More Music To Write Novels By

(Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.)

Winter Is…Continuing. MLK Weekend Is Coming. I am finally almost recovered from all the excitement of NaNoWriMo and the holiday season, so I’d like to write about the trickiness of soundtracking my last NaNo project.

The prologue and first chapter is basically about people gearing up for a party on a major religious festival, most of them unaware that an invasion is looming over their heads. From there, their world turns into a warzone, kind of a cross between Casablanca and Hotel Rwanda, and then turns into a mystical adventure in the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark, or at least the third act of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

So, I worked my way through the pre-invasion parts with no problem, using a variant of my standard writing playlist discussed here, and then a funny thing happened. As the story got relatively darker and sadder, the  Gothic but bouncy vibe of my Castlevania playlist stopped working for me.

Usually it has just enough energy to help me power through the sad stuff without spoiling the mood, but somehow all that swagger and melodrama started to grate on me. It seemed disrespectful of what the characters were going through. I tried my outlining/problem-solving playlist, and although that helped to some extent, it didn’t seem quite right.

So I turned to the playlist I had thrown together for my 2015 NaNoWriMo project (the gladiator/MMA fantasy project mentioned here.) When I had been prepping NaNo2015, my standard playlists hadn’t seem to fit it terribly well, until I threw together an unlikely mix of Ennio Morricone and Jerry Goldsmith tracks:

-From Morricone’s Red Sonja: Main Title and Varna’s Death.

-From Goldsmith’s Rio Conchos: Main Title and Where’s the Water.

-And then the whole of Goldsmith’s Medicine Man soundtrack.

That had worked great in 2015 and it worked fine for the remainder of the warzone scenes and also the mystical adventure scenes as well. The funny part, which I didn’t really notice until I was mostly done? Well, the mystical adventure subplot hinges on a tree-themed religious symbol, and the question of whether it is a real thing or just a philosophical concept.

And if you’ve seen Medicine Man, or even skimmed the track listing for the music, you know that the story revolves around a fictional tree species from the Amazon rain forest.

I hadn’t chosen the playlist with that in mind, but it was an interesting coincidence.

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