I was starting to put together materials to make draft two of Mind & Machine much better detailed and consistent than draft one. Long ago, when it was a totally different book, the first scene with Commander was dark, moody, and set to a piece of music just because I thought a few lines sounded cool.
Listen as the wind blows
From across the great divide
Voices trapped in yearning
Memories trapped in time
It continues from there, but Sarah McLachlan’s “Possession” had an effect on me. It wasn’t until some time later, after I’d decided it should be the official Commander theme song, when I learned that there was a serious and intentional stalker vibe to the song. Regardless, I didn’t want to change it because I like the song and, on deeper inspection, there is at least the possibility that Commander is just as bad as a stalker. He could be worse.
On the opposite side of things, I found myself motivated to write scenes involving the villain Der Former when I started listening to Daft Punk. The most telling source is “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, a song that Dan reminded me of about 18 months. It has a synthetic beat and, if you watch the video, a real sense of assembly. Since Der Former has to be assembled to become the true threat that he is to Commander, this is a good piece for me to link writing this character to.
At the end of Mind & Machine (no, I’m not going to give away the end here), there is a moment of realization for Commander, when he sees something profound. The scene is one of depth and emotion, heartache and maybe even victory. Half an hour after I finished the first draft, I was listening to the Inception soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and found myself listening to the final track, “Time.” This is the same music that plays at the end of the film. Listening to it on that day, I had a profound realization about what I had put my characters through and the state in which I left them at the end of the story. I wanted to cry a little.
As I go through draft two, I plan to assign a piece of music to each chapter, creating a playlist for the novel. I don’t know if I can do this for everything I work on, but I’m sure I can do it for Mind & Machine.