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Bringing a Story to Life: When Life Meets You Halfway

knight-horse-jousting-vector-cartoon-clip-art-illustration-armored-scary-black-red-eyes-charging-lance-111436248“It is seeking me as I am seeking it

                  – Thomas Pauley

 

This morning as I was pulling the car in near the coffee shop where I get my double shot a song came on the radio.  Initially, I rolled my eyes as it was a cheesy 80s love ballad.

I prefer heavy metal – big time.

I was about to turn it – and the car – off – when the lyrics caught my attention.  A smile spread across my face and I decided the doppio could wait a little longer.  You see, the song solved a writing problem.

This isn’t the first time.

The Problem.  Last night I began working out a scene in Cauldron of the Gods.

An urban fantasy I’m working on.   

I’m 43000 plus words into the story and this scene takes place much later in the novel.

The scene is a bit of a challenge as there are elements that are in conflict with earlier ones.  I tried resolving the conflict off and on before bed to no avail.

For once it didn’t keep me awake.

To my surprise and delight – yes, author word – the lyrics of the song provided the answer I needed.

I rarely IF EVER (can’t think of one instance) say I’m delighted – too dated a term.

Not a One Off.  This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this phenomenonBeginning some eight months ago, while driving, I would notice a song on the radio that solved a writing issue.

I say notice because most of the time songs are just background music. 

Time is Immaterial. The song doesn’t have to be a current release.

 The keyword is notice.

At times, it’s a song I’ve never heard before.  Other times it’s an older song I’m hearing in a new way.

Lyrics.

Words V Tunes.  It’s typically lyrics that resolve a problem.

Not necessarily the whole song, either; sometimes just a stanza. 

Rarely is it the rhythm.

Though it can be. Especially in the case of percussion led songs.

Let Me Count the Ways.  It’s not always the same issue that’s resolved.

Character.  The following are some of the songs that have helped with character related issues  

  • ET – Katy Perry
  • I Am Machine – Three Days Grace
  • Wicked Game – Ursine Vulpine Remake
  • Ever It Hurts – Sam Tinnesz

Setting.  The following songs have helped with setting related issues

  • Circadian Rhythm – Silversun Pickups
  • Love Walks In – Van Hagar
  • Sunrise – Blackwater Holylight
  • Windswept – Bryan Ferry

Scene.  The following songs have helped with scene related issues

  •  Story of Love – Peter Cetera
  • When Legends Rise – Godsmack
  • Angels Fall – Breaking Benjamin
  • Prologue/Twilight – Electric Light Orchestra

Ask and Ye Shall Receive.  What stands out the most is how the problem is being solved.

  • I mentally consider that I’m feeling frustrated.

But other than considering the various ways I can approach the issue I don’t spend time on it.

  • I analyze whatever part of the writing process is the challenge 

Character, scene, plot, other.

  • I go about my life

Though the issue rattles around in the background

The point is I don’t pray/meditate for resolution or otherwise actively try to solve the issue

It honestly doesn’t occur to me to do more than say to myself, “Yeah, I am frustrated.”

Kismet.  In spite of the lack of effort toward resolution, an answer presents itself – in the form of a song – within a very short time of acknowledging the problem.

As Pauley said…it (the answer) is seeking me as I am seeking it.

As I approach my dreams, Life is meeting me halfway.

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