Humming Along

What does revision sound like?

For some people it might be the clickity-clack of typing. For others it’s the shush of a highlighter against manuscript pages. But for me it sounds like Battlestar Galactica.

Yes. My revision, at least for my current book, sounds like an epic battle for humanity. Every morning, I sit down and put on Bear McCreary’s brilliant Battlestar soundtrack. While I sip my coffee and look through email, I let my subconscious drift back to the story I’ve been working on. As taiko drums thrum through my keyboard and my pulse races with the music, my fictional world forms around me, along with the characters that I’d left, most likely in a lurch, the day before.Bear McCreary scoring Caprica

Then I’m ready to write.

All day as I fiddle with dialogue or hit the soul-crushing backspace button, the albums shuffle and repeat, keeping me in the writing trance. The repetition helps me weave a more consistent and vivid world. Like the trick of using 3 different senses to bring a climatic scene alive for a reader, the music helps bring the book alive for me. And like the music I’m listening to, my dark tones and themes repeat again and again, shifting and morphing through the pages.

Books don’t have soundtracks, but authors sometimes do. Writers often make playlists for their fictional characters to listen to. Or, like me, have specific music that they listen to while working on a specific story. Music is such a direct pipeline to our emotions, sweeping us up and away, that I wonder how much of the music we listen to makes it into the pages. And I wonder if my characters are humming along.

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