Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Music In Writing

This post has been on my mind a lot recently. I love listening to music while I write. It helps me feel inspired. Even when I'm not writing, I'll hear a certain song on the radio or on my iPod and suddenly I'll be thinking about my stories. Have you ever flipped on the radio, heard a song, and immediately thought about a certain book or movie?

And, no, that song can't have been part of a movie soundtrack.

I might not be making much sense. It's okay if you don't get it--yet. Let me give you an example.

I was in the car on my way back home from a violin lesson when I heard "I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons. I've heard that song dozens of times, but for some reason when I heard it this time, my thoughts went straight to a book I've been writing recently, a medieval fantasy novel called The Sorceress. I could imagine certain scenes in the book set to that song perfectly. Suddenly, I was designing a trailer for the movie adaptation of the book in my head. I had a whole cast and everything.

Now I may have been getting ahead of myself, but that's how you get inspired. Not by trying, but by not trying. Inspiration strikes you like a bolt of lightning. It's quick and sudden. If you don't grab it and hold on to it, it'll slip away.

Something I love to do in my writing is to imagine my whole book as a movie and design a soundtrack for it. If I can imagine certain scenes set to a certain song, I'll add it in my soundtrack. I can tell you exactly when each song would play in the book/fake movie. Sometimes the soundtracks only have two songs, and other times they have twelve. "The Sorceress Soundtrack" has been revised multiple times. I've added and taken out songs too many times to count. When I'm writing that book, I'll listen to my soundtrack for inspiration. I'm listening to "The Sorceress Soundtrack" as I write this, since I was just writing The Sorceress. Here is the soundtrack at the moment:

"Eyes Open" by Taylor Swift.
"Kingdom Come" by The Civil Wars.
"Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift.
"Lights" by Ellie Goulding.
"Counting On You" by Mikey Wax.
"Home" by Phillip Phillips.
"Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol.
"I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons.

These songs are some of my favorites. A few of the songs in the soundtrack are from "The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond." That album is one of my favorite albums. The songs are either intense, calm, or moving, but they are always inspirational. Sometimes I see similarities between my main character, Anya Perriwinkle, and Katniss. My inspiration has come from The Hunger Games, whether it be the book, the soundtrack, or the movie, multiple series by Tamora Pierce, and music.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have more writing to do.

What do you do for inspiration? Do you listen to music while you write? Do you think you'll make a soundtrack for your book in the future? Leave a comment! :D


Chihuahua Zero said...

It's been awhile since I've listened to writing with music, but I sometimes connect certain songs to my fiction and how the lyrics and the instruments parallel to my stories.

Karoline Kingley said...

I love listening to music while I write, mostly instrumental. Movie soundtracks from Pride and Prejudice, Narnia and Little Women are all beautiful. And about the imagining your book as a movie with music, yeah, I do that ALL THE TIME!

The Magic Violinist said...

I do that, too! I mostly do it with other books, though. I think "The Hunger Games" should've included "Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys into their movie somehow.

Yay! I'm glad I'm not the only one who does that! XD I'll talk to other writers about that and they'll just say, "Yeah, I don't really do that sort of thing, but different things work for different people!"

Boquinha said...

I'm inspired by people I meet, things I overhear, therapy stuff/experiences/emotions . . . funny enough, though, I do better writing when it's quiet.

The book I wrote with Daddy is one I can totally see as a movie. Yes, I do that, too, sometimes!

Anonymous said...

I like to listen to "Lights" when I write, too! :D

Have you tried listening to The Hunger Games film score (James Newton Howard)? It's beautiful... I listen to it way too much and none of my friends have even heard of it.

Dave Johnson said...

You know, I can't listen to much of anything except Ambient music while I'm writing because music is my greater love and I get distracting listening to it and my writing suffers. Ambient (check it out on Pandora) usually has no backbeat - even something with a single drum in it doesn't work for me. It would be awesome if I could do both because I don't get to listen to music enough, and I'm spending most of my free time writing right now. I would love to combine the two, but it just doesn't work for me.

One thing I really like to do right now is find a soundscape radio channel while writing because it's more like having a soundtrack to write to, real life noises and such.

The Magic Violinist said...

I do a lot better with background noise, but a lot of writers I know prefer quiet!

I haven't ever listened to it (besides it being on the movie) but I really should find it on YouTube. Thanks for the suggestion!

That would be a really cool radio channel!

Anonymous said...

I, too, prefer quiet. Like Dave, music distracts me from...well, everything. What I find amazing about music is its ability to immediately transport me to a time and place so distant from now. Certain songs can even bring back butterflies in my stomach that I may have experienced a decade or more ago. I'm also amazed when I hear a song that I haven't heard for years and years, but I remember the lyrics. How can our brains do that?

The Magic Violinist said...

I have no idea! Sometimes I can hear a song once and I remember almost every single lyric, and other times I have to listen to the song twenty times to remember the chorus.

Anonymous said...

Here's the score on YouTube:

The Magic Violinist said...

Thanks! :D I'll check it out ASAP!

Hamlette said...

I almost always write to music. Sometimes movie soundtracks, if they have music that matches the scene I'm working on, or if I'm just in the mood for them. More often, I listen to whatever I'm in the mood for or whatever happens to be in the CD player or on the radio.

I've created soundtracks for a novella and for a novel. I wrote the novella in high school, and every chapter was named after the title of a song. The novel had three characters who were passionate about music (one was a DJ), so they discussed and listened to a lot of music during the story, and those are the songs I put on the soundtrack :-)

The Magic Violinist said...

What a clever idea, Hamlette! I just might steal that from you. ;)

Hamlette said...

Steal it and make it your own! As one of my favorite songs says, "Every poet is a thief, and every minstrel a marauder."

(From "Pen to the Paper," written by Jason Gay and performed by The Divers)