Musical Obsessions and Wondering What Happens Now

I admit, I have an obsessive personality.  When I find new tv shows I really like, I obsess over them (just a few of which include: Stargate, Star Trek, Criminal Minds, In Plain Sight, and Fringe).  When I find new foods I like, I get addictive pretty quickly (like my grilled ham-n-cheese with havarti, grilled onion, and green apple – I can’t get enough of it!).  And when I find new music I love, I sometimes can’t stop listening for days.  It gets pretty bad sometimes.

For instance, last week I discovered Irish alt-rock band Snow Patrol.  I’d heard of them before, but I’d never actually listened to any of their music until last week.  Their album A Hundred Million Suns is fantastic.  And I have literally had the album on repeat on my itunes non-stop since last Thursday.  Yes, LAST THURSDAY.  NON-STOP.  I told you I got it bad.  However, it was their song “The Lightning Strike” that really got me (it’s now one of my new favorite songs).  It’s a 3-part song, like 3 different songs strung together, making it almost 17 minutes long.  However, my favorite is Part 1: What If This Storm Ends?, which is the part I’ve included here:

As I was listening, I discovered that “The Lightning Strike” was also a near-perfect song for my WIP Midnight’s Knife.  That was the only song I listened to as I wrote the last chapter last Saturday.  Over, and over, and over again.  And now, though I’m currently taking a little break from that WIP before beginning the long process of revisions, I still can’t stop listening to this album.  I keep wondering what will happen if I keep listening to this.  Another part of me wonders what’s going to happen when I start revising.  Maybe my head will explode?  Maybe I should find something new to listen to?  Or maybe it’ll keep me moving through the revision process?  Or all of the above?

‘Cause seriously, I listen to it while doing EVERYTHING – cleaning house, writing, reading, sleeping.  And it has kept me moving through quite a busy week.  And it HAS been busy, despite the fact that I haven’t written as much this week.

So, what HAVE I been up to this week?  Well, as I mentioned, I’ve started a new short story.  I haven’t put much energy into a short story in a very long time – I’m definitely more of a novel-writing person, every idea I have generally turns into a huge, long, involved story.  But I think I can keep this one down to short story, or at least novelette length.  It’s about a woman whose best friend has disappeared off the face of the earth without a single physical trace – except that people keep reporting seeing her in random places all over the country: on the side of the road, in parking lots, standing on the shore of a lake.  So the woman begins to dig through her friend’s possessions – letters, journals, photographs, etc – in hopes of discovering what might have happened (though she fears her friend may have committed suicide, as she’d always had problems with depression).  My thinking is that this story will probably classify as magical realism.  However, it is a very internal story, mainly focusing on the woman’s attempts to deal with her friend’s disappearance.  I just hope it isn’t SO internal as to be too slow.  I suppose we shall see.

image from Angela Write Now

I have also been recruited to edit my friend Angela Kulig’s manuscript: Pigments of My Imagination (which has an AWESOME cover, by the way).  The story is a YA fantasy/paranormal romance dealing with magical paintings and past lives, and Angela is preparing to release it as in ebook at the end of the month.  Unfortunately, the pro editor she hired bailed on her at the last second (and I think she should release his name so the rest of us know to avoid him), so I agreed to do the final edit for her.  And let me tell you, I am SO GLAD I DID! Because the story is WONDERFUL so far.  I’m about a third of the way through it, and impatiently waiting for Angela to send me the next section.  I want to know what happens next!  Seriously, I highly recommend this book and I will keep you updated when Angela has actually released it.  In the mean time, you should definitely go check out her blog: Angela Write Now.

(I wonder if I can count an unpublished, but completed, manuscript as one of my #ToBeReMo books…?)

I’ve also been crazy-busy with family and personal stuff.  But you know, that stuff is boring to talk about unless you’re prepared for my whining, so I’ll just move on.

So here’s something I’m curious about: does anyone else ever get completely obsessed with an album and play it non-stop for days or weeks?  Or is that just me?  What songs or albums stick in your head like that?  And which ones keep you moving throughout the day?  Also, is an obsessive personality common among writers? I’ve met a couple who are similar to me in that way, but was that just a coincidence?

Oh! And because I was dumb and posted a couple questions in a blog that was otherwise devoted to a book review, I didn’t many answers, so I’ll ask again: 1) Would anyone be interested in me posting some excerpts from my WIP Midnight’s Knife, or would I just be shooting myself in the foot?  2) Can anyone suggest any books or articles about writing summaries/synopses, and queries?  ‘Cause I know NOTHING on the subject.

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13 thoughts on “Musical Obsessions and Wondering What Happens Now

  1. I listen to the same music while writing the same Manuscripts allllll the time. For PIGMENTS it was DEAD HEART BLOOM, and Panic at the Disco, for SKELETON LAKE it was mostly The Hush Sound.

    ALso I should mention my pro editor crashed me a long time ago, well last month. Athough I worry the Stigma of calling someone a pro. Seems like every Tom Dick and Harry Writer decides they can edit and then their critque partners will totally vouch for all the awesome editing they have done for them.

    THEN I had a friend that was going to do it, but she got over worked maybe, got sick, and it’s been days since I spoke to her. I still love her, but it had been a long time since she was supposed to start and it hadn’t happened. I was panic stricken. Amanda saved me.

    Most of the editing as been done, but SOMEONE has to fix my rogue commas. 😉

    • Oh yes, it was obvious that most of the editing had already been done. Like I said in my email, there really wasn’t THAT much to fix. I just hope the guy you originally hired returned your money.

  2. Okay. Yes. I get obsessed with songs, and tend to make playlists for my WIPs. In fact, my current WIP came from a Days of the New song (or album, really) and my iTunes play counts reflect that. More recently, it’s been Mumford & Sons, specifically, Awake My Soul. There’s one line that pretty much sums up the whole thing. “Where you invest your heart, you invest your life.” DAHH -death-

    I think these little music obsessions are essential to my process, and I’m glad to see that you have them too! Music helps me with the emotional aspects of the story. It allows me to drop in and feel what my characters (or readers!) are feeling. I make entire playlists for stories, both mine and books I’ve read, and it makes the whole reading or writing experience that much richer!

    And I totally have an obsessive personality. I can document my life in series of obsessions. Spice Girls. NSYNC. Harry Potter. Newsies. Days of the New. Kushiel’s Legacy. Lord of the Rings.

    And about writing queries and summaries:

    http://sites.google.com/site/arthurwells/10reasonsagentspassoverqueryletters224

    for writing synopses and

    http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/08/how-to-write-query-letter.html

    for query letters. 😀

    • Mumford & Sons is good. I really like ‘Little Lion Man.’ And I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets obsessed with music… or other things. Lord of the Rings is DEFINITELY an obsession I have also.

      Also, thanks for the links! They look like they should be very helpful. I appreciate it. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. I hope you’ll come by again.

  3. I’d say I get obsessed with songs to some extent. I try not to listen to the same song more than once a day, but if I really like one it will keep showing up in my playlist and I find I’m listening to the same few songs every day haha.

    Recently I was obsessed with “Black Rain” by Soundgarden and would play it five or six times in a day. Before that it was probably “the Trooper” by Iron Maiden lol.

    I think a neurotic personality is pretty standard for authors. It makes a person more sensitive, I think, to stimuli. More perceptive. And authors have to be perceptive to be able to do what they do. Being a bit anal retentive helps as well ;).

    • Ah, Soundgarden… great great band…

      And yes, I can definitely be labeled neurotic. And sensitive. And paranoid. And moody. And all sorts of other not-so-flattering words. ^_^ It’s a good thing I found a use for all these things.

  4. Other than Adele, I haven’t had anything in particular on repeat lately, and I cannot listen to my music when I write, to me it’s distracting. I want to lip synch in the mirror instead of write. But sitting in Starbucks is like work gold, and I like their music. I don’t get why it works, but it does.

    • Yeah, some people get distracted by music, but I’ve never been one of them. *shrug* I don’t really like silence. I don’t need conversation, or a tv on, or anything like that, but I usually have music of some sort playing all day long. Like I said, I’m pretty music-obsessed. (I’m really liking Adele too, btw.)

  5. I do! But you already knew that…
    I’ve even had times where I’ve had the same individual song on repeat for several hours at a time while writing, or – more often – while drawing. Usually though, I just pick from one of a few specific albums to listen to when working, usually something that makes good background like OST-type stuff. But yeah…it does vary.

    And at the moment…I’m STILL on my Hurts kick. Actually, one of their songs today gave me the idea for an entirely new story. Which hasn’t happened in a really long time. Too bad I sooo don’t need a new project right now.

    Anyway…I don’t think you have to be obsessive to be a writer. And sometimes I think it would help if I was a little less obsessive and a little more disciplined when it came to working. But it does help at times too, especially when you need the persistence to keep going. That, and I think the obsessive personality probably helps a writer naturally dig deeper into their characters and develop more empathy with them. And probably contributes to some of the needed self-criticism, willingness to research, or any number of other things that are useful traits to have. It’s probably a blessing and a curse. XP

    Also, that cover IS awesome-looking.

    And…I’d say it’d be fun to see some short snippets of MK on the blog, maybe especially if you use them more as a starting point to talk some about your writing process or something related.

    • Yep, I already knew you get obsessed with songs sometimes. And lol, no you definitely don’t need another new project right now. I’d say just jot down the premise and file it away for later. (If you don’t finish TN I will be upset.)

      And I agree that some of the obsessiveness and neurotic self-criticism do seem to go hand-in-hand sometimes.

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