Let’s Talk with Karla Brandenburg

My Life is a Musical
by Karla Brandenburg

When I tell someone about the “Song Affliction” illness in my family, I’m amazed at how many other people suffer from this same sickness. You know, that feeling when someone says something and the first thing that comes to mind is a song snippet and you break out into song? One of my girlfriends and I use song titles as subject lines in our emails.

Recently, my family discovered a board game that capitalizes on people with this malady, and it was surprising how, when requested to come up with a song on demand, it becomes much harder!

This affliction comes in handy during the writing process. Many authors talk about playlists that go with their books, songs that put them in a particular character’s mindset. I don’t necessarily have a playlist, but often a song will resonate with me while I’m writing. When that happens, I put it on the book’s Pinterest board so I can refer back to it if I get stuck with a character. For me, it’s more a theme song than a playlist. Some of the songs that played in my head while I was writing? “Even in the Quietest Moments” (Supertramp) for Mist on the Meadow. “Touched by the Sun” (Carly Simon) – used this one as a title. “Good to be Alive” (Andy Grammer) for Cookie Therapy.

For a lot of us, music is a soundtrack to our lives. A song can trigger memories, both happy and sad. Do you associate a song with your first kiss? Maybe a song cheered you out of a bad mood. Or a song might remind you of a loved one who is no longer with us. When I’m overstressed, I pull up Handel’s Water Music on my playlist. No lyrics, just bouncy, happy music that reaches inside and distracts me from the stress.

Do you have go-to music that helps to redirect your mood? Or a song that takes you immediately back to a moment in time?

I’d also like to share with you the cover for my upcoming new release! If you’d like to see what songs played in my head while I was writing, you can visit my “The Mirror” Pinterest board https://www.pinterest.com/klblang/epitaph-3-the-mirror/

 

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Comments

  1. I like the idea of music for each character. There are times when you sit in a wallow and wonder WWMCD? (what would my character do) A musical playlist or theme song would invariably hold a go to mindset.

    • Yes, I’ve heard that at the writer’s conferences I’ve attended. They say if you do that, when you have to move forward with the next book before you get your edits on the last book, the playlist will immediately take you back into the proper mindset of the proper characters.

  2. I have a disc jockey in my head at all times, ready to pull up a lyric or whistle a tune based on whatever connection said disc jockey makes. Sometimes it’s obvious (the sun comes out after a rain and “Here Comes the Sun” queues up. Sometimes, not.

    I don’t write with music on, unless I need white noise to block out whatever is happening around me. Then I choose nature sounds, new age, or Gregorian Chant.

  3. I haven’t used my playlists recently, but I had music for mood. If you listen often enough, it becomes background. Also my playlist ran for 1 hour, so I knew I’d worked an hour when it finished, and could take a break. (One warning — you can NOT type to Scott Joplin)

    • LOL – I cannot imagine trying to write to Scott Joplin, although I remember seeing “syncopated typists” where they’d have a roomful of typists typing in time to music.

  4. tinawhittle says:

    As I write, I plot and plan to elaborate playlists — one for each book, two ongoing sets for each main characters — but I have to write in absolute silence (not even the sounds of a coffee shops, alas). I have not one whit of musical talent, though my daughter is an excellent singer and is learning guitar (as is my husband), so I love listening to them practice.

  5. I don’t have the musical gene. My husband and son play the guitar and can sing, but not me. Silence is the music I prefer when writing, thinking, or reading. As for background music, Mozart is my composer of choice.