostly ol' time rock 'n roll. And some of the kids were actually line dancing!

I took lots of pictures. It was the only way I could stay off the dance floor.

Christie Ridgway said...

Love the sock hop the grands and you attended, Kathleen! Yep, those 50s hang in there. In high school we had a "50s Day" and my mom & I put together a v. cute skirt, blouse, scarf. Hair in ponytail, and I happened to have these really cute retro saddle shoes.

I was voted the school's "Teen Angel" that day. Hah! How much fun.

Christie Ridgway said...

Michele: I really like you designating what each song represents. I hadn't thought about that! Really good idea.

Helen Brenna said...

I love that authors have playlists and would be very curious to see what they are. I'd likely not check out the songs I didn't know unless I was CRAZY in love with the book and went stalker on the author. lol

I've never used the playlist concept for my book, although like Cindy the idea intrigues me. May try it next book.

I'm opposite you, Christie - need more quiet when I'm writing, but can have music when I'm plotting and planning.

I've started leaving the radio on downstairs in the kitchen (I know it's not environmentally sound) but it adds some great white noise for me. Too far away to hear the lyrics, so I can still concentrate on my writing.

Happy Friday, folks!

Christie Ridgway said...

I was especially curious about the playlist from the book I mentioned in the post because it's set in San Francisco and I grew up in the Bay Area. I laughed because she mentioned the Journey song "Lights" which she notes works very hard to rhyme "city" and "bay." Yes, it does.

Paula R said...

Hi Christie, knowing an author's playlist wouldn't really factor into the enjoyment of their book for me. When I read, I just want to focus on the story, and knowing/hearing the songs that they listened to while writing the book, wouldn't have any effect on me. I like the quiet when I read, and if music is on in the background, I am very adept at blocking it out and any other extraneous noises that may sound. If I hear the words of the song, then the book is not pulling me in, and I am bored. I hope this answer helps you.

Every one of us have a little tweenager in us, so don't worry about it. I have the soundtrack and movies to all the High School Musicals, and I too like some of the Hannah Montana songs. So don't worry about it. It's all good!!

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Betina Krahn said...

I love the idea of playlists for books! I can't imagine too many readers will go look up all the music for a given book. . . unless they're blown away by the story or characters. But personally I'd love to see if the author's playlist for my favorite books would match mine. Often as I read, Ithink of music that would be a good musical score for the energy and action of a scene or sequel.

I do listen to music as I write-- except for lyrics. Most of my writing music is lyric-less classical or new age or world music (in lanuages I don't speak). But occasionally I find an album with lyrics I can somehow tune out or hum along with enough to cancel them out. for some reason "Pink" is one of those artists for me. Go figure.

KylieBrant said...

I wish I could listen to music as I write but it's just too distracting to me.

I've discovered many new artists through my kids' music tastes, though and really enjoy expanding my listening horizons. I wouldn't have discovered Deathcab for Cutie without a couple of my kids!

And I have a couple Miley Cyrus tunes on my iPod, LOL. My oldest son does too although he's a bit ashamed to admit it!

Venus Vaughn said...

Music and reading exist in such different parts of my brain, that it's rare for one to enhance the other.

I'm not a fan of playlists because I feel like the author is telling me, "You should like this!" And aside from being anti-should, isn't it enough that I just like the book?

That being said, sometimes I do enjoy a song enough that it adds a layer to the story (I'm specifically thinking of Savin' Me in Acheron), but those instances are so few and far between, that I never seek out a playlist.

Allison said...

As a reader, I would be interested in knowing what songs inspired you for the storyline to get a feel for the characters. As an aspiring writer, I'm interested in that angle because I need silence to write. Although, the last time I listened to my Leahy cd, it did give me some thoughts for a WIP that takes place in Ireland.