Friday, December 4, 2015

On Names and Playlists.

A little known secret about me is that while "Pickup" is definitely my real, legal name, "Renee" is not. This all came to light when I went to pay for my dinner a couple Boucher Cons ago and all was revealed when I had to pass my credit card across the table. Renee is my middle name, and I've used it since I was twelve years old, but ever since that fateful dinner, Joe Clifford has used every opportunity available to remind me that my name is, in fact, Brandi.

Most recently he posted on my Facebook wall, "Every novel gets a setlist. Working on the new one, and this gem made the cut..."

I know a lot of writers need white noise or instrumental music to concentrate and get their ideas down, but I've always listened to music while I write. It's become almost necessary since I had a child and the ability to shut out noise with a pair of earbuds is the only thing keeping me writing. 

Usually I set the mood by creating a Pandora station, the idea being I will have a steady stream of unfamiliar music that will block the noise, but not distract me by being too awesome to ignore. The project I'm currently working on has called for a different approach. This project calls for hot sex, bad bitches, boozing, and stealing shit. So I went hog-wild on a playlist. I even learned how to use Spotify so I could grab some songs I don't think I'll listen to much outside this project, and to be able to share it with all you fine folks at DSD.

The playlist is weirdly eclectic, but I'm trying to meld two fairly strict genres (crime fiction and erotica) into something fun, sexy, and exciting. The common themes are drinking and substance abuse, hot sex, and, bad women. Makes for a crazy playlist, but hopefully a good story full of cracking safes, hot sex, and of course, things that go terribly, horribly awry.

I'm actually really enjoying working with a playlist. It's especially handy when I'm doing something mindless like cleaning the kitchen or driving to the grocery store, and I want to use that time to keep my head in the game. Some of the songs already work like Pavlovian cues, switching the part of my brain that's responsible for the story into action. The quick flips from Hank Jr to MIA and back to Sleater-Kinney also help to keep me from focusing on a sexy mood when people are shooting at each other, and not blaring gangsta rap when people are screwing. It's a good time. Plus, I have more excuses to listen to Elle King, who I've fallen desperately in love with.

It will be interesting to see how the finished story measures up against this playlist. The working title has already changed three times, so who knows what's in store.

1 comment:

Dana King said...

I used to listen to music when I was rafting, but I can't anymore. I need quiet all the time when I'm writing for the past several years. This makes me an outlier, but I wonder if it has something to do with having been a musician, and the music tends to pull my attention away from the task at hand. That and I depend a lot on voice in my writing, and I need to hear it unobscured as much as possible.