Musical words

It’s no secret I haven’t been writing much lately. I finished a massive revision in December, then the first two months of the year were fraught with more chaos than I really enjoy on the personal front. I got queries out for the revision, but after that I’ve honestly been dawdling. Piddling around with story after story but never really being able to settle down with something concrete.

I can make a lot of excuses for it – work is busy, I’m really focused on my training for Spartan Sprint and Tough Mudder, I’ve been reading books again, I’ve got an 11-year-old living in my house now. All of them are true, and valid, but they’re still excuses.

Funny thing is I can say that without much guilt. I’m good with the choices I’m making at this present moment. I recognize that there are some priorities for me right now that are higher than the writing. Some I’m choosing on a daily basis, and some I made the choice a long time ago and they’re just now coming due. *smiles and shrugs* Such is life.

The writing is coming back though, and I can tell because the music is coming back. I love music anyway, but when I’m working on specific projects my wide range of taste becomes more narrow, focus like a laser beam.

This is even more true because the story I’m working on is all about the music. The Sins of the Father series is about a band of half-demon rockstars battling their father and a mysterious sect of hunters as they try to stop a plot to reduce mankind to slavery. The world of the brothers is sound and the first book was a fascinating exploration for me in describing how voices sounded, how snowfall sounded, what it’s like when there’s complete and utter silence.

Then there are the brothers, who, despite being in a rock band have a wide and wacky taste in music. Each character has his own playlist and there are a few overlapping songs, each list had a very distinct sound that belongs to that brother alone.

I love music, so it’s not hardship for me to cull the depths of iTunes (okay, maybe my wallet is hurting a little) looking for music that fits someone else’s taste.

I make playlists for every project I work on. This particular ventures is just a little more involved because I have individual playlists in addition to the ones for the books themselves.

What about everyone else? Do you listen to music when you write? Do you endlessly compile lists that fill the need for certain scenes in your books? As a reader do you like it when authors share their playlists on their blog or website. Do you think it enhances your enjoyment of the book or does it detract from it. I’m very curious to know!

K.B.

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8 responses to “Musical words

  1. I don’t listen as I write, but I am often moved to add to my story right after listening to a powerful selection or a movie sound track.

  2. The closest I’ve come to this is a mention of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole in the back of a Dean Koontz novel. I think I would find a playlist interesting – especially if it were shared via 8tracks or a similar site, so I could actually listen to it without having to go find songs I’ve never heard before. However, I wouldn’t want to know if it was specifically for X death scene or whatever, because then I’d read and listen at the same time.

    When I read a good book, I have a full-blown movie in my mind, complete with soundtrack. If I were to listen to a playlist, it’d destroy whatever was there before it. It’s like watching an actual movie that was made from a book, and losing your previous imagined characters, because they’re now replaced with the actors’ faces.

    tl;dr Post the playlists, but don’t tell me what scene they’re for.

  3. I don’t write with music because I get too plugged into lyrics and they distract my writing. In between writing, and on breaks, I have several playlists I love. Some are for relaxation – jazz, some to make me feel energetic – rock, and others for bringing on other emotions I might need for writing.

    Of course, there’s a list just of my faves, and these include a wide range of songs from disco to rock to pop to punk.
    eden

  4. I love to set the mood with music. I am kind of opposite of eden in that I really get plugged into my characters and what they are into. My choices are wide but usually don’t have much to do with the story but more on my mood. I get lost in old timey gospel sometimes, others it might be Golden Oldies, or Classical, or Symphonic, R&B or Country — like I said, however I’m feeling at that time. It gets me out of the real mundane world and into my imagination. Oh, and depending on the music, and I type faster! 😉

  5. You know me, I love my playlists. I almost always write to music, but when I’m editing, I prefer silence. I need to hear the cadence of the words in my head at that point, and sometimes, I read out loud – especially dialogue.

  6. Funny, because I have only two CDs I listen to while writing – and they’re both Bach. I listen to the Cello Suites (whether by Yo Yo Ma, Anner Byslma, Rostropovich, or Casals). Or I listen to Glenn Gould’s The Goldberg Variations. I can’t have words – occasionally, if I’m really rocking and not easily distracted, I can listen to something else (opera, tangos, etc.) as long as I can’t understand the words.

    Kate

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