In order to create a realistic sense of emotion in my writing, I have had to find a way of harnessing specific emotions that I may not have personally experienced for weeks. In my real life I may be feeling hopeful and happy, but when I sit down at my computer, I might need to remember despair, because that’s what my character is feeling. I’ve found that music is the best way to evoke the emotions I need. Here is a sample of the songs I listened to obsessively while writing If He had Been with Me.
Wise Up- Aimee Mann
With a story like If He had Been with Me, I’m going to have more than one song about regret on my play list, but this song is definitely the most powerful. Mann also manages to express the two emotions that often accompany regret, shame and frustration.
Us- Regina Spektor
This song is about sharing a kind of bond with another person where it is you two against the world, against the monsters of uncertainty and time. I also find Spektor’s unusual imagery inspiring.
Colorblind- Counting Crows
Have you ever wanted something so much that you can’t even admit how much you want it? In your mind you try minimizing the longing for your own protection, you tell yourself that you’ll be fine without it and ignore the ache in your stomach. To me, this song captures the moment right before you break down and let yourself feel the truth.
Emotional Champ- New Buffalo
Secretly, I pretend that New Buffalo wrote and released this song just for me, so that I could write Chapters 2, 69, 71, 73, and 76.
Glass Vase Cello Case- Tattle Tale
Do you know that dizzy, breathless feeling of kissing someone, and you just can’t believe that they’re kissing you back? I hope you do. If you’ve not experienced that yet, this song will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.