I wrote a short story in college titled, Better To Pretend. To this day, I am not sure where the idea came from, but up until that point, everything I had actively written had been mostly fantasy based in a medieval type world. Regardless of where the idea came from, the story has resonated with me for years, trapped as it was in short form. I knew that it was a story that I had to write, and eventually expand. Earlier this year, I picked the piece up again, having not looked at it for a couple or years, and after rereading it, I decided it was time to tackle the expansion that the story needed.
I started writing, and before I knew it, I had taken a piece that was a few pages long and expanded it into more than a hundred, with much of the story left to tell. Characters developed into real people who I could relate to and understand and became entirely immersed in.
When I write, I ALWAYS listen to music. It started out as whatever fit my mood at the time – often instrumental with a lot of piano. And then something happened: the characters in this story developed their own soundtracks. In fact, music became something that they bonded over. I found myself listening to specific tracks over and over again, imagining what the character would be thinking as they listened. Music became an integral part of the story. I was okay with this, because I myself love music. Playlists that I developed on Pandora to accompany my writing led me to specific songs that would stop my writing mid-sentence so I could search them up on YouTube and really analyze what they meant to the story. Now I have a playlist on my iPod of over 50 songs that are completely relevant to Better to Pretend.
When I write, I imagine every piece of work having a soundtrack, just like a movie would have. I know what song would play during the end credits, that one song that encompasses so much of what the story means to me. For Better to Pretend, that song is The Home We Made Pt. II, by Crywolf. I have probably listened to it a hundred times at this point, and it still gives me goosebumps.
Many of the things I have written over the years were inspired at least in part by some piece of music I heard. Music is a powerful tool, and for me one of the biggest sources of inspiration. I am always listening and waiting for something to spark an image in my imagination. It is a great adventure.
Check out Crywolf’s The Home We Made Pt. II featuring Dylan Owen below.