Monday, May 16, 2011

Brits to the Rescue!

by Maureen O. Betita
A funny thing happened as I started to write the third book in my Kraken’s Caribbean series, The Pirate Circus. I began it without any particular music working to get me into the groove. I tried my Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks but with that playing, I couldn’t find my present H/H voices. I slogged on, doing what I could with no special music selected.
I’d write to whatever Starbucks was broadcasting. But it wasn’t working terribly well. (Let’s face it, on any given day the Starbucks soundtrack can be schizophrenic at the best. I once heard Frank Sinatra then Nina Simone, followed by Bootsy Collin which segued to Toad the Wet Sprocket and move on with Bob Marley.)
What is a writer supposed to do with that?
A friend suggested the soundtrack to Cutthroat Island and I was pretty excited! And it did the trick to get me back on track. Just enough pirate vibe to shift me away from fixating on “Sinnerman” and flirting with putting a character into dreadlocks. (Though the soundtrack from the 1999 Thomas Crowne Affair is a fabulous thing to write by! Especially “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone.)
But it wasn’t really inspiring me. And the words were proving elusive. Then the book sold and I knew I better get my ass in gear. I now had a deadline. I couldn’t afford to let the story drift but needed to strap on the outboard and get going!
I thought, “Well, I need something without words.” I plugged my ear buds into my iPodnano and scrolled through my music.
“Hmmm, the Best of Acoustic JethroTull…well, that might work.” I selected it and sat down, hands to keyboard. The music started and then Ian’s voice wove through my head. Ooops. Acoustic didn’t mean no vocals. Where was my brain?
But wait…this was working… “Life’s a Love Song” filled my head.
I let it play and my story began to unwind. I wasn’t really hearing the words, but the playful, rough voice of Ian Anderson while the changing time signatures that is characteristic of JethroTull managed to break the anchor chain.

So, I’m not up to 25k in four days and moving along nicely, thank you! I expect by the time this blog posts to be more than twice that word count and near the finish. (Then I get to dive into revision, and who knows what might work for that! I have a feeling JT will still do the trick. Maybe the classical version ofTull the London Philharmonic recorded...)
As with all things, I recommend that you be open to what music might work for what you’re writing. I certainly didn’t expect my JethroTull collection to fill my sails with great gusts of inspiration. And it isn’t any particular album that is working. I have the iPod on shuffle and from the acoustic, to Ian’s solo works, to Aqualung and Locomotive Breath…they are all working!
Ah, but when he sings about the sea…or that flute rises… My heart soars and it totally rocks!

Just found out they’ll be playing next month not far from me… *happy dance!*
Note to everyone! I am holding a very exciting contest on my personal blog and on FB… Help me find the missing kraken at Yes, I am accepting entries here and any site I blog on during the entire month and on my author FB page,!/pages/Maureen-O-Betita-Author/155907664465540

I’ve got great prizes, check them out!


Maureen said...

Sweet! Val knows how to embed videos! I need to find out how to do that! ;-)

Amanda Gray said...

Wow, Maureen, after hearing the story I may owe my friend an apology! You see I thought she was picking on me. I just received a phone call from her , she was at Starbucks and claims to have seen the Kraken serving as barista. She said he was working window , counter , grinding, steaming, and blending ...She said when she spoke to the manager he said why hire 5 employees when 1 Kraken does the job better and will work for fish. If I get " crackin" I may be able to get over there and catch him.

Maureen said...

;-) Amanda...that cephalopod sure gets around! Now I need to head to Starbucks and see how he's doing. Maybe I can catch him there and see him return to his modeling duties! sure to grip your cup securely...slime you know!

Amanda Gray said...

Lol good luck!! He seems to be having fun

JM said...

You brought back a lot of memories today, Maureen. Years ago, I had a fantstic art teacher who loved JT. Played him in class all the time. Said his sound encouraged creativity. So, there you go. If Mr Seiler said it it has to be true.
No Amanda. I don't think that was the Kracken. I saw him on the news down in Louisiana filling sand bags and single- well- multi-handedly changing the course of the mighty mississippi. Go Kracken!!!

Maureen said...

Thanks, JM! I think it's the snycopated time signatures...just sort of dances the brain into stepping sideways!

I'm beginning to think the Kraken may have found a cloning machine and this is why he's been seen so many places! ;-)

kathleen said...

I'm glad you found inspiration. You've helped me, too! I've been working on my next without music. Now I know what's missing. I have three chapters and the rest in my head. I need a great soundtrack to lead the way.

Great songs!

Maureen said... really can help out! And just keep searching for the right music...and be willing to shift to another bit of music if the need arises.

Barbara Elsborg said...

I wish I could work to music but it distracts me rather than helps. I'm so easy distracted I daren't even --ooops I need to dust my laptop screen, and I could do with a coffee and darn it, now I'm up the dog wants to go out..... I'll listen to music while I walk instead!!!

Maureen said...

Barbara - I can be that way in some situations...and even writing. When things aren't going well...I'll suddenly find myself watching floating dust bits...