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Once I’ve got started on something, embarked on a voyage with the coast receding out of sight, I often like to pick a CD that I associate most with it, and put that on loop as I write. It’s a particularly useful motivator during NaNoWriMo, because it prompts my subconscious to stop getting distracted with other things by repeatedly distracting it with concepts from the very thing I’m writing! My subconscious all too frequently has the attention span of a one-year-old with multiple shiny objects being waved in front of their face. This is fine — my mind seems to come with multi-level multitasking built in — except when I’m doing full-focus tasks, like sticking to the 1,667 per day NaNo word count while simultaneously working for a PhD! These sorts of things are forefront tasks and I can’t put sufficient effort into them unless I have full focus… so here’s how I get it.

To date, I’ve been through NaNo three times, and here are the CDs I’ve used. Each of them in overall sense and feeling of the sound of the CD — not any single track and not even always the actual words — I find matches up reasonably well to the overall sense and feeling of the story, making it a good background prompt.

  • Before The Sun FadesWithin Temptation: The Heart of Everything
  • Alt-ShiftDoves: The Last Broadcast
  • ReclamationSirenia: The Thirteenth Floor

In addition, certain characters acquire songs, some of them more than others, which seem to me to express aspects of their personality or life: character music, picked up from around my collection and noticed as particularly relevant to one person or another. There are a few more of those, and some characters have more than one as various events affect them throughout their lives. As a random sample, we have:

  • Tsien: Disturbed: Indestructible (Indestructible)
  • Seolas: Disturbed: Haunted (Indestructible)
  • Rei: Green Day: She’s a Rebel (American Idiot)

I don’t think we’ve met Rei yet, here on Distant Realms. She comes from the Galactic Federation, but long in Tsien’s past: she was a contemporary of Siris’ back when he was still Human. Perhaps I’ll post something about her soon!