I create song lists for every novel I do. I had a great one for Siren’s Call–full of bright jazz, with some Asian pieces thrown in, and a couple of country western numbers to boot.
The Raven and the Dancing Tiger’s song list was full of songs about dancing, as well as great swing dance tunes.
When I do collections of short stories, I also do song lists. I end up choosing one song per short story, that I find I’m listening to while I’m writing the short story, or that I find when the story is finished and it fits perfectly.
I’ve already blogged once about how music inspires me to write. Putting on that list of songs gets me thinking about the story I’m writing, gets my butt in the chair and my words onto the page.
Then I started working on The Popcorn Thief–a novel that will be published by Book View Cafe in February, 2014.
The main character, Franklin, doesn’t listen to music. Or rather, his music is the sound of the wind blowing through his corn field, or the call of the cicadas in the woods, or the swooshing noise of semis on the nearby highway.
Oh, he might sing along to a nice tune that they play at the grocery store he works at, and he might hum a hymn or two, but he much prefers the songs the world sings him.
I had to find something else to inspire me — sitting in that silence at my living room table, letting the quiet build, waiting for his voice to start talking to me.
I was lucky, I think. Franklin has a distinct voice, and quite a story to tell. I enjoyed sitting still and listening to him ramble.
There was one other thing that inspired me to write this novel–the last scene. The entire novel hinges on that last battle, and driving toward that kept my seat in the chair.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m the tour guide when it comes to writing. And these are some strange places.
I can’t wait to share them with you.
So what do you do when your usual habits don’t work for a project? How do you find Plan B?