Writing Reality: Novel Soundtrack, “End of the Line”

21/06/2013 at 23:31 (Reviews, Writing, Writing Reality articles) (, , , , , , , , , )


I listen to music while writing; mainly instrumental, for less lyrical distraction, though a few softer vocalists make their way in too. Below is a selection I pulled together, of favoured artists and bands, for a would-be novel soundtrack. Sadly, Godspeed You! Black Emperor – with tracks generally running to a quarter-hour apiece – had to be consigned to the B-side of the vinyl issue, in the style of Pink Floyd’s ‘Echoes.’

1) The Levellers ‘Too Real’: Two mismatched teenagers, unlikely friends in a town of slow decay.

2) The Civil Wars,’20 Years’: The secret diary of a missing girl

3) Soley, ‘I Drown’: For the whimsy and idiocy of falling in love with a friend

4) The Levellers, ‘100 Years of Solitude’: For the Deathwalk race over the blustery Greenfell viaduct, towards the quarry – with gangs at your heels

5) I am Kloot, “Same Deep water as Me”: When the blues drag you both down, and neither can let go

6) Mogwai, ‘Too Raging to Cheers’: For the brassy evening light, hanging high in the trees, and the pollen-thick air; for wandering the old line

7) The Smiths, ‘I know it’s Over’: For that first, last dance. “Isn’t this a bit ominous?”

8) Soley, ‘Kill the Clown’: When the mask is pulled on, the man disappears into his past

9) The Levellers, ‘Red Sun Burns’: The blue moon rises, and the walls talk

10) Miriam Stockley, ‘Another Perfect Day’: The wind changes, lives move on – but there are no happy endings, because nothing ever ends

11) Blonde Redhead, ’23’: Played over end credits, scrolled over rhododendrons’ green-gold haze

Vinyl B-side: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, “Dead Flag Blues” – for walking the length of the line under a bone white moon, towards the quarry.

That’s the gist of my first novel, “End of the Line” – old-gold light and blue-black shadows; racing through twisted undergrowth; an abandoned quarry and its disused rail line; hooky bus trips; slightly mental teachers; teen gang warfare, and a missing girl’s diary. All filtered through the 1st POV of a lad with too much going on upstairs for his own good. More fact, less context.

Letting go of the rail, clinging to the backs of each chair, she wobbles up the aisle. Litter clinks and rattles a colourful stream around her boots. “Nope. You’re a fellow outsider.”
I laugh. “Oh yeah. Because your drive-by knowledge of everything and everyone in this town, qualifies you an outsider.” Grunting, I plunk back down. “I think I’ll head in the back door, after all. Take my chances with the Mafia.”
She stares at me, all humour washed out of her eyes. “No, I wouldn’t say that’s a good idea. You’re an outsider because you’re new here. They’ll know it. Come in the front way.”
I smirk. “If I was being gross…”
The wishbone jaw tightens. She hefts the bag back up her shoulder. “Suit yourself,” she says shortly. “See you around.”
“Not likely,” I tell her. “You don’t seem like the kind of person someone like me would be seen with.”

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5 Comments

  1. Janna G. Noelle said,

    Funny that you should post this now: I’m in the process of essembling my own novel soundtrack. Great minds…?

    Admittedly, I’m not familiar with many of these songs/bands, but I do know Miriam Stockley – I’ve been a fan of hers for years. 🙂

    Sorry I haven’t written you in a while. I haven’t forgotten about you. Busy times abound.

    • celenagaia33 said,

      No worries, Janna, I appreciate busyness and the solitude necessary for a novel 🙂 Though it’s kind of freaky that we’re thinking the same things re: music. I like to keep a continuity between artists and certain scenes / characters; it helps the flow of writing. Miriam Stockley became known to me through hunting down a beautiful song, “Another Perfect Day,” which was the theme song of the lovely animated renditions of Beatrix Potter’s books. I watched them in the Infants (kindergarten) with my class, aged about 5/6 years old; the tune haunted me for years.

  2. Soundtrack for Writing | Drew Chial said,

    […] my friend Rachel’s writing playlist on her website celenagaia.wordpress.com. Check it out here. Follow her on Twitter […]

  3. Writing Reality – Fleshing out Characters | celenagaia said,

    […] mentioned in this blog entry, I work to a specific soundtrack for each fictional piece, with one or more artists assigned to a […]

  4. Writing Reality: Method Writing (Through their Eyes) | celenagaia said,

    […] could relate to – either in general mindset, or at a particular point in their lives. This entry was an early compilation for my novel, End of the Line, when it was in its first draft. Songs […]

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