Character Songs

One thing that always seems “magical” to me is when I hear a song (usually on the radio, but it’s also happened in a store) with a message, sound or single line that perfectly encapsulates a personality, action beat or relationship.

I initially noticed this when I was working on my first novel, and heard a line from “For the Longest Time” by Billy Joel:

And the greatest miracle of all
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn’t happened for the longest time

It was the heart of the first part of the novel and their interaction.

So here are some highlights for my current work (don’t read anything into the videos– I never saw them before I did a search for the song itself. YouTube is an *awesome* substitute for iTunes– I just don’t watch while I’m listening if it’s for the sound, like here).

I guess I’m more auditory than visual, because if I’m going to be imagining for a while, it’s with music rather than images. I think these examples hint at the individual conflicts of interest that arise in my novel.

Includes the lines,

“…I feel so small and bewildered…
Tell me that you love me, tell me that you want me
Even if I’m not all you thought I would be.
Tell me that … you’ll catch me when I fall.”

Cecilia is the bride arranged for the crown prince Torbjorn, and I love this sweet wistful song for her. Torb doesn’t have a song of his own yet, but (jokingly) I’ve assigned him “I knew I loved you before I met you,” as his relationship song, because he’s that kind of guy— one who makes up his mind and that’s the way it is.

5 thoughts on “Character Songs

  1. Thanks so much for posting this . . . I’m always interested to see the process other writers go through in getting inspiration or finding ways of deepening characterization. As soon as I get a chance, I’m going to listen to all of these songs!

    Music plays a huge role in Stand-In Groom . . . and it led me, after nearly thirty years of bouncing from music genre to music genre, to discovering the kind of music that I really love and my favorite singer of all time, Dean Martin.

    It never ceases to amaze me how music can have such an impact on our writing!

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