anatomy of the Kitty playlists

July 16, 2012

The rough drafts never feel quite done until I figure out the playlists.  I think I nailed down the playlist to Kitty 12 yesterday.  When I finish the first draft, that’s when I look at the songs I collected during the months of writing it and figure out how to put them together.  I’ve done thirteen of these now, and more often than not, they’ve come together in surprising, spine-tingling ways that I never expected, that make it look like I planned the whole thing.  It’s marvelous, and I usually get a lovely little chill.

Part of the reason for this is I’m not a lyrics person.  I love musicality and complex harmonies, and those are what usually attract me to a song.  Lyrics aren’t the first thing I notice, and since I’m a strongly visual person I often have to read the lyrics before I even get them all.  (I have a friend who’s always shocked that I can’t sing along to some songs I’ve been listening to for thirty years.)  But when I’m going over a Kitty playlist, I start listening to the lyrics, and they’re almost always right on target.  It’s spooky, like my subconscious actually does know all the lyrics right off and has a plan all along. (The first time this happened was when I put the Clash’s “Train in Vain” on the first playlist.  It’s a fantastic song, one of the classic break-up songs of all time, so it definitely fit.  But then I really listened to it, and heard this:  “So all alone I keep the wolves at bay, and there’s only one thing I can say:  you didn’t stand by me.”  Could any other line more perfectly capture Kitty’s state of mind when she leaves the pack?  The answer is no.  No more perfect line.

This kind of thing happens all the time when I’m doing the playlists.  It’s mind blowing, and part of why I love doing them.  Because somehow, some way, even thought most of the songs are random, pulled off my playlist when they come up, snagged from random NPR stories while I’m driving around, and so on, my brain goes, “Ooh, that one,” and they all come together.  Kitty 12 includes Bowie’s “Oh! You Pretty Things!” and this line:  “All the nightmares came today, and it looks as though they’re here to stay.”  And in the chorus:  “Let me make it plain, gotta make way for the homo superior.”  Is there a war between immortal supernaturals coming?  Why, I don’t know. . .

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.  That isn’t for a couple of books.  So what’s the most unusual/interesting song from the Kitty 10, Kitty Steals the Show playlist?  Oh, there’s so much good stuff on this list.  Here’s one you probably weren’t expecting:

You see, it’s a metaphor, and the song is absolutely perfect for the story.  Fully half this playlist is 80’s new wave, which given that the book is set in London I make no apologies for.

2 Responses to “anatomy of the Kitty playlists”


  1. I completely understand what you mean. I do the same thing when I draw. I have playlists on my iPod that I connect with story ideas that I draw. I’ve got about 11 of them so far, and will most likely keep making more. ^_^ Listening to these songs help my creativity in a very big way. I also, listen for the sound of the song first… then listen to the lyrics…much later and they also tend to match the idea.

  2. Re WIlliams Says:

    Back in the day I had all the songs from ‘Chess’ memorized. (long car ride entertainment for my sister and me) Fun to see the video for the first time. I’d forgotten just how bushy 80’s hair was. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s