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I’ve written on the blog a couple of times about writing to music, and the important role that music plays in my writing.  I don’t think I’ve talked about the role it plays in editing (though if I have, I’m just going to repeat myself.  It’s probably galloping senility, give me a Hob Nob and I’ll shut up…)

During the writing of a book I tend to gather the soundtrack.  Here and there, a song at a time, and I put them all together in a playlist and jiggle it about into roughly chronological order, until I have a sequential soundtrack.  This can take the entire span of writing the book.  Then I start editing, and I play it over and over again while I’m editing, until everyone in the house is sick to death of it.  I find that the themes and mood of the music contribute a lot to the atmosphere of the book, and help me get in the right head space for polishing it.

For example, Art of Forgetting was quite an intense, angry book, and Rhodri spent quite a lot of it being intense and angry (or stroppy and teenaged), at least for the first half.  So the first half of the soundtrack tends to be more rocky and shouty (Queens of the Stone Age, Therapy?, Audioslave.)  By the later stages of the book, where he’s found some harmony and if fighting to defend it, the music calms down a little and becomes quieter, but more sombre (Spiritualised, Tindersticks).

Spark and Carousel, as a novel, has a different feel.  It’s more upbeat, more of a romp.  It’s also set in a city, so it hasn’t lent itself to big, sprawling songs that invoke big sprawling landscapes.  It’s tighter, more scratchy.  The songs are shorter and the beats are more choppy.  It’s a reggae/punk book, where AOF was a rock book 😉

I’m going to post the track listing and a couple of videos so you can seek the songs out for yourself and download them for your listening pleasure while you think of me hunched over a sweaty keyboard, taking out commas and putting them back in.  I might do another post on editing later in the week, depending on how well it’s going.



Stars Burn Out – Mary Lou Lord

Keep on Running – Spencer Davis Group

Every Beat of the Heart – The Railway Children

Your Love Alone is Not Enough – Manic Street Preachers

I Follow Rivers – Lykke Li

Living For the City – Stevie Wonder

Love My Name – Young Knives

Every Little Thing She does is Magic – The Police

Storm – Django Django

Tina Toledo’s Street Walkin’ Blues – Ryan Adams

This Fire – Franz Ferdinand

The Racing Rats – Editors

White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes

Underwear – Pulp

Guns of Brixton – The Clash

I Hear Noises – Tegan and Sara

Farewell to the Fairground – White Lies

Might be Stars – Wannadies.


Edited to add – Lou Morgan (author of the forthcoming “Blood and Feathers” also, fortuitously, has a post over at The Qwillery talking about novel soundtracks : http://qwillery.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/guest-blog-by-lou-morgan-sound-fury.html?showComment=1341848223190#c6538346000442776429