I’m so excited to be able to finally say that I have finished my mystery/thriller submission for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest this year. Although one would imagine this to be a big thing to celebrate, it has been designated small as more of a nod to all the work that lies ahead. Already revised many, many times, the manuscript is now with my wonderful, beautiful, all-good, very lovely critique group, who will chime in with revisions in about a month. After those revisions I will begin querying—no matter how far along in the contest I get. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I need a plan at every step, so I framed out exactly how long I’ll allow myself to entice nibbles. After that period has expired, I will seriously investigate self-publishing. Because, while I feel my book is excellent and ready for publication at this distinct point in time, that feeling can whoosh out with one repeated word. This time I’m determined not to let that hold me back.
In the meantime, I’d like to ponder a method I often use in lieu of an outline to keep my writing on track. In The Makegood Murder, I’ve aligned my story with a truly great song from a group I admire. The story has nothing to do with the song, of course--I’d never infringe upon anyone’s copyright--but it has given me pages and pages of inspiration. I’ve listened to the song many times over the course of writing and I’ve incorporated it into the narrative by having one of my characters use it as his ringtone. (He’s a cop, so his choice makes sense in an ironic way.)
Many a daydream has been composed to the tune of All These Things That I’ve Done, the most satisfying of which is the one featuring the opening credits of the movie version of my book. (Yeah, I know I have to get the damn thing published first. A girl can daydream! Killjoys.)
I’m not the first writer to do this, obviously. I’ve seen many songs quoted at the beginning of various books—as I’m sure you all have. Wally Lamb’s book titles are verses from songs. Colleen Hoover has blogged about The Avett Brothers’ influence in her YA and New Adult romances and has even hooked up with a musician for the launch of her newest book. (A stroke of marketing genius, in my opinion.)
Now my biggest fear is that the greatness of the song has overflowed, inflating my affection for the book. Am I overestimating The Makegood Murder simply because allusions to a great song are weaved throughout? Only time will tell. Until then, I wonder if anyone else has had a song inspire them?