For my latest novel, TICK to the TOCK, I produced a 101 Song Playlist to accompany my words. The start of each chapter is lead by a list of Recommended Listening, including an eclectic range of artists such as: Iron & Wine, Ben Howard, The Tallest Man On Earth, The Shins, Cat Power, The Avett Brothers, Sigur Ros, Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch, and Death Cab For Cutie.
Music is a huge part of my life, and I believe an individual’s taste in music says a great deal about them. When I write (be it Fiction, a Blog Post like this one, a Short Story…) I don’t wish to only share the story in question, but provide an insight into the STORY OF ME. I want the reader to get a sense of my mood, my inspiration, and the thoughts swirling around my mind as I tap away at the keyboard.
Because this is the true sense of storytelling. It’s deeper than the words on the page, and I bet I can confirm this by asking you to think of a story you love. It can be a book or a movie or a song or article or tale told from a loved one… whatever it is, picture it.
Now, think about the setting you read it in, and the time of year it was, and what your mood was at the time, and the smells and sounds and the drink you drank, and the food you ate. We don’t recall all the details for all the stories we come across, but if it’s a story you love, my guess is you remember more than the words.
So, when it comes to my own writing, I always consider more than the sentences on offer.
IT’S NOT JUST FOR ME, IT’S FOR YOU TOO
Creating the TICK to the TOCK 101 Playlist took a great deal of time and effort. I didn’t want to add any old songs, but songs that related to my mood and inspiration and the story itself. I’m not sure if you’ve ever written a book, but as launch day edges closer and closer, there’s rather a lot to do.
- I faced deadlines
- I had edits to finish
- I had a launch to plan and conquer
I probably should have forgotten all about the playlist and work on more pressing matters, but the TICK to the TOCK Playlist isn’t just for me, it’s for you too!
As I created each character in TttT, their music tastes guided me. I often imagined certain songs during certain scenes, because music has the power to reach into your chest and pull at your heart strings or give you energy or set you on edge (think about the first time you watched Jaws). Had I kept these melodies and tunes to myself, I’d be doing the reader a great injustice.
Because music is a huge part of TICK to the TOCK. And it’s a huge part of me, too.
WHEN IT’S IMPORTANT, GO THE EXTRA MILE… AND THEN SOME
I know this 101 Playlist won’t be for everyone. Some people read in silence, and even if you enjoy reading with music in the background, my taste in music may make your skin crawl. I didn’t do this for everyone, though. Just like I didn’t write TICK to the TOCK for everyone.
I wrote the book for those who need it, and I created this playlist for the reader who desires more.
For example, Sarah Craven says:
Also the added touch of the recommended reading to go along with each chapter adds to the story really puts you in the places they are/ the mind sets of the main characters too
Or Emma Michaels, the author of Owlet, says:
I love the use of songs between sections to set the mood. Might want to have youtube up when you read this one because the music adds another layer to the entire journey.
I love how Emma says it sets the mood and adds a layer to the entire journey. She sums up my reasons rather perfectly!
This did add extra work to my already hectic pile, and I have no idea what sort of impact it will leave (will it help sell more copies? will only a handful of people care? how many people will actually notice?), but when something’s important, I believe you should go the extra mile… and then some.
And TICK to the TOCK is damn important to me.
HOW CAN YOU SET THE MOOD? WHAT LAYERS CAN YOU ADD?
I’m not the first writer to do this, and artists in general do such tasks all of the time. For example, Colleen Hoover begins each chapter of Slammed with an Avett Brothers Quote. And for one of her recent releases, she collaborated with a musician who coincided an album to go along with the book.
Movies use music all of the time. And musicians use movies, too.
But whether you’re a writer or artist or musician, or whether you’re the person on the other side of it, reading or listening or watching, how can you set the mood? What layers can you add to the experience?
Music plays a large part in my storytelling, but so does coffee and where I read and write (hence my Behind ‘The Scenes Series’ in One Day in September). I try and share as much of my journey as possible, because I hope it will affect the reader in turn. But it also affects me and allows me to share more of my storytelling. Having 101 songs that connect me to TICK to the TOCK feels great. It’s a part of storytelling that goes beyond my words.
THIS PLAYLIST IS PART OF MY STORY, MY STORYTELLING, AND JOURNEY AS A WHOLE
Be sure to check out the TICK to the TOCK Playlist below, and let me know your thoughts. I’m fairly certain you’ll hate some of the music, and unless you read TICK to the TOCK you may be unable to comprehend the whole point.
But this playlist is part of my story, my storytelling, and journey as a whole. So, the next time you write, or create, or read, or listen… consider how you can deepen the experience and take it to a whole new level. This is what Storytelling is all about.
Thanks for reading,