I like to write to music.
My characters have theme songs, my plots have soundtracks. A song or piece can get me in the mood to write a difficult scene or give me a sense of who my characters are and ideas about what could happen next.
Since I’m usually working on at least two projects at once—and only recently learned how to delete my playlists*—anyone who takes a peek at the complete contents of my Walkman may be forgiven for wondering how many personalities I have, whether my meds might be due for tweaking, and/or whether I have any musical discernment at all.
The answer is many; and/or good question, I’ll ask; and/or yes, I can tell when music is playing. To be honest my tastes are eccentric eclectic. I’ll listen to anything from Christian Kane to Apocalyptica.**
Plus, in my defense, I’m maintaining a playlist for my seven-year old until she’s old enough to have her own MP3 player.*** Or that’s the official excuse for the “Ballad of Peanut Butter,” the collected works of Trout Fishing in America, and VeggieTales.
The music in my playlists, though, reflect elements in my stories. I picked up some songs along the way, searched out others as research, and was given one or two by friends or family.^^
The playlist titled Joey Bagels is full of Rat Pack love with some 13th – 15th Century Spanish music and traditional Berber songs thrown in. Eclectic, yes—but Joseph “Ain’t that a kick in the head?” Bageletore isn’t sure what he’s doing in medieval Spain either . . .
Pigeon Drop is set in the present, so I’ve got a little less Rat Pack and a little more Nickelback.
I didn’t know much about the main female character until I heard “The Kill” by 30 Minutes to Mars, and the male character’s ring tone is from Alien Ant Farm,^^^ though he’s got the rep of a Cowboy Cassanova. A minor character adopted a Miley Cyrus song as a theme—my subconscious must be an interesting place—and someone is starting to hum “Life After You,” by Daughtry.
Some of this might seem a little silly—but I think inspiration is where you find it and anyone trying to string a hundred thousand words together in a new and interesting way needs to find a lot of it.
Music does it for me.
Besides, with the establishment of e-books, can audiotracks be far behind?
Comment Request for my three loyal readers: Anyone else write to music? It can’t be just me and Stephen King. What’s on your soundtrack—literary or personal? Or do you prefer silence? C’mon—even if you arrived here by accident, looking for apple cider recipes, why not leave an opinion to mark your passing?
*Don’t roll your eyes at me, whippersnapper. When I was in my first decade, a compilation recording was a stack of vinyl. Later, we held our tape recorders up (with both hands) to the stereo speakers. Digital meant you poked your finger at a button. Now, get off my lawn.
**Heavy metal cellos. I tried this on bassoon once, but I passed out.
*** Or cleans her room and maintains it for two months, whichever comes first. I’m thinking age:
Me: “Ouch! You can’t even walk across your carpet without stepping on something. Isn’t it time to pick up all these marbles, jacks and little Barbie pieces so no one gets a foot puncture?
Janie: “Nah, it’s okay, Mom. I wear my Crocs in here.”
Me: “ . . .”
^But not, sadly, the Big & Rich. I don’t care how raunchy or anti-whatever it is, I love this song—especially this version (despite the sudden camera tilt). There. I said it.
^^I asked my a friend what music plays in casinos and he sent me this. Very funny, Kevin.
^^^I like AAF’s version better than Michael Jackson’s, but I’m willing to entertain arguments. Got any?
6 thoughts on “Writing is . . . Mood Swings to Music”
Yes I do!
(stalk your blog but not comment AND write to tunes, haha)
I”m actually so excited you asked. Because I have been soundtracking and wondering if anyone else does the same.
The Pogues, ma’am. The Pogues.
And the occasional youtube’d setting of Robbie Burns to music, for when my 19th century Scots-Irish main character’s family is being a little drunk/maudlin.
And Ana Egge because I think my mc may look a little like Ana Egge.
Whew–I’m not alone! 🙂
I love the Pogues, especially “Rocky Road to Dublin,” which is probably everyone’s favorite. And you can’t beat Burns for ernest maudlin. Have you heard of Fannigan’s Isle? They played at our wedding reception—complete with bapipes. I’m goign to use their Orange & Green album someday . . .
I’ve just checked Ana Egge’s website and heard “Morning”—I can’t believe I’ve never heard of her. And now I knw what you MC looks like—does she sing, too?
*rofl* There needs to be more Lady Gaga a cappella!
The couple of bucks I pay for my last.fm subscription each month is the best money I spend on writing!
Depending on what I’m writing, I type in metal or love or sexy and it plays a radio station with songs of that kind. I actually have a lot of difficulty writing sex scenes, and it’s even worse in silence. Bring on the noise!
I think Lady Gaga should always be sung by men . . .
I never thought about a radio subscription—that makes a lot of sense. Instant mood music and variety, too.
Is it TMI to admit that writing sex scenes tends to give me the rolling-eye giggles?
Do not even go to the place that is the sex scenes! Hahaha.
It’s a relatively easy thing to do. Why are they so impossibly awkward/ hysterical to write? Could I be more immature?
Last.fm you say?
Is it one of those ‘listen to a billion stations’ websites? I’m so out of the loop for technology, but would so like to have some music available for cheap that is not youtube…
sorry to hijack your thread, here, Sarah.
No problem! It’s more of an extension than a hijack, anyway.