The Motel Whore Sountrack

When I write something of novella/novel length I like to give it a soundtrack in my head. I think a lot of writers probably do this – the first I read of it was Andre Duza with Jesus Freaks. At the end of his book he listed the songs he would use to soundtrack his story. I always thought this was a cool idea. It stuck with me. Whenever I’m writing I always remain aware of the music I’m listening to at that particular time, or songs I already know that fit the theme, that lend to the atmosphere of the store the same way music does for visual media, for example the biker club in True Detective’s fourth episode, it has the Melvins’ ‘A History of Bad Men’ playing in the background. It fits. In David Lynch’s Wild At Heart, Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ is prominently featured. It fits.

It’s rare I’ll actually listen to music when I write. I find it too distracting. I might make an exception if I’ve just gotten a new album and I’m desperate to hear it (John Grant’s ‘Pale Green Ghosts’ was the last exception). I write in silence. I find I’m more productive that way. I listen to music when I plan, or now, writing this, I’m listening to a mix of the soundtrack to the 2012 Dredd movie that I found waaaaay back on YouTube. I don’t listen to music when I’m editing and I especially don’t listen to it when I’m proof-reading. Silence is best. No distractions.

Again, there are exceptions. There are always exceptions. The Motel Whore was originally written largely in the past tense, with parts one and parts five written in present. After the first read-through I decided that present tense worked best for the style of story this was. This necessitated an arduous line-by-line correction of past tense words to the present. Likewise, the two forthcoming tales in this very loose trilogy are to undergo the same revisions. Part two has been done – it was painful. I’m dreading part three. It is the longest in the trilogy. Anyway, performing a mundane task such as this allowed for music. While revising The Motel Whore I listened to ‘Visions’ by Grimes a lot. While revising the forthcoming novella I listened to ‘Walk Thee Invisible’ by Sean Wheeler and Zander Schloss. Listening to music numbed the pain of the task somewhat. It didn’t take it away completely, but it helped.

Where possible, I plan to provide an unofficial soundtrack to all of my novels and novellas. Naturally, with The Motel Whore being the first, here is where I start. It’s a short listing for a short tale.

Death Grips, Beware:

Fever Ray, Concrete Walls:

Death Grips, Deep Web:

William Control. Strangers:

Tom Waits, $29.00

There we go. Like I said, it’s just a small soundtrack. With the exception of Tom Waits at the end there, it’s all pretty electric. The music chosen needed to reflect the oppressive atmosphere that was hopefully engineered in the story, the feeling of hopelessness and despair.

I’m going to try to do this for all the future novels I publish. With luck readers will maybe discover some new favourites, or revisit some old ones. I’ve got a diverse taste in music. I’m sure I’ll be able to find one track to suit everybody at least once.

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