"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Toy Story 3 and Play Lists

I've never been one to make a play list of songs for a book I'm writing, but I see tons of authors doing this. Truth is, until now, I've never really seen a strong reason aside from it's a really cool thing to do that I just haven't made time for thus far. That said, every time I see movies that bring me to the edge of tears and beyond, I think about the power of music in evoking the emotions.

Pixar has an amazing ability to have nothing but music and make me cry. Take UP for instance. Those first ten minutes I'm wiping my face constantly. They manage to say so much with only pictures and music. Not a single word is spoken. It's genius. And then there is Toy Story 3. I saw it this weekend and seriously cried about ten times starting from the very first scene where we're watching Andy's video of him playing when he was young. So much is relayed in the images, but then the music is added which really cinches the deal.

So here's my question? Does the creation of a play list for a manuscript help in writing more emotion into scenes? Because if it does, then I'm all over that. Or is it just a fun thing authors do to connect more with their story?

* And I'm laughing at this movie poster. It's subtitled "The Breakout Comedy of the Summer." I'm thinking it's more along the lines of "The Saddest Movie of the Summer."

13 comments:

Kelly said...

My hubby took the kids to see that when I was in NY. I can't wait to see it when it's out on DVD!
Music does convey so many emotions. I don't listen to it while I'm writing because I end up singing along with the words, but now that I'm thinking about it, instrumental would be cool to listen to while writing!

JSavant said...

Personally, I find that compiling playlists of songs for my writing *does* add more emotion to the actual words. I can easily say that many scenes I have written would have fallen flat if not for a song to keep all the threads of emotions and possibilities together to form deep and meaningful prose.

Kelly H-Y said...

Ohhhh ... that scene and the music that went along with it ... I'm totally with you. I loved Toy Story 3. I haven't done it for a story, but I can totally see how it would work wonders. I'm with Kelly, though ... I'd have to listen to the music-only version while writing OR listen to the with-words version when I'm not trying to write at the same time!

Lynn Colt said...

I think it depends. I can see how the 'right song' could get you into the mood of the scene, but personally I need silence in order to concentrate, so a playlist doesn't work for me!

Becky Levine said...

I finally did a playlist for this WIP, for the same reasons you're thinking about it--everyone else was doing it! Maybe I was missing something? I still don't know. I do need music to write, more of a pavlovian thing I think--it clicks into something in my brain and reminds me that music and working go together. In the past, though, I've never been able to listen to lyrics while I wrote, and I don't like classical, so my choices were limited. For this WIP, I ended up putting together songs by women, with a lot of strong, often angry voices, and I do use it a lot. By the first or second song, I don't think I'm hearing much anymore (since I'm dug into the story), so I haven't figured out if the specific songs really matter or not! :)

Rebecca said...

The really great thing about Toy Story 3 is that is is sad AND funny. Kinda like one of my favorite movies, Stranger than Fiction.

I've never considered creating a playlist to help as I'm writing. Then again, when I'm writing there is usually so much going on in the house that music would just add to the noise. :-)

PJ Hoover said...

Hey Kelly, you have to see it. It really finished off the set nicely.

Great vote for the song, JSavant. I'm going to give it a go this time around.

I totally agree, Kelly. If I listen to music with words, I have trouble concentrating.

PJ Hoover said...

Hey Lynn, funny how I can hear music at a coffee shop and tune it out, but at home, I need silence.

I've been listening to Chant recently, Becky, by those monks. It really hits the groove for me.

I never saw Stranger than Fiction, Rebecca, but I really need to. So many people recommend it!

Lenore said...

Those montages with music always make me sob too!

PJ Hoover said...

LOL, Lenore! They have a way of really getting to you, don't they?

Marcia said...

I don't listen to music when I write because it distracts me. But yeah, I can see that a playlist for a ms. could work. Hmmm...

Miriam S. Forster said...

I always feel certain emotions for certain songs, and those songs go into my writing playlists. I've heard playlists are also good because your brain hears the music and thinks "Hey, writing time!" It helps me get in the zone better...


Dancing with Dragons is Hard on your Shoes

PJ Hoover said...

I'm trying to be more music focused this time, Miriam and Marcia. Maybe just in the words and in my head.