Monday, April 4, 2011

Music and Writing

Take a deep, slow breath.
Exhale. Look down at your chest. You’re bleeding; there’s no time to find out why. Ahead of you, bound by the enemy, someone you love is about to die. You step forward to save them. The music plays your theme while the action commences.

Writing with emotion is tough.
You dig deep to discover what your heart feels, capture that, and then offer it to the world with carefully chosen words. That’s not easy to do and it’s often a painful process; however, reaching the best that’s in you, and revealing it through the emotional journeys of your characters is necessary for great writing

Music is my method for revealing emotions.
Nearly every strong memory I have is connected with a song. There were times when I heard a particular song while the event happened; other times, a song on the radio registered a memory inside of me, and an emotion attached to that memory. Whichever the case, when I hear the song again, the memory and emotion returns.

Many authors create a play list for their characters prior to writing their first words.
Some look for songs that their main character might listen to, while others look for themes in the music they choose—songs with words to match the story they’re about create. I look for emotional ties. When I’m writing an important scene with intense emotion or action, the most effective prompt I go to is music. I select the music to match my need and listen to it while plotting a scene. Fortunately, I have a long commute to work every day. That time becomes valuable while I concentrate on the emotion for the coming night’s writing and collect the mental motivation to transfer to my characters. I try to pick songs to draw the strongest emotion that I want to share.

Whatever the use and whenever the need, writing needs music. I think it’s a universal stimulus that evokes the deepest parts of us all.

Back to the description listed at the beginning of this post. Imagine Promontory from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know the song (perhaps even the scene), even if you can’t name it. It’s an all-time classic motivator for me. Thinking of that song pulled images and emotions from the movie, which I listed briefly above. When I need a reminder of what’s at stake and the courage to face it, that song does it every time.

Does music help you write, create, imagine?


  1. I love checking out blogs of those I follow or follow me on twitter. I wholeheartedly agree with the power of music. I make a soundtrack to every novel I write. I have friends who have to have silence. I'm just the opposite. Good luck on your writing journey!


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