Musical Inspiration

Do you use music to set your mood?  What style?  Genre?  Does it change?

I drive about 45 minutes each way for work.  This gives me my ‘alone time’ where I work out plot issues, write dialog (in my head, obviously.  I don’t take notes at 75 mph) and figure out what my characters are doing.  My musical selection varies greatly depending on what part of the story I am working on.

For example:  While I was characterizing Jerok; working out chapter 3, some of his actions in the castle, etc. I played Queen’s “I Want It All” almost on an endless loop.  The idea of titling chapters with song lyrics came from doing this, since I felt that song personified who Jerok is at the start of the book.  “Adventure seeker, on an empty street.  Just an alley creeper, light on his feet.”  Tell me that isn’t chapter 3!

Fight scenes are something completely different.  My goto song for plotting out battle scenes is “The Four Horsemen” by Mettallica.  The power, movement, and instrumentation in that song is inspiring.  I am particularly fond of the bridge at about 2:30.  Great stuff.  I am a bit broader here though, in that I also pick up two songs by Dokken:  “Mr. Scary”, and “Dream Warriors”.

General characterization and plot calls for something completely different.  When I need inside Mirian’s mind, or pretty much anyone that isn’t Jerok, I have a folder set aside with a couple of Sonatas by JS Bach, Piano Duets as well as ‘Sonata in D’ for two pianos.  Again, movement and mood are perfect for delving into the twists and turns of a characters mind.

So, I turn it back to the reader for whom I still wait.  So far my hit count is still at 0 but someone is bound to have a miskey issue any day now.  If you do, and are reading this, what music inspires your muse?  Or do you find it more of a distraction than a help?

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2 responses to “Musical Inspiration

  1. Romantic music all the way. Since I write romance. Duh. I got in a total Napster downloading kick while I was rewriting “A Ranger’s Tale”, and some of the songs I found seemed to match certain chapters/scenes/characters really well. I’d play those over and over while I was writing them. It really seemed to inspire the mood.

    Here are a few examples: “Best I Ever Had” by Vertical Horizon seemed to fit Jayden’s character, especially at the end when he made that very hard decision. “Over My Head” by The Fray worked for Galadin, when he realized he was in too deep with Caliphany. And “Rhythm of Love” by Plain White T’s fit the scene where Galadin and Cali danced at the tavern.

    So, yes, I like to listen to music as I write. 🙂

  2. Pam

    Music is my #1 inspiration in writing. In fact, I recently just tormented a fellow CCer by turning his story into a musical in my head and dedicated 200+ words of my crit to musical cues (yes, I will always be a Thespian).

    As for my own writing, each of my characters is inspired by one specific band. And specific songs inspired specific scenes in my novel. Funny thing though, I cannot actually listen to music while I’m writing. Too distracting.

    I’m an old punk at heart, so most of my influences come from 80’s, 90’s punk, but really I’m a fan of it all (bar country, tried it, couldn’t do it).

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