7 March 2001
I'm still trying to find the right soundtrack for writing this book. The last two were written to Tori Amos' "Little Earthquakes," mostly because the mixture of the emotions came out right (skipping "Me and a Gun," a song I literally cannot listen to -- to which I literally cannot listen, right, Tim?). Also, occasionally a line would jump out and prove itself totally appropriate for the situation -- "If you need me, me and Neil'll be hangin' out with the Dream King" actually provided a plot point.
But my first two were YA fantasies featuring an extra world; this third one is grown-up SF with a focus on freedom and free will, or at least the maintenance of the illusion thereof. (The only way I will get embroiled in a debate of free will is: is it important for us to behave as though free will existed?) Eh, forget that theme stuff. It's a book about robots. Robots robots robots. And some genetic engineering. Mostly robots, though. And some of the characters are in a band, which you would think would help with picking a soundtrack. Except that I don't really like some of their taste, and the ones I do like are specific songs scattered across a dozen albums. Still worse, most of the songs that are in my head, in bits and pieces, don't actually exist; they're the ones my characters wrote and performed. And they don't exist whole (my characters are much better songwriters than I am, as well as being much more familiar with how to note the capabilities of their instruments), so I can't just write them down.
(A side note: I am invariably disappointed when an author provides the music or lyrics of a character who is supposed to be anything but an amateur. Most fiction writers are not lyricists or musicians for a reason. A few have the chops in poetry to pull that part off -- but not nearly as many as think they do. If you've just spent a book and a half telling me how this character is the most talented musician of her generation on the whole planet, please do not spoil it by having her sing a song I could have written myself. I am quite happy not to be the best musician of my generation on the whole planet. I would feel sorry for the planet if I was. Go ahead and let us imagine it. It'll be much better that way.)
Hmmm. I'm noticing that I have a lot of musician characters. Maybe it's that I miss my piano. I have a lot of stories set in the winter as well -- not just winter, but mean winter, extreme winter, don't expose your skin winter. At one point this winter, I found that I was writing stories set in St. Petersburg, Michigan, Minnesota, and some unspecified area of New England. All with snow on the ground, at the very least; usually with snow and ice coming down pretty heavily. I missed winter, when it was still supposed to be winter here. I'm not sure that accounts for the musicians, though; I mean, I'm not sure a similar phenomenon accounts for the musicians. I'm pretty sure that missing snow doesn't account for having musician characters.
So anyway. The soundtrack. I don't know. Right now I'm just throwing in albums I like in hopes that one of them will prove to be "it." This morning I've eliminated Counting Crows' "This Desert Life." And it wasn't even the fault of that wretched "Hanginaround." (I do not want Adam Duritz to sound happy. I don't care if the man is happy. It's just that when I listen to a Counting Crows album, I want to have serious doubts about whether he made it out of the recording studio without hanging himself. But if Brian Wilson could make the Beach Boys albums in his mental state, I have no theoretical problem with Adam Duritz being the happiest man in the world. I just don't want him to sound like it.) That was a kind of nasty aside. I think that's my signal that I need to get back to work.
And the main page.
Or even send me email.