Feb. 13th, 2009

ali_wildgoose: (Default)
So for the past few months -- come to think of it, it's been the greater part of a year -- my very good friend [livejournal.com profile] jlh has been working on a story called "A Dream That Could Not Last." In her words, it's a "romantic comedy set in 1939 London, when everyone knew war was on the horizon but no one was sure when or how it would arrive — which made love of all kinds that much more important. Follow a year in the life of three groups of (mostly) Americans: pilots who joined the RAF, singers and dancers in a swing music revue, and reporters for BBC Radio."

It's also an American Idol RPF fic, which I know most of you don't generally pay much attention to. BUT! I will say that as someone who has only recently started watching Idol and isn't in the fandom for it AT ALL, I've been betaing this fic pretty intensely for most of the time she's been writing it, and it's really really good. Good in a way that goes beyond RPF and is just genuinely interesting and engaging and meticulously researched through and through.

So if you're at all intrigued by a wartime romance that just happens to be populated with fictionalized versions of real people, then I highly recommend giving this fic a try. <3
ali_wildgoose: (Default)
I've spent a lot of time, recently, thinking about music and the part it plays in my creative process.

I know that I've become thoroughly absorbed in a project when I start making playlists for it. At first, I thought this a wholly useless and self-indulgent activity, one of the greatest timewasters I've ever been sucked into. When I start down this path I spend hours -- DAYS -- combing through my mp3s, listening to tracks with a particular narrative or characters in mind. I'll have a dozen tabs of lyrics open in Firefox. I'll go on Limewire and download as much of a given artist's catalog as I can find because that one song of theirs had the right sound but the wrong theme and MAYBE IF I JUST LOOK A LITTLE HARDER I CAN THE PERFECT TRACK! Whole afternoons are swallowed by this, often yielding just a handful of songs that fit what I was looking for.

But I've realized in the last month or so that it might not be quite as useless as I'd initially thought.

More and more, I've accepted that this process of playlist creation is an essential step in my personal efforts to tell a good story. Choosing the songs and their order helps me focus my perceptions of the characters, plot and themes -- if a song works or doesn't, I ask myself why, and that answer solidifies the story in my head just a little bit more.

And later, once I've made the playlist, listening to it becomes a key part of my brainstorming. I've shifted to using an old ipod shuffle instead of something more sophisticated with a larger drive, because really, I'm only ever listening to twenty or thirty songs at a given time: the playlists relating to whatever projects I'm working on just then. I will listen to those playlists over and over and over again, while I'm out walking or riding the subway or sitting on my couch at home, and that audible reminder of the tone and themes of the story helps keep me on track as I move forward.

Really, it's a pretty tight loop, inspiration feeding back in on itself.

So I wonder -- do any of you use music that way?

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ali_wildgoose: (Default)
Go make some new disaster.

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