Words and Music

Some people can’t write with music on, but I find the right soundtrack can clear my head and put me deep in the scene I’m writing. It strengthens my point of view, blocks extraneous thoughts and minimizes the chance I’m going to get distracted by something dumb. There’s a link, I think, between music and words, and when that right song is playing, my fingers feel obliged to keep up. A valuable tool when writing is especially difficult; when self doubt crowds the mind with rubbish. If you think about it, our brains can only do so many things at once: We can’t write and listen to music, and lecture ourselves on what hack writers we are. For me, the rubbish is jettisoned and it’s just me and the music and my words.

This song is on loop right now, the only thing making Chapter 11 of my current work in progress happen:

First person or third person?

So, I’m working on my new work in progress. It’s young adult, of course, because I’m a “first love” addict and can’t get enough first kisses and first hand holding and oh! My heart beats faster just thinking about it. My last book, which is out on submission at a handful of literary agencies (fingers crossed, people!), is a first person narrative, has a crazy high concept and is pretty intense all the way around.

This book is more…sensitive. True, it’s about mermaids who hibernate and there’s a dead body and a love story, but at it’s core it’s about a boy who comes to realize he’s not a loser pothead, after all and falls in love with a girl who spends six months of the year sleeping in the mud on the bottom of a frozen lake. I’m writing in the third person, and struggling with it, frankly. The book feels like it should be written in the first person, but the main character is a seventeen-year old boy, and I honestly don’t feel qualified to write from that deeply inside the brain of boy at all, let alone a teenaged one.

Because really, it’s no big secret what dominates the brain of a teenage boy, and there’s not much of a story to it. As of now, I’m not sure if I should just go ahead an switch to first person, or keep slogging along in third. I feel like I’m hammering a round ball into a square hole. One thing I’ve learned about writing is, a solution always comes. Usually in the shower or in the moment just before falling asleep, unfortunately, but that’s a rant for another post.