I’ve talked before of how I used The Guardian’s ‘How to write a novel in 30 days’ to help me frame the background research for my book, ‘The Sentinel’.
The article suggested creating a playlist to help brainstorm ideas, or just to unblock when the ideas won’t come.
I had a lot of fun creating a playlist for ‘The Sentinel’ and I found that, in hunting for ideas for songs, I was thinking of the story and the characters whilst not under pressure to be writing. This process of letting go helped me understand better what I was trying to achieve with the book. It was also a relaxing thing to do although a bit distracting.
Today I thought you might enjoy looking through the playlist I created and maybe listening to some of the songs I chose.
22kwktxtsw4qa7jl3ncdlvkvq 40 songs, 3 hr 22 min
I’ve picked my top 5 songs from the playlist (below) and I thought I’d talk about what they represent in the novel and why I chose them.
- Port Na Bpucai (Song of the Faeries) – Isabella (the eldest daughter of the antagonist, Mr Brown) tells Kathleen Devine (the main character) early on about her, and her mother’s, fear of the sea. She tells the story of the sea folk who claim children back for themselves and because this is a significant part of the story, it is only fitting that this soulful and searing song is on my top 5 list.
- Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Choir of King’s College Cambridge – The spiritual and religious is explored in the figure of the upright Mr Johannsson (the Head Lightkeeper). He also reveals a finer taste for life than the hard work maintaining the lighthouse would suggest when Kathleen hears him play the cello one evening. The sound of the wailing instrument, so near the sound of a human voice, against the backdrop of the magnificent landscape, brings her near to tears.
- Lighthouse, The Waifs – A novel set on a lighthouse station would not be complete without a lighthouse song to match. This is an old favourite, made even more special because The Waifs are an Australian band.
- How Great Thou Art, Aled Jones – Religious iconography is one of the tropes of the novel as Kathleen Devine wrests with her own understanding of faith and duty, and of those around her.
- Ocean, John Butler – The landscape and the seascape are as much characters in the novel as the people who inhabit the lonely lighthouse station. This song represents the wild and dangerous beauty which surrounds the Sentinel.
Can you guess what the rest might say about the novel?
Which are your favourites?
Feel free to comment below.
Until next time,
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