Monday! Since I had a little too much fun last night--resulting in getting thrown out of an Applebee's before nine, but that's a story for a different time--I'm getting a bit of a late start this morning. And since I lost the notes I had for this post, I'm just gonna have to wing it.
Last week I talked about writing playlists and their use. Taking it a step further--and inspired by my interview with Belinda Boring on Wednesday and my viewing of Harry Potter this weekend--I'm going to take a minute to talk about theme songs.
When most of us think of theme songs, we automatically think of movies or television shows. What would the A-Team be without those opening notes (and Bradley Cooper's abs)? Dawson's Creek without Paula Cole? True Blood without Bad Things? Not to say the movie and shows mentioned would suffer for the lack, but there's something about those songs that helps with the transition of the viewer into the alternate world.
For writers, the same concept applies. Unless you're super lucky--which I am not--writing does not automatically pay the bills. So first order of business five days of the week is working. Then there's family, friends, idiot cats, promotion...the list goes on and on. There are days when I sit down in front of my computer and my brain flat refuses to work. This is where a theme song is important.
Even though I write in the same genre, not everything I write is the same. The Jude Magdalyn series is somewhat on the dark side, so I tend to gravitate toward 3 Doors Down, specifically When I'm Gone. The Moon Rising series with Cari is set a little closer to home, both geographically and emotionally, so country is a natural choice. Sara Evans' Little Bit Stronger fit perfectly with Cari's struggles. My current work in progress, tentatively titled Taken, is very noir, very rough and tumble, but with a lot of sex. I've gone back and forth with songs on this, using Fiona Apple's Criminal sometimes, Nickelback at others.
Does it work every time? Nope. But then there are times you're watching TV and your brain is just going too many places and you completely gloss over the theme song. It takes you a little longer to get into the show, to reorient yourself with the world you're viewing, but you get there. So while I'd say a theme song is important, it's not the be all end all. It just makes the journey more interesting.