But the writing of "Time After Time" proved a bit different. The music isn't just a soundtrack, but it's at the heart of the very action of the narrative. I didn't have a pre-set soundtrack, but had to discover the songs during the writing itself. For the songs, or their titles, were not only quoted, but determined what
was happening on the page. In the guise of DJ SlipMatt, his choice of what to cue up on the turntables had an uncanny echo of what was happening out on the state. An echo that in several cases actually preceded the action...
Right up to the later drafts, songs were being substituted for those that were in the novel because they were a better fit. Normally when I set up a soundtrack for a novel, all the songs are known to me, or at least I've discovered them as part of putting the playlist together before I've sat down to write word one. But the joy of the writing process for "Time After Time", was that I was discovering new songs WHILE I was writing. That was a wholly new thing for me and this fusion of creative energies of new writing melding with new songs to my ear really helped keep the process fresh for me. When I came to turn the original playscript into a novel text, some of the songs from ten years previous were no longer appropriate or had just dated really badly. I think there were maybe 15-20 songs in my original stageplay, but the greater detail of a novel, of nuanced character gesture and action, meant the final playlist ended up at 45 songs.
Music is integral to "Time After Time".
Rather than soundtrack the writing process, it forms an active part of the narrative itself. Throughout there are songs cued up by the DJ whose title or lyrics counterpoint the action or emotion at that point of the narrative. All the songs can be heard in the order they appear in the book, on a Spotify
playlist. However it's not crucial to understanding the novel to have heard the songs or to listen to them while reading!
How does the DJ seem able to find the right song for each moment a new song plays on his decks? Well you'll have to read the book for that! But he's an unusual DJ in that his eclectic taste means his playlist isn't restricted to one or more styles of music. The playlist has Pop, Disco, Punk, New Wave, Reggae, Dubstep, Hip-Hop, Rap, Trip-Hop, Big Band/Swing, Rave, Nu-Rave, Heavy Metal, Soul, Two-Tone, Rock, Old Skool, Electronica... Almost as many music genres as there are literary ones. Which, I wonder, is more tribal, music or literature! For a clue, read the comments to a YouTube cover version of the Kicks Like A Mule track "The Bouncer" (see link below) as covered by Nu-Rave band The Klaxons. Just follow the links. Me? I love both versions!