Friday, August 30, 2013

Playlists: Whose Head is This Anyway

Ah, the playlist question. What's next? A rummage through the Word Whore's unmentionables drawer? Trust me when I say you don't want that. Perhaps playlists are a better topic of conversation, after all.

Of course I have playlists. Because I choose to write in public places, an excellent pair of stereo ear buds are necessary to ensure focus. And an artificial sense of isolation. The sound track little matters except in that it acts as a kind of containment system for my normally disorganized, scattered thought processes. For me, music is the ritual cue that says, "Everyone out of the brain except for the following characters!"

I won't bore you with my playlists, especially since they've been addressed in posts past. We already know that I can't have other people's words competing with my words and that I favor the creepy.

No, dear bordello visitor, I have a question for YOU: If you use playlists, are they for you, the writer? Or for your characters? I'll confess. Mine are a mix of both.

A quick internet search on 'music alters mood' will provide you with study after study proving the point. Several of the studies also indicate that mood alters perception. What you perceive is influenced by how your feel. If music can manipulate your emotions, it can therefore indirectly manipulate what you perceive. Useful stuff for a writer, I think, because the music you choose can impact not just the feeling a scene as you write it - it has the potential to influence how you write what you write.

Having learned some of this, it occurred to me to wonder if I could use music to put me inside my protagonist's head by creating a playlist - not for me - but for her. The experiment is still underway, thus I solicit your results. Who are your playlists for? Do you use your music to get into your characters' heads and stories??

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