As part of a team of Beta readers, I was reading through Ryan Lanz’s most recent work, in which he discusses where story ideas come from, and it got me thinking about the inspirations for my story ideas.
Most of them, like my short story “But Kisses Never Hurt Me,” are towers of “What if’s,” stacked atop each other until a whole plot comes together. But often, the seed for a story, or a character, comes from a song.
Songs are like snapshots of a story. Someone met somebody else, or dreams of meeting someone. Another person did someone wrong. It doesn’t matter if it’s “Without You” by U2, “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, or “Autumn Leaves” by Nat King Cole. Someone’s hurting, dreaming, crying, suffering, and they put it all into lyrics and a tune.
And we, as writers, can let the music carry us to the world of stories.
It can work both ways, of course. Stories inspire songs (most notably soundtracks), and movies have been made around a single song or set of song, with the story filled in around the tunes.
Even instrumental music can help inspire us to write. It may not contain an overt story, but it will suggest an emotional mood.
And then, the rest is up to us and our imagination. Who is singing or playing this song, and why? Who’s the audience, and are they there, in that moment? What led up to these words, this tune, and what happens next?
And once we get started, who knows how far the song will lead us (maybe even to our next bestseller?).
Copyright Andrea Lundgren 2015
Photo courtesy of Gratisography