Music is one of the greatest emotional triggers; it can stimulate potent feelings, conjure vivid images, and evoke powerful memories. From birthday parties, to weddings, to funerals, music is a pivotal part of the monumental events in our lives. The entertainment industry has certainly capitalized on this simple fact. Soundtracks for movies have recently become just as popular as the movies themselves. Why? Because people want to relive the story over and over again and music provides that bridge.
The written word can also utilize music in the same way. Many times authors will write stories and deliberately include names of musicians or song titles into scenes of their books. Why would an author do this? Essentially it allows the reader to feel and understand what the characters are experiencing during a specific scene. This empathy helps the reader establish a much more personal relationship with the characters and keeps them alive in the reader’s mind long after the story has ended. But strangely enough, there are critics of this literary device. Sometimes people feel that using certain songs will “date” a novel and consequently make it less marketable.
Our novel, THE ONLY EXCEPTION, includes a plethora of musical references. Because music was so influential during our writing process, we felt compelled to share the inspiration behind our words.
Music took our book in directions we could never have imagined. Sometimes we would hear a song and an entire unplanned scene would play out in our minds. We soon discovered that music was the panacea for writer’s block; we could listen to a certain song and it would spirit us away to some unexpected place with our characters. Often times, a song would evoke exactly the right emotion for a specific scene. Tapping into that emotion, we were able to take our one-dimensional characters and mold them into believable, complex beings.
At times we were borderline obsessive with music. We created numerous playlists for our novel so that whenever we were away from our computers, we could still feel the emotional connection to our characters.
We are well aware of the potential risks of including the names of musical artists and song titles in our manuscript. However, we feel quite confident that our target audience will appreciate our musical references because they will provide an additional link between the fantasy world we’ve created and reality.
With music as our muse, we are excited to continue our writing journey. Who knows where the music may take us? Stay tuned to find out.
What are your thoughts about including musical references in writing? Please leave a comment expressing your opinion; we’d love to hear from you.
And some songs that inspired THE ONLY EXCEPTION: