Striking The Right Chord

When the wonderful folks at the Writer’s Retreat asked if I would like to do a guest blog here, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been a reader for a little while now and no matter which of them posts, or on what subject, I always come away with something that makes me think or stirs my imagination. I hope to continue this.

I am P.M.Rousseau, and I write in a variety of genres. Paranormal is my favorite, followed closely by science fiction, horror, and historical. That said, I am in the homestretch of completing the first draft of a contemporary novel that includes none of the above. Such is life, and those of us who are storytellers will understand when I say that we write the story that is in us waiting to get out. Some stories are pushier than others, and those necessarily get the most attention at any given point.

This one was very insistent and has taken up much of my time this year. It’s been very opinionated on what should happen within it, and what the characters are like. As for opinionated, the characters have been even more so. They know exactly who they are, what they want, and what they intend to do. My only hope is to type fast enough to keep up with them.

One area where their preferences have been the most pronounced is music. Each of them has distinct musical tastes and can get persnickety when I try to change their soundtrack. When I give in and cooperate, however, they will sing the story to me very willingly. Let me give you an idea. Here’s the list of current characters and what they like:

Jake: Stevie Nicks
Gabe: Southern rock all the way
Jackson: Trisha Yearwood
Lila: Sting
Austin: Clint Black, Garth Brooks
Lincoln: George Strait

See what I mean? Talk about a varied bunch! What’s even stranger is that the couple in this story apparently really likes 80’s funk such as Zapp & Roger, Shalamar, and Rick’s James’ slow stuff for sex scenes. So yes, my play list is a kaleidoscopic study in contrasts. Whatever it is, it gets the job done.

This got me thinking, however. I am as much a creature of musical moods as my characters. I bet you are too. How often do we put on something lively when cleaning, something relaxing when cooking, something more inspiring when a tough jobs needs doing? More often than not, I’m betting. A good beat can make any task go faster and seem like less work. When that endeavor is something creative, it seems to work even better. It stirs the imagination, moves it beyond the ordinary, allowing us to see more than we might otherwise see. It stretches, energizes and expands us. It takes us places we might not otherwise go.

I firmly believe that stretching one creative muscle helps strengthen the rest. My characters know this. Back in my professional dancing days, I knew this too. I’m glad to get back to it, to see the words and the ideas flow. Happy listening!

3 Replies to “Striking The Right Chord”

  1. Thank you for sharing this insightful message! Music is a huge part of my mental health. 🙂 I've got an inner ear headphone that lets me listen discretely in one ear at the day job. Fortunately, none of my coworkers seem to mind a lack of music in the office and I can choose whatever suits my mood, or even study Japanese. It's a real pleasure getting to know you. I'm fascinated by the fact you danced professionally and hearing about your characters is just one more neat way to meet you! You're an inspiration, Peach.

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