Music & Lyrics · Uncategorized · Writing Snippets & Exercises

30 Days of Writing: Day 7

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.

  • Instrumental

…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.

  • Sara Bareilles

…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.

  • Josh Groban

…His voice 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.

  • Taylor Swift

…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.

  • Jon McLaughlin

…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. :P

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! :D

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 LightSara 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.

Other “Wind Blessed” Songs
Windancer
Game of Thrones

~Story: Red~
Song: Home Sweet HomeDetektivbyrån
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? :P) 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.

Other “Red” Songs
No One Knows Who I Am
Waking Dream
Romantic Flight

~Story: Tierelyss~
Song: I Brought This On MyselfJon 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.

Other “Tierelyss” Songs
Coronation
Feel

~Story: Brides of Plunder (Continuing story of Mandor in the Water)~
Song: Fog BoundPirates 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

Other “Brides” Songs
Dulaman
Viking Tones Icelandic Lullaby
När som jag var på mitt adertonde år
My Skin

~Story: The Baffling Case of Miss Emma Browne~
Song: Never Saw BlueHayley 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.

Other “Emma Browne” Songs
Princess Waltz
Serenade to Spring
Archery

~Story: The Lady of Winterlocke [title tentative]~
Song: SkamgreppetHedningarna
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)
Cursum Perficio
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.

SonnyHayley 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 DecemberTaylor 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 KnowsJosh Groban
One word: Spies. That’s all I got. :P

*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!

Featured Snippet

“…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!

Featured Image

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. :P 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!

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13 thoughts on “30 Days of Writing: Day 7

  1. I am delighted to hear you’ve got epic plans for Wind Blessed! I await the day when these plans turn into the written word. ;)

    Also, I think I understand the Mandor in the Water connection.

    1. I’m delighted with my plans, too! I only hope I can execute them properly. Or… timely would be the bigger issue.

      The movement of the music is perfect for the one-shot version that begins the story. So long as you can shake the pirate image from your head. ;)

    1. Yaaay!! She’s fantastic! Every time I listen to a song of hers I think, “This reminds me of -blank- story!” I need to buy her CD’s instead of playlisting on YouTube all the time.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment! :) I was hoping this post would help others who might be looking for some writing inspiration or just a daily dose of the musical.

  2. Ah muuuusic! :D You basically just have to say “writing soundtrack” to get my attention. Actually, come to think of it, just “soundtrack” would do! ;)
    Anyone who reads my blog probably hopes that I never do a post like this, seeing that I have 1237 (64h) soundtrack-tracks from movies and games alone. Add the trailer and other music that I enjoy to that, and you find over 4000 tracks. The amount that I would stick in a post like this… :P
    My firm favourites for writing remain the LotR ones, and of course Harry Potter. Especially the last one. I do also like the Game of Thrones music (I waaaant to read that series!), Pirates of the Caribbean, How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled and, of course, Skyrim.
    I should stop now, before this becomes a blog post! ;)

    1. “If music be the food of love, play on.” ;)

      I would not complain at all if you did a post like that! I love to see what people listen to while writing; it helps me find more musical inspiration! Oh, yes! :D My count was from my media player alone. It didn’t include everything on my mp3 player, YouTube playlists, and CD’s. I can’t even imagine how much music is on all those combined. I’d say enough to sustain one for life on a deserted island, but IT IS NEVER ENOUGH!! Books and music. There should always be more.

      I adore the Lord of the Rings music, but I have a problem disassociating it with that Middle Earth world so I don’t listen while writing. The Breaking of the Fellowship will always mean Sam is following Mr. Frodo to the boats. The Ride of the Rohirrim will always be just that.

      Oh my goodness!! I had Zelda’s Lullaby saved for one of these stories but it didn’t make it into the post. :/ I love all those things you listed, though. You should make that post! I would eat it up!!

      1. Well, perhaps I should. I’ll add this to the queue of posts that I want to do. Ha! It is always getting longer! And I’ll put at the top that everyone except Bethie will probably be annoyed by this post! ;)

        I just took WMP and told it to play my entire Soundtrack folder to get the amount of tracks. And not all my music is on my hard drive. So, my choice is wide! :D

        I luckily don’t really have a problem with associating the music with a certain movie. Though the Rohan theme from The Two Towers will forever bring my father’s voice into my head saying “That guy is really moth-eaten!” He was referring to when he first saw King Theoden sitting there in his hall in old age. It makes me laugh every time! :)

      2. Mine too! I think I have about 26 in-the-works posts that may never see the light of day! Heheheh! I like that plan! :D

        Excellent! Talking about music is making me want to go add more to my mp3… I don’t think I have much space left. :P

        HAH! That’s great! I think I have trouble with Lord of the Rings because it was the first big thing to impact me in the way it did. First time I learned actors names, first time I really payed attention to the making-of and soundtrack, first time I learned a new language (Elvish) and first time I had so many movie-crushes at once. :P

  3. I think that you should apologize for listening to Helicopter not Love Never Dies.

    How in the world can Hayley Westenra’s voice ever be described?

    And did you know that I have seen Josh Groban…. Live….in concert (andyouhavent)? :)

    1. What?! Helicopter is a fantastic song! You can’t tell me you never thought a helicopter would solve most of your problems!

      I’d start with angelic and move on to blissful and heart-rendingly gorgeous. Ethereal? ;) I’m a writer. You challenged me to describe something so I did.

      Ihateyou.

  4. Oh, and Never Saw Blue reminds me of Kronk: “Hey, did ya see that sky today? Talk about blue.” (hathatcracksmeup) :) And you should listen to this if you haven’t already, Piano Tribute to Marié Digby. Especially “Beauty In Walking Away”! Luvubye!

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