Wiley Wednesday: Music and Editing

Getting Back In the Mood

I’ve been working on editing my first book, which comes out later this year from Samhain Publishing. I wrote it with my coauthor, Rachel Wilder. While we work together extensively, when I’m at my keyboard working on edits it’s usually by myself. Since we wrote Burning Bright last year, we’ve developed two new series in very different universes, as well as wrote more material in the Burning Bright universe but with other characters. So how do I recapture the mood I was in when first writing Burning Bright?

One of the ways, obviously, is to re-read the manuscript. But since the first draft was 87,000 words, that’s not the fastest method. Add to that the fact that we’re required to do multiple content edits (three in this case, since it was our first time with this editor), re-reading the manuscript doesn’t help me capture the mood I need so that I know what to cut from the manuscript.

To solve that problem, I use music. I develop specific playlists for novels and series, targeted to the specific characters and the world we’ve created. While I sometimes use the music my husband and I own in our library, I find Pandora online radio to be exceedingly valuable because it will develop “stations” based on artists or songs, and then give back songs that are related to it – but that I may not (and quite probably don’t) have in my library.

Which makes it like a stranger’s library.

In other words, it is like my character is a separate person from me, and I’m listening to their music choices. I don’t have to make them up, because Pandora does it for me.

How do you do this? Visit the Pandora website. You can either set up a free account (which is all I have at the moment), or you can subscribe to Pandora One for $36 USD a year. If you decide to use the free version, you can listen, with ads, for 40 hours a month. When you hit about 35 hours, it will tell you that you’re approaching the limit and offer to upgrade you, or tell you that your free time is over until the next month begins.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe the service works outside the U.S. (a fellow writer in Canada said she’s not able to access it), because of the record company’s strict licensing requirements. (Too strict, in my opinion.) But if you are in the states, you can sign up and develop stations based on particular artists or songs – and their mix is VERY eclectic. It’s not just mainstream music.

If you don’t have access to Pandora, then iTunes Genius does the same thing, using similar technology. It will use music you already own, or suggest stuff to buy, which is why I don’t use it (I don’t have extra music money in my budget for this, which is why I like the free Pandora service).

Are there other music services out there that you like? Other ways you use music in your writing? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear!

3 Replies to “Wiley Wednesday: Music and Editing”

  1. What a lovely idea using Pandora to help recapture the mood for a story.
    I have friends at work that use it so they don't hear the constant repeat of popular songs on the commercial radio stations. They love it.
    I think I'll have to try it myself.

  2. I'm glad you guys found it useful. I really enjoy Pandora. I wish it had fewer ads, but if you do the annual subscription you get NO ads – which is, all things considered, a pretty great deal. But even if you use the free version, like I do, you get access to lots of really awesome music.

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