Anyone ever have an epiphany on a treadmill? Just me? Ok...
I know a lot of writers make playlists, whether it's for your book, a character, or just to get in the mood to write. You may seek out songs to put on these lists, or you may just be listening to a song and realize that it fits your book. The main motivation for a playlist is to inspire, obviously, but have you ever considered that it could also help you figure things out?
Ever since I started rethinking the last third of my book, I knew a lot of things had to change. I've come up with at least one scene that makes things completely different from the last draft I wrote. What I've really been struggling with is what scenes from the old draft get to stay. One in particular is a scene in which my characters have a huge fight. I've gone back and forth about whether or not to keep any of this scene, wondering if it's necessary with the new way I've been imagining things. I was pretty much settled on completely cutting the scene, even though there were quite a few moments in it that I was heartbroken about parting with.
That is, until I went to the gym the other day. I decided to listen to my book playlist while on the treadmill to see if I could get some inspiration. I hadn't actually listened to the whole thing in quite some time, so I thought it was a good idea. Until one particular song started to play, and I realized that song was only on there because of the scene I was most likely going to cut.
My first thought was "oh noooooooooo!" Did I have to change my playlist? Or was I wrong to cut this scene? I didn't think that one song should really influence what needs to happen in a story, but it did make me stop and think. What did I really want to do with this scene? I've known since I first thought about it that I still wanted to keep it, and the song just seemed to reinforce that idea.
I'm still not 100% sure on what to do. I know if I keep it, it has to drastically change. Mostly I just want to find a way to keep all of the good lines. What actually starts the fight will probably change. I don't know where in the sequence of events this fight will go anymore. I'm considering changing the end of the scene just because I'm not sure if I should have used a particular word (let's just call it the "p-word") even though having one character use it was the sort of brutal effect I was going for. I don't know what I could replace it with the get the same effect. So like the scene itself, I'm on the fence about it. It's a lot to figure out, but I'm taking it one step at a time.
When it comes to your playlist, let it influence you in whatever way ends up working for the story. Maybe you'll get a new idea, maybe it'll reinforce an old one. Really think about why you chose these songs and how that reflects the way you see your story. But most importantly, don't ignore it like I did. You made it for a reason, so listen to it!
How do you use your playlist to inspire you? Have you ever been unsure whether to cut a scene? What helped you make the decision?