How Much Does Music Influence Your Writing?
As a writer, I get asked this question quite a bit. As I work on the first four novels in what will be, at the very least, an eight book series, I do have a playlist I refer to when I am researching.
I have eclectic taste in music. It may or may not be the kind of music you like to listen to, but it’s truly all over the place. For book one, I have a 500 song playlist on my Kindle Fire. I listen to it at the grocery store, the nail salon, at home, in the shower, etc. I have the same playlist on my phone. Some songs really speak to the individual characters, and others just set the tone for the world in which I have created. I have a similar playlist on my computer, but apparently due to some cross over repetition, there are less songs in that particular playlist. That, or I never bothered to update it when I switched over to the new laptop. Since I tend to access it via my cloud, that’s probably why.
Do specific artists influence my characters? No, but a few songs are like theme music for them. I have that moment where I think “Ok, so and so is on the page.”, as if Elvis just walked into the building. But again, there’s such an eclectic mix that I’m listening to Halestorm one minute and something classical the next. I always have my music on shuffle, always. I cannot listen to it any other way, and much like bad TV, I will often skip over songs obsessively until I find precisely the one I want to listen to. At certain moments, a song is often on repeat.
Unlike many genre writers, I do NOT have music playing when I am writing. It’s irritating and distracts me from the task at hand. When words are playing out in my head, the music has to be paused, muted, or shut off completely. But prior to that, I often have something on for long, or short, periods of time. It just depends on the mood I am going for and whether or not something external is influencing my brain in the moment. It also depends on whether or not I am writing in the midst of a migraine, in which case, I want it as silent as possible and might actually be writing silently in a notebook with a pen.
I do not have individual playlists for each of my characters. I have songs that intensely remind me of them, but that’s pretty much where it ends. Because I have eclectic taste, I do not feel the need to weave a ton of music into my work. In book one, I think exactly two bands are mentioned in total. No music is mentioned in the beginnings of the other novels, but that doesn’t mean that won’t change.
The protagonist is, much like me, a music lover, but she tends to use music in the same ways that I do in her daily life. That wasn’t intentional, it just sort of flowed that way. Some of the other characters, if this wasn’t for book purposes, would have some pretty epic songs involved with their appearances if this were being written for television or movie purposes. Because the characters themselves have both visual, mental, emotional, and musical impact. I can’t describe it any better than that. The protagonist, perhaps, is a bit more meditational, a lot more internally verbal, yet still strong and influential.
My current musical influences as I write, at the moment, for different reasons, are The Band Perry, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood, Ed Sheeran, Miranda Lambert, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Snow Patrol. A very odd grouping indeed. Trust me, this can, and will, change on a dime.
Are there specific artists influencing your writing? If so, let me know who in the comments.
“How Much Does Music Influence Your Writing?” is copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
People have no idea exactly how serious I am about this!
Photo credit to M.J. Rose. If you haven’t read her books, I highly recommend them.