Music sets the mood: I’ve been writing fiction again lately, and I have a playlist full of music that helps me get into the right headspace.
On the bus one day recently, I had paused in between thoughts and looked down at my phone. Huh, Spotify added lyrics using Genius. That’s pretty cool. (I’ve appreciated the lyrics feature in Amazon Music.) Sometimes that’s an interesting extra inspiration.
But. In a repetitive bit, or a bridge with no vocals, they’re adding factoids about the band or the song.
And this song? Love Will Tear Us Apart. So all those “facts”? A story about how Ian Curtis’ marriage went wrong and how he killed himself and how this song became a hit after he was dead. All of which is true and fascinating, and if I’d been in the mood to go looking for the history of the song, I’d’ve been moved by the story.
But I was in the mood for music that has an emotional resonance for reasons that have nothing to do with the tragic end of the singer’s life, and everything to do with characters I want to write and a mood I want to achieve. Which maybe is tangential to the history of the song.
Consider then, when providing extra detail: is there a chance that you are destroying what that person is here for? Are you about to tell a story that could derail someone’s day? Maybe don’t. Or at least make it take a little extra work so you know they want it.
Also published on Medium.