Challenge #7: Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?
Thus, the floodgates are opened.
Music is a big part of my writing. Whether it’s put on for the purpose of inspiring a mood, or a phrase or tune inexplicably sparks an epiphany, music plays a huge role in all my projects. Over the years (and recent months) I’ve developed a list of go-to artists that never let me down when my muse needs coaxing.
…may be an obvious choice, but from period film soundtracks (Sense and Sensibility, Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea, Emma) to classical masters (Yiruma, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Wagner, Handel…etc.) or anything really with romantic strings and/or piano, I can write to. Most of my focus is in the relationship, emotional conflict, and character dynamics, so instrumental pieces that reflect those are well used.
…I love because her songs are pretty, subtle, and leave room for interpretation. Because they’re not all written out in strictly black and white terms I can associate them with several stories at once. Hold My Heart, Gravity, and The Light I can not only listen to all the blithering time, but they put me in the right mood for a story.
speaks sings for itself. It makes my heart soar away on a fluffy sunlit cloud to stores of dark rich chocolate that melt upon me as butter on hot toast. Then, when I’ve floated back down, it helps me write. Unless I’ve swooned into a happy oblivion. That happens sometimes.
…don’t judge. Every single one of her songs puts vivid pictures of stories in my head. Sometimes the story or scene I write has nothing to do with the actual song, but rather a third or fourth bunny trail that branched off from the scene that began in the song. There’s something about her music that helps the words flow. Probably for the very reason that her songs are stories. They get me imagining places and people outside of where I am at the time, making me explore new scenarios. From there it all just… takes off.
…is similar to Taylor Swift in that his songs evoke a sense of story. Plus, he plays the piano. There are a lot of wonderful piano solos in his songs that equal loveliness. Also, like Josh Groban, he writes songs that give perspective on the male romantic. And I do love to write my men in love.
For particular songs, more often than not I’ll be so absorbed in a story that everything I hear reminds me of it. But there are songs that have an essence I believe captures specific characters, plot twisters, emotions, etc., in ways that forever link them in my mind.
To my chagrin, most of them are not mine.
Yep, that’s right. I spent most of last night skimming through my playlists (1,393 songs, equaling 91.2 hours) and was surprised to discover I have very few songs to associate with specific stories–of mine. As I stated, whatever I’m working on follows me like a vengeful ghost. The same song might inspire me to write four different stories that have next to nothing in common besides their creator.
Never fear, though! I managed to dig up a few!
By the way, most images people pick for the music are dreadful. Just shut your eyes while you listen and imagine epicness. =P
~Story: Wind Blessed~
Song: The Light -Sara Bareilles
Without saying too much about the plot (which I’ve been very secretive about thus far*) I must express the perfection of this song for Brisella. Now, instead of doing a rotten job of trying to summarize the story I’m going to ask you to listen to that song and tell me what you think it’s about. There are many right answers. Hint: This is a fantasy world with Tolkein and Goodkind influences.
Song: Home Sweet Home -Detektivbyrån
Red is my take on the tale of ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’ It’s about memories, finding your way home, and the sacrifices we make for love. (I’m trying really hard not to sound like a Hallmark film with my descriptions. I’m failing, aren’t I? ) The beginning is the end, so the reader will be wandering with Red as she puts together the pieces from her past and figures out who she is and where on earth she’s headed. This music is spot on. Whimsical, wintry, and with an eerie beauty. I will definitely be listening to this band when I write the rest of Red.
Song: I Brought This On Myself – Jon McLaughlin
Hehehe. Perhaps an odd song choice for a medieval fantasy, but mine involves a young king who wears his heart on his sleeve and has trouble understanding his new and aloof bride. I hear Torin in this song. The words don’t exactly express his point of view, but it’s the right irate, eye-rolling, exasperated groaning, stalking off in a huff sort of feel.
~Story: Brides of Plunder (Continuing story of Mandor in the Water)~
Song: Fog Bound – Pirates of the Caribbean
I really wish this wasn’t so recognizable, because I have a feeling everyone else just hears pirates. Despite the title of my story, it has nothing to do with pirates. The story I hear goes like this:
0:29 – 1:05: waiting in the water
1:05 – 1:40: stalking forward, rising out of the river, loooming over her
1:40 – 2:19 – a hinting of their future as she agrees to go with him
~Story: The Baffling Case of Miss Emma Browne~
Song: Never Saw Blue – Hayley Westenra
This song particularly enhanced the part where the doctor takes Emma up on a hill and they have a pleasant afternoon picnic discussing books and learning how to dance. It’s one of the turning points to prove Emma’s growth into a refined young woman. Plus, I just adore this song on its own so it plays a lot when I write.
~Story: The Lady of Winterlocke [title tentative]~
Song: Skamgreppet – Hedningarna
I’m challenging myself to write this story entirely in a notebook before I start transferring it to a Word document. Set in a medievalesque fantasy… village…? I suppose you’d call it, the story centers on a newlywed couple who are married as complete strangers. The young bride was raised by cloistered spinsters in a fortress, so it’s a culture shock for her to be brought to a place so remote and wild where the people are not very nice. One scene in my head has her observing a moonlight dance by other women in the village. Cue this song.
Other “Winterlocke” Songs
Heila (True Love)
Love Never Dies (I should apologize for even listening to this song, but it’s pretty, and… it works for this story. A STORY WHICH IS NOT PHANTOM!!)
And for those times when I can’t get my head on straight and am stuck in a writing rut, there’s always Helicopter. I’d feel much better, I’m sure, if I had a helicopter.
As a little bonus, here are some songs I’ve always wanted to write a story to but have not had the time nor the courage to try.
Sonny -Hayley Westenra
I want to make it poignant but not to the extreme the song implies. Something more happy-ending-ish. I haven’t figured it out, though. Mostly it’s there as vague, fleeting images in my head.
Back to December -Taylor Swift
Again, I want to turn this song into a story that ends happily. I have a much clearer idea of how I’d go about it; more miscommunication, less indignant cold-shouldering that leads to regret. But I feel to write it now would be cheating on my other stories that need me. Someday! Some cold, rainy December I’ll sit and write this.
Love Only Knows – Josh Groban
One word: Spies. That’s all I got.
*This has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve barely written anything past the first chapter. I have plans for this story. Big plans. THESE PLANS ARE EPIC AND GRAND!
“…The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you want to take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”
-A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
If anyone advises you (like a little voice from deep inside the reasonable corners of your mind) not to start two very large epic fantasy series at once… don’t. listen. Don’t listen if they’re The Sword of Truth and A Song of Ice and Fire series. I’m reading both sets and it’s so much fun! I’m not even getting characters mixed up, which is surprising!
Ned Stark’s Daughters on troll.me
BA DUM TSH! Yes, this proves my laziness tonight, but I have been working on this post diligently for days and I think I deserve to get away with some small effort funny. For those of you not in on the joke, Arya is the name of Ned Stark’s younger, less ladylike daughter. Now you understand why it’s funny. Although it’s too late and the moment’s passed, so go weep for your ignorance!