This is topic Musical lnspiration While Writing in forum Open Discussions About Writing at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Owasm (Member # 8501) on :
I play soundtracks while I write and will use the music to theme some of the scenes. I'm not experienced enough to know if that helps my writing, but it makes me write a bit faster and, I think, improves the pace.

Does anyone else use music for inspiration?

Any thoughts?

Posted by Rhaythe (Member # 7857) on :
I play either instrumental or some form of vocal chanting while writing. I can rarely ever write to music that contains lyrics that i recognize, as it ends up distracting me.

Some of my common favorites include:

Lisa Gerrard
Harold Budd
Hans Zimmer
John Murphy
Steve Jablonsky
ES Posthumus

Posted by Jeff Baerveldt (Member # 8531) on :
I like to listen to music -- only instrumental, usually the Lord of the Rings and the Braveheart soundtracks -- as I brainstorm ideas for characters, settings, and plot turns.

But once I start writing the actual draft, I generally have to write in silence. Every once in a while I'll tune into the New Age Instrumental Chanel on Pandora. It's pretty banal stuff, but I find it's great for writing.

However, I have heard of writers using iTunes to develop playlists for different things -- a battle-writing playlist, a romance playlist, and even different playlists for the different POV characters within a novel.

Though I haven't tried it, I can certainly see how using a playlist for different POV characters can be helpful to capture the emotional dimensions of those characters.

Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
At last count, I had about thirty-five hundred songs on my iTunes. (My iPod has about two or three hundred less...I'll load the difference into it sometime before I go on vacation in May.)

Some of those songs have played a role in my work...I just wish I could remember which ones right now.

Posted by Brad R Torgersen (Member # 8211) on :
I thrive on music as an aid to writing!

Especially electronic and ambient music, though symphonic soundtracks are good too.

Lately I've been enjoying (re-enjoying?) my Harold Budd collection. The man is the crown prince of sonic "wallpaper" music.

Posted by Brad R Torgersen (Member # 8211) on :

You are probably already on top of this, but Budd has been doing some outstanding new collaborations with different artists.

Do you have the two albums Budd did with Robin Guthrie? Gorgeous stuff.

Ditto for "Song for Lost Blossoms" with Clive Wright.

I adore Budd and have been a huge fan since 1989.

Also also, if you haven't already, check out the Steve Roach & Roger King album, "Dust to Dust"

If you liked "By The Dawn's Early Light" I can almost guarantee that you will like and enjoy "Dust to Dust."


Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
I should mention---I suppose---that I'll listen to music while writing, or web surfing, or typing this out. (That or have the big TV in my living room going.) I'll, essentially, listen with one part of my brain while concentrating on what I'm doing with the other. My focus will vary...sometimes whole songs or shows go by without my noticing them.

This habit goes back to my early writing days, when I used to put three albums on the spindle of my record player---all it could hold---and let it go. Thank God for iPods, these days.

Posted by Greenscreen (Member # 6896) on :
I have considered using music myself the same as is described here. To get character moods etc... Sometimes I draw inspriration for a story from a song, or music video. Sometimes I have tried fitting scenes from a story into context with a specific song it can be quite interesting to see where that takes you.

Also Robert HaHa I do the same thing but I have to use Youtube.

Posted by rich (Member # 8140) on :
Music of the industrial/punk/techno type, interspersed with Big Band music; basically my workout playlist, which is also my writing aid.
Posted by SchamMan89 (Member # 5562) on :
I don't listen to music while writing because I'll get distracted. I like to perform the actual writing in complete silence. However, while planning or preparing myself, it is necessary for me to be listening to something.
Posted by skadder (Member # 6757) on :
I do best with instrumental, classical stuff. But I do listen to some movie soundtracks. I really like 'Lost In Translation'.
Posted by Natej11 (Member # 8547) on :
This is going to sound funny, but while I was listening to a Powerman 5000 song called "When Worlds Collide" I had an idea for turning the inane battle scene I was writing into a novel about a sort of world-to-world conqueror invading a world just as it was about to collide with another, both inhabited, and the complete chaos that follows.

I usually end up listening to the song again every time I work on the story.

Posted by Jeff Baerveldt (Member # 8531) on :
Natej11's entry reminded me of this anecdote.

When Joe Hill started working on a story that eventually became his novel, Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" started playing on his iPod.

It just shows that ideas are everywhere.


Posted by BoredCrow (Member # 5675) on :
I generally listen to any sort of instrumental or ambient music. My very favorites are Delerium (early albums) and Zoe Keating.

I highly recommend Zoe; she plays the cello and layers it over on itself. It's absolutely gorgeous.

Posted by DCMorphis (Member # 8553) on :
So far for me I like to have either Classical or Enya playing in the backgroung. Like some others have mentioned, vocals that I can recognize distract me too much with what I'm working on.

I say, "so far for me," because I've been writing soft material, and that sort of music has helped with the fluidity of my "soft material" thoughts. I have absolutely no problem writing emails and other types of material to different types of music.

I think music has a strange power over the mind. I've noticed a stark difference between my writing with and without the influence of music. If I ever got into hard writing, I can't imagine still writing to classical or Enya. I'd have to have some kind of metal techno (does that exist?) or machine sounds, or maybe military sounds . . . Can you imagine writing twisted mental material to the sounds of machine guns, choppers, and explosions?

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