Monday, May 2, 2011


Prompted by the road trip-related post over at A Writer's Notepad. That road trip was hosted by YA Highway.

I tend to create playlists for my WIPs in iTunes. Saying that I choose the songs would be... not entirely accurate. Not always clear on why some songs attach themselves to stories or particular characters, but it happens. Not every time, but often enough. The other songs are there for their energy level or atmosphere, and tend to fit the story fairly well. Often an oddball or two in the mix, though. 

Readers of my blog may recall my character development posts for Ping. Well, Ping acquired himself a song early on: "This Is The Picture (excellent birds)" by Peter Gabriel. Darned if I know why, but listening to the song always puts me in the right mindframe for Ping. There are eight other songs in that playlist, but that one's the strongest stimulator.

Course Corrections has a playlist of about 40 songs.  "The Rookery" has seven (dark, traumatic) pieces that helped shove me into the dark every night to finish that story. I'm starting to brainstorm about the followup to Course Corrections and it doesn't have any tracks yet, but it's only a matter of time.

Amend that: I've started a playlist for it, but the only song so far is "Gravity" by A Perfect Circle. That's a track that shows up frequently in my Jovian Frontier playlists.  It's somewhere to start.

There's been research indicating that music taps different neural pathways in the brain than language. Memory and emotion both get involved. So do endorphins. No wonder so many people are affected by music and use it to help channel their creativity. 

At the same time, it's highly individual and what works for me isn't likely to work for you. Or is it? What do you think? What do you listen to while you write? Is it different for different stories?


David Powers King said...

I do the same thing. I'm a collector of film scores, so whenever I'm about to write or I started to write something, I compile a list of selected tracks that musically fit with the feel of the novel. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who does this! Great post, L.

The Golden Eagle said...

I don't like (most of the time--there have been exceptions, of course) having lyrics in the music I listen when I'm writing; Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and other classical composers are usually what I listen to.

It's very different for different stories. Some composers work for one novel, and others for another novel.

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