Monday, September 20, 2010

Music and Writing and You

So I’m basically the antithesis of Nora when it comes to writing with music.

I can’t do it. The lyrics screw with my head and seep into my prose, and if I’m writing to classical music or a scored soundtrack, the big moments invariably come at the wrong time and I have to replay certain parts and it just slows down my whole momentum.

That having been said, though, music is one of the most integral parts of my writing process.

I like to jog. I like to listen to music while I jog. I like to daydream and imagine whole scenes out while I’m listening and jogging. I’ll go jogging just so I CAN do this daydream/plotting thing.

Because, while I’m imagining my scenes out, there’s no place or time restriction, no inability to keep typing pace or mood with the music. It just comes, beautiful and mutable and lucid; I can mold it any way I see fit, imagine it over and over again in my head with varying shades of beauty and terror, and I love it.

It also helps me burn some calories.

My tunes of choice are epic soundtracks and classic rock. Sometimes metal. SPITFIRE’s got a much more epic feel to it than THE FOREVER DARK, for example. Lord of the Rings soundtracks, lots of trailer music by Two Steps from Hell and X-Ray Dog, Chronicles of Narnia. A little Led Zeppelin for the less-intense moments.

When I’m working on THE FOREVER DARK, though, a lot of (GASP!) corporate rock slips in, much to my dismay. Also Metallica and anything that works as the backdrop for a heroine made of badassery toting a submachine gun and firing it in slow motion.

But I’m not ashamed. Whatever helps me create the scenes I need to make my novel work will do.

So what about you? Does music have a place in your writing process? If so, what kinds of music do you listen to?


  1. We talked about this before. I don't know how you do it lol although I wish I could do it your way. If I ran all I'd be doing is huffing and puffing and concentrate on breathing :)

  2. Haha, well, I'm kind of an inconsistent runner--I end up jogging when the music and the scene is intense, then walk when I'm switching songs. But any moving is good moving!

    I've also done this compulsively since I was about 7 or 8, but back then I was daydreaming about MYSELF as the heroine of some awesome, epic story. :)

  3. I can't listen to music while I'm actually writing (I'm the same way, the lyrics screw with me, but more for me because I just want to sing!), but I love to create playlists that match the tone of the WIP. I'm working on one now for my next book that I'm very excited about!

  4. Oooh, can't wait to read it, Heather! You'll have to send me your playlist so I can get a feel for the novel.

  5. I can only listen to instrumental music while I write, mostly classical. Song lyrics figure into my book, however--it's a historical with a ghost ship, so some chanties and ballads fit perfectly. I would like it if my book is ever made into an audio, that they actually have someone sing those songs instead of just reading the lyrics.

  6. Boy, if only I liked to jog while I plot drift. I'd be in FANTASTIC shape. I liked your point and I have similar methods. I just stumbled upon your blog - it looks like fun :)