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Story Songs

My story ideas are always inspired by songs. My soon-to-be published debut novel, What The Heart Wants, is the story of a struggling songwriter torn between two men. With her career in the balance, she faces the limits of her morality and belief in herself. Although, no single song inspired the storyline, I had a playlist going with selections by Alecia Keyes, Janis Joplin and Tori Amos. Sort of a bluesy intimate soundtrack.

I found myself often queuing up a particular song when revising a scene. I thought about tagging the song in the scene notes. I may still do this. It put me right in the character’s thoughts and feelings.

Do you do this?

I’m now about 10,000 words into novel number two, Knowing You. Its playlist is a little more hard rock. My decade is the 90’s and early 2000’s. Lots of Coldplay and U2.

However, the scene I’m currently writing finds my heroine having a drink with a cowboy in a saloon in Montana. I searched my song catalog for inspiration.

I found, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” recorded by master story-teller, Kenny Rogers and written by another master, Mel Tillis.

Oh, yeah.

I love country music. Read the song titles and look at the lyrics. The good ones tell a complete short story in the span of three to five verses with a chorus to pull the theme through. Every line, every word does its job.

In this song, Ruby is not a very nice lady who, on a nightly basis, breaks the heart of her wounded Korean War Veteran husband. Not even close to my plot. But I still like the story telling and the guitar work. It also reminds me to write tightly. I must think of the reader and earn every moment of her precious reading time.

Oh, and if you haven’t purchased a copy of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s Once Upon A Christmas , please do so immediately so you’ll have it by Christmas Eve! It’s one of my favorites 🙂



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