February 13, 2014

Band Geek Thursday: Jenny's Playlist for THE TRICK TO LANDING

I finally did it! Almost six months later than I planned, I finished a workable draft of my second contemporary YA romance, THE TRICK TO LANDING! This story, set at the same high school as THE ART OF FALLING, has been one of the hardest things I've ever written.

Something about these characters has made me doubt myself more than usual. I want so much to tell their story well. I want to do them justice. When I started writing back in July, before I even signed my publishing deal, I expected it to come as easily as FALLING had. Instead, I've learned (once again) that every story is different and the process evolves with every draft.

It's Only Me. by estherfidock
What began as a simple concept - an athletic girl and a boy physically unable to be athletic - quickly developed into a story that has actually made me cry - and I have NEVER cried at my own writing. FALLING is so light and breezy. It's joyful. LANDING is something else altogether. These characters are broken and it's in that place of brokenness that they find each other, but more importantly find themselves.

Welcome to Zenithia by iNeedChemicalX
As usual, I've had an endless playlist to keep me inspired and motivated on this journey. I've culled it down to the best ten songs for you. With a short, poorly written blurb, I'll let you have it:

Sixteen-year-old skater Summer O'Neill wants to forget her past on the half pipe, blazing new trails in a sport that doesn't exactly welcome girls. But her failures - on the pipe and off - seemed destined to keep her from soaring. When she meets Bastian, a boy who wants a future beyond the bleeding disorder that defines his life, they'll both need to live in the moment or lose the fragile bonds that tie them together.

Out of My League - Fitz & the Tantrums
Forty days and forty nights/I waited for a girl like you to come and save my life
This is the very first song I heard and thought this is for my Summer Story. This is the story I want to tell. Summer and Bastian are both a little awed of each other - and that is part of their downfall. The moments when they are forced to see each other without rose-colored glasses were painful for me, but until loves see and choses to be blind, it's not really love.

Lonely Nation - Switchfoot
Singing without tongues/Screaming without lungs/I want more than my desperation
There is so much Switchfoot on this playlist! They're one of those perfect beachy, SoCal bands. There's just something about the feel of this song. It captures some of the longing and aching of this story. There's a striving in the midst of adversity that I love about it.

17 Crimes - AFI
Tomorrow cannot be like this/And even though it’s such a simple world/tomorrow cannot be like this.
Oh, Davey Havok. Nothing takes me back to my teens like his voice. I remember feeling so old and worn, longing for childhood even though I'd barely passed it. That's what this song brings up for me - and it's definitely something Summer feels. 

Boys of Summer - The Ataris
Nobody on the road/Nobody on the beach/I feel it in the air/The summer's out of reach
The wistful, aching quality of this song perfectly set the mood for this story. There are points when both Bastian and Summer need to let the other go and make mistakes before they can really be ready for a relationship. I think that's what this song has always been about for me. Plus, I love the Ataris. 

I'll Wait Today - Farside
I realize we both could get hurt/But the payoffs worth the risk/Like smelling your perfume on my shirt/And to taste your trembling kiss
This is a perfect ode to those in between times in a relationship. Maybe you're together, maybe not, but everything is in flux and it simply can't stay there. There's anger and hurt mixed up with hope and longing. These poor characters spend a lot of time there.

Spin - Lifehouse
I've got nothing else to lose/I lost it all when I found you and I wouldn't change thing
There's something wreckless and dangerous about this kind of love - dangerous in the way first loves are. There's always a tendency to put too much on another person, but first loves are so all-consuming. This is a story of first love, but not first kisses.

Flesh and Blood - People in Planes
When I'm dead and buried/I don't want you to remember me/We're flesh and blood
I have the strangest relationship with this song. I hate the verses. Something about them totally grates. But then the chorus hits. That recognition that we are only flesh and blood, that no is perfect. There's something really powerful about accepting that. It's a tipping point for their relationship.

Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap
While our blood's still young/It's so young, it runs
I have loved this song since (500) Days of Summer. It's self-concious and tender and young. It feels like falling in love for the first time. When moments stretch and grow to be entire worlds, entire lifetimes. *happy sigh* Those moments are why I write YA romance.

Don't Call Me Peanut - Bayside
And now you swear that you're being honest/but you're not honest/and you never could be
It's not a YA contemp until I have some Bayside! My go to for angst-laden bad relationship anthems, Bayside never fails to inspire. This song definitely hits those moments when Summer and Bastian need to confront themselves and each other.

Morning Calls - Dashboard Confessional
This song sounds to me like that moment in a teen movie when our characters dance together at the prom. The whole school moves towards the edges, leaving the couple alone in the center of the room, under the glow of the spotlight, totally wrapped in each other yet the center of every bit of attention. It's beautiful and terrifying and overwhelming. Nothing is ever as big or as important again. At the very end of Summer and Bastian's story, this is the moment. THE moment. Writing it made me cry.

So there you go. Ten songs that carried me through the longest draft ever. I hope you enjoy!


Fifi Islaih said...

This is beautiful. I love going beyond reading about the book and seeing/hearing the inspiration for the story. Thank you!

Sarah Hipple said...

Congratulations! It certainly sounds like a compelling idea, and I think crying at your own work has got to be a good sign.

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