Friday, November 10, 2006


At the risk of sounding hokey, I think proper music is really important to writing. Yes, I sometimes want silence --but lacking that, I look for songs that echo the themes and improve the prose.

I organize songs by character, and also by chronology and setting.

Some of the playlists for my current fic:

Lucky to Have Jonesy (Sophie's Theme), Jeff Beal (Carnivale Soundtrack)
Guys Do it All the Time, Mindy McCready
Ten Thousand Angels, Mindy McCready
That's the Way I've Always Heard it Should Be, Carly Simon
Per Te, Josh Groban
If You'd Called Yesterday, Julie Roberts
Wake Up Older, Julie Roberts
Fumbling Toward Ecstasy, Sarah McLachlan
Elsewhere, Sarah McLachlan
Let Go, Frou Frou (Garden State Soundtrack)

Why these?
I find Riza easier to write than Roy. Maybe that's because I've got an ear for her. Otherwise, it's because I've embroidered heavily on her character. I guess we'll see.

First: I think Riza's one of those "still waters run deep" women. She is obviously loyal, composed, dedicated.

But when she takes the uniform off? It happens so rarely, it's hard to infer anything from her behavior. I look at what she wears and I see "classy" and "conservative." I put a pair of heirloom pearl earrings in her dresser drawer, simply-scented soap in her shower, and a middling white wine in her fridge.

I look at her puppy, and I think, "warm-hearted, despite the above." So now there's a dog bed on the floor, and probably a couple of chew toys tucked in cabinets and shoes. And probably a little more hair on things than she would prefer.

So I add a much-abused (and probably puppy-chewed) broom to the list. Some furniture polish under the sink, silver-framed pictures of her parents. Maybe a pretty vase, blown glass with motes of soft green and specks of yellow. I think she'd appreciate that kind of handiwork --from the look of her room in the anime, she seems to enjoy light and air. Glass works with that. So do watercolors --I'm thinking of one print in particular, a close up a pair of Cala lilies that is just slightly surreal. (If you're interested:

From the simplicity of her hair and clothes, Riza isn't a frills person, so no lace on her sheets. Minimal sheets, for that matter, we're not talking silk or thousand-count thread. We've seen that her bed is really simple, in fact, just the basic pillows and a navy blue bedspread, but I can see there being a throw that orbits the room, something in an airy, cream-wheat-navy plaid.

You see, of course, how much of all this hangs on a couple of articles of clothing, the way she dresses her hair, in the few scenes that she appears out-of-uniform. (I'm thinking particularly of the end of Episode 51, and the recent Ishval flashback chapters from the Manga. Also the adorable scene where Barry falls for her. ;P )

Anyway, these songs are chosen to reflect these kinds of qualities: "Lucky to Have Jonesy" for its gravity and beauty, "Guys Do it All the Time" to reflect her certain sassiness, "That's the Way" because of it's quiet desperation and nonconformity. The Julie Roberts' tunes because they're bluesy and mellow, "Per Te" because it's about "living" for somebody else that you love, the McLachlan tracks because besides being mellow, the lyrics are very conscious and appropriate.

Maybe more later. :P



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