The Song That Helped My Novel

Music has always featured in one way or another in my fiction writing, though mostly it has been in an inspirational guise. I don’t play music while I’m writing, but songs that I’ve heard have, at times, fueled everything from scenes to entire stories. To this day there are a couple of songs that I can never listen without thinking of the story they inspired me to write years ago.

As I approach a much-needed break from nursing school in a couple of weeks, I find myself desperate to start the rewrite of my novel, which I started for NaNoWriMo and finished last December. When I say I’m desperate, I mean it. I need to get that story done with, get those characters out of my head and into the page once and for all. Why? Because they are living, breathing people caught in stasis and they take over my thoughts and my emotions. And it gets very tiring feeling other people’s emotions on top of your own.[ref]This is where non-writers look at me kinda funny and think I’m loosing my marbles, while writers nod in full understanding.[/ref]

Thing is, one of the key aspects I know I need to strengthen during my rewrite has been stymieing me for a while now. I know what the end result I want is, but I also know I need to better portray it in the novel for some of the emotional punches to really hurt. I’ve been struggling with the nature of the relationship at the center of this issue and I just couldn’t quite see how I’d work that problem out.

Enter a new song into my jukebox.

I heard this song by Gotye just last week for the first time, and today my classmate played it in her car while she gave me a ride. The words snuck into my head unknowingly. When I got home I found that I was humming it absentmindedly… And that something in the lyrics had suddenly made things click in regards to the problem I was having with my novel! I still don’t know what it was: the music, the melody, parts of the lyrics, the emotion conveyed. Something. Whatever it was, I have now taken notes that will help me during my rewrite and finally allow me to bring my novel to completion.

I absolutely love it when a song does this to me.


  1. “This is where non-writers look at me kinda funny and think Iā€™m loosing my marbles, while writers nod in full understanding”

    Well I think you are sort of nuts but it doesn’t have to do with that at all. As a non-writer I still understand you entirely. I’ve been trying to write down (unsuccessfully so far) the stories of the characters we created 21 years ago.

    For some reason those fuckers still hold a special place in my heart. For now I’ll have to settle by naming my Skyrim & Amalur characters after them and wait until the day I can finally tell the epic tale of the great dinosaur meat trading company…


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