Friday, May 19, 2006

If music be the food of love... I'm a picky eater.

So, as Eva says, I have the room, and I have the lucky mug. But as far as this book goes there's still something missing. My word count has crept up (11 000, Eva!) but it feels like filling a swimming pool with a teaspoon. I know the characters. (I'm a bit worried about them because neither of them is what you could call 'nice'. Let's just say they have a lot of baggage. It's Louis Vuitton baggage admittedly, but it's cumbersome nonetheless.) I'm very excited about the plot, but it's just not flowing. So what's missing?


I don't want to come over all Gypsy Rose Lee about this writing malarkey, endlessly coming up with more superstitions and talismans (talismen?). At the end of the day, as the awe-inspiringly prolific and excessively lovely Penny Jordan says, it all comes down to hard work and long hours (and a lucky mug, as previously established). But there's no doubt that a bit of music helps the process along no end.

The only problem is it has to be the right music-- and that means the right music for the characters and mood of the book, not particularly for me. The last book was set in Florence and Venice, had a dark-haired, 34-year old, deep-thinking hero, and as I wrote it I played Il Divo CDs in an endless loop. Between you and me, I won't be picking any of their tracks if I ever get asked onto Desert Island Discs, but something about the combination of good-looking men in dinner jackets and lots of Italian really hit the spot.

For this one, I'm at a loss. The characters are younger, naughtier, hipper (is that a word?), and the setting is the louche glamour of the Cote d'Azure in the height of summer. I need something that captures that lazy, sexy heat. Have tried classical, but that isn't working. Have done Sinatra with limited success. James Blunt (eeewww, not raw enough). Oasis (too raw, and too rooted in rainy Manchester). In desperation I've ordered a Bryan Ferry CD from Amazon which I remember very fondly from about 1985. OK, so my heroine would have been a tiny baby back then and would no doubt think Slave to Love is deeply sad and middle-aged, but she knows nothing. I myself have high hopes that it might just evoke the necessary note of uber-cool sexiness.

(Although there is always the risk that it might just take me right back to the age of 15, and I'll sit at my desk doodling love hearts, eating Kola Kubes and staring out of the window daydreaming until my mum comes along and grounds me until I've finished Chapter 3. Which isn't actually a bad idea... )

If anyone has any more suggestions for suitably lust-inducing music please let me know! And what does everyone else listen to as they write?

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Blogger Amanda Ashby said...

The most lust enducing music I know of is Meatloaf. He might not be much on the pretty side, but boy do those songs do the business!

12:10 pm  
Blogger India said...

Thanks for the tip-off Amanda! Have to confess I bought (very surreptitiously, whilst wearing a false nose and glasses) a 3 CD compilation entitled Power Ballads, and there's a couple of Meatloaf ones on there that do it for me. On the downside there's also 'Nights in White Satin' and some Phil Collins. Oh well.

12:53 pm  
Blogger Stacy Dawn said...

I'm finding lately that I write better with the radio on. What does this have to do with your blog? Not much I guess except I've tried to do the compilation CD thing for my characters and it just doesn't work for me. But when I have the radio on, one good song that I love puts me in a funky mood and I write more...yeah, I know, I'm an odd duck.

Just thinking of this and you probably haven't even heard of him but early Alphie Zappacosta might do the trick. Songs like Runaround, Passion and We Should be Lovers are kinda fun and naughty at the same time. (The CD is called Over 60 Minutes with Zappacosta)

2:14 pm  
Blogger India said...

Don't think the radio would work for me, stacy. I get too wound up by the phone-ins and annoying presenter 'yoof-speak'. Except for on radio 4, of course, but I think one Woman's Hour article on bikini-waxing or whatever would have the opposite of the desired effect.

But Over 60 Minutes with Zappacosta sounds VERY interesting... Shall certainly be checking him out. Thanks!!

2:59 pm  
Blogger Annie said...

But, my dear, you simply MUST listen to the sexaphone (preferably played by Herb Alpert). The name speaks for itself, of course (sexaphone not Herb Alpert - that sounds more like something you'd find in the garden). Now, where was I? Oh yes, in my view, the sexaphone (commonly called the 'sAx' for some unknown reason) supplies the laziest, sexiest musical sound around. You won't need words - believe me - well, not unless you're writing a book that is, then, of course, words might come in handy -lots of 'em preferably.

Now forgive me, I must leave you, I need a cold shower and a hot man - though not necessarilly in that order, and maybe even simultaneously. Play on Herby...

6:05 pm  
Blogger India said...

Oohh, really? Can see I shall have to lash out more credit card to check out this theory. Can a man whose name sounds like a brand of museli really come up with the goods?

(Dry yourself off, put your tongue back in your mouth and listen to me Annie!)

12:08 pm  
Blogger Stacy Dawn said...


6:27 pm  

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