Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Music to write by

Music can be a powerful tool for a writer. No, we can’t put it in the pages of our books, (unless it’s an audio book :) but, we can use it as a guide for how we write.

Some writers use music to help them keep focused and avoid some of the distractions that occur around us. It can also be used to set the writer’s mental mood as they write a scene or maybe as a pacing tool. Play some upbeat tunes and start typing a short paragraph or two. You’ll find that your fingers move to the rhythm of the music. A good upbeat playlist can really help the words fly onto paper.

It’s a combination of those things for me, but mostly a key to helping me set the scene. Soundtracks are fantastic for settings. Some of my favorites for action are the 3:10 to Yuma Soundtrack and the Tokyo Drift Soundtrack. There aren’t any lyrics to distract and plenty of intense tracks to help build tension and burst into the action of a scene.

I have a strange, eclectic collection of music from movie soundtracks, opera, oldies, big band, strings, flamenco, rock, pop, blues, jazz… you name it it’s probably in my collection somewhere. A wide musical taste just like a wide variety of genres in reading can be beneficial to a writer. Each musical genre brings a different picture to mind as much as any other sense.

If your ears have never had the experience of listening to Cajun zydeco, big band, Irish pipes and drums, or even a mix of country and rap. Head over to Youtube, Pandora or Spotify and try them out. A new kind of music can inspire the muse.



I’m jumping into my 8th NaNoWriMo in November writing a paranormal noir. I love the dark settings and the intensity of some noir scenes. I’ve got some music set aside to help the mood of those pages along. Tokyo Drift of course, but also Apocalyptica: Worlds Collide, Nickleback: Dark Horse, and some Korn.

Since this novel is also going to be set in 1940s Florida, I’ve created some oldies playlists. Songs by Glenn Miller, Dean Martin, Patti Page, Dave Pell, Duke Ellington and other fantastic musicians and performers of the time.

Music is a tool for us just as our favorite writing program or pen and notebook. It can inspire us and the characters we write adding a bit more life to them and their story.



Do you have a favorite playlist or album to write to? Do you tailor a music list just for the novel your writing or make just a general set that will get your muse dancing? 

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