When I was writing The Keys of Death, here’s something that really helped me: a playlist.
Why? Because music is emotionally evocative, and when combined with lyrics that told the story of a character’s heart or fit the mood I was trying to convey, the writing went more smoothly and I was able to maintain the emotional through-line of the book. My Keys of Death playlist included:
- the classic Andy Williams rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (to get me into the yuletide spirit, since the events of the book occur at Christmastime, and it was summer when I did much of the initial draft)
- instrumental Irish music (reels and jigs) by Altan, plus “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “October” by U2 (to make me feel like a rebellious northern Irish youth caught between happy-go-lucky “Irishness” and the anger of The Troubles)
- the hymns “You Raise Me Up” and “Be Still My Soul” (to express the spiritual yearning and anguish of the main characters)
Four songs in particular, though, I returned to over and over again, because each one matched up perfectly with one of the characters.
So I thought I’d share: on March 22 I will put all the members of my Reader List into a virtual hat, stir them around (virtually), and draw two lucky winners to receive these four songs from the Keys of Death playlist!! If you’re not already a member, sign up by midnight (CST) on March 22! I’ll notify the two winners by email and then send the songs to your email address via iTunes.
And now a brief aside as I rant about one of my pet peeves: I will give you the songs. I will not “gift” you the songs, because gift is a noun, not a verb. This verbing of nouns, and vice versa, drives me batty. For example: I did not “author” The Keys of Death. I wrote it, and I am its author. If you say a person is “gifted,” are you trying to say that the person possesses rare personal qualities or talents, or that he has just been consigned to a life of indentured servitude? Another example: you may invite me to things, or you may send me an invitation, but please, please, puh-lease don’t send me an “invite.” Or worse, “gift” me an “invite.” Why do people do this? Why do people say, “This assertion I’m trying to make is evidenced by the following facts.” Excuse me: “evidenced?” Since when is evidence a verb? Do you mean that your assertion is “proven by the following facts?” How about this one: “Donald Trump guested The Late Late Late Show.” You mean “Donald Trump served as guest host for The Late Late Late Show?” Or “Donald Trump substituted for the regular host of The Late Late Late Show?” Argh!
If you are okay with this crazed
use abuse of the English language, please visit Grammar Girl and get your head right. Sheesh.
Where was I?
Oh, yes. My four favorite songs on the playlist are:
As evidence of my generosity, I invite you to join my Reader List by clicking this link and filling out the form. To two lucky winners, I will give a gift of the four songs from the Keys of Death playlist.
When you’re done, come back and leave a comment if you can guess which song applies to which character in The Keys of Death!