Okay, that’s not really true, but I did learn something fun about it–in particular the process of writing it–from watching Criminal Minds. I LOVE Criminal Minds; it’s practically the only show I watch with any kind of regularity. I’d love it even if it didn’t have Dr. Spencer Reid.* Most of what you see on TV isn’t true, sure, but I’m giving the benefit of the doubt in this case because it was Reid who said it and, as a character notable for his brilliance, he’s more believable if the scriptwriters give him facts to work with.
Anyway, I won’t spoil this week’s episode for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but at one point Reid, JJ, and Morgan are discussing music and Reid tells them that, neurologically speaking, we solidify our appreciation of music at age fourteen. Our tastes might grow, change, expand, but no music will ever have the same effect on our brains as what we listened to at that specific time in our lives.
*light bulb moment*
A LOT of music has come out since I was fourteen. It was…a while ago. (BRB, going to eat a cookie and cry into my wrinkles. … … OK, I’m back.) When I was writing CODA, though, a significant percentage of the music I listened to and that made it onto the book’s soundtrack were songs I learned and loved, yes, the year I was fourteen. My first mental images of my protagonist in a club had him dancing to that music. Some of the songs–hell, maybe all of them–might not be the most shining examples of their kind, but I have such powerful associations with them that they were automatic go-tos when I needed to evoke a specific feeling in myself and pour it onto the page.
So, that’s really interesting to me, and made me wonder if I would’ve written the book differently if I’d known about the age thing. I think it’s actually possible there’s one small aspect I would have changed.
All through the writing process the book surprised me, marching off in the opposite direction to what I intended, changing and growing and presenting themes and ideas I hadn’t considered.
It’s sort of cool to know that eight months later, it still can.
*Admittedly, not nearly as much. He’s delicious.