Music is something that plenty of us enjoy. Many authors write with music and many consider it noise. Personally I sway both ways.
There are times where I imagine a scene like a movie and want the background music to help me. Here’s how:
Setting the Tone
I find this especially for somber or sad scenes. I’m a very exuberant person. I mean I do my text messages with kisses and hugs and all sorts of things. So writing a sad scene for me is tough. Yet my reviewers have often commented how heart wrenching certain parts of my book ended up being. Like Seoul-Mates, I remember having used Jisun’s track and it guts me every time I listen to it. But it helped me set the tone of Katia’s heartache and struggle to be accepted into a Korean family.
Identifying a Theme
Writing with music helps you set a theme. It gives your book a certain flavor. While I wrote about Cinders of Castlerea which will be out in October 2017 (yay) I had to get the Irish theme right. I was nailing the language, but I couldn’t get my head around the idea that I was writing in County Clare. No amount of book research inspired me. After listening to a few Irish songs and one in particular by Nightwish I could feel the fresh air across my skin in the emerald isle, savor the whisky and paint the scenes with rolling green hills and lush countryside amidst the backdrop of a fire setting maniac chasing my main lead, Anika.
Sometimes a tune or a song can stir powerful emotions. As you write, you think, “wow this makes me feel…..”Many times I listen to something and the music makes me run to my computer or notebook just to pen down what I’m feeling. For Under A Scottish Sky I practically heard Cherish the Ladies on repeat. It was just a song that stirred so much pain and feeling that everyone whose read it so far feels the emotion is sweeping. Even my cover reflects it perfectly. If a riff or a tune, creates something in you, makes you feel a certain way, reminds you of something, jot it down and listen to it again to see if you can recreate those emotions for your manuscript.
Music as a Character Trait
The music you listen to can also work it’s way into a character trait. For example if your character likes singing, or dancing to a particular song or is a fan of a band, it can always be added to your manuscript because it adds those details to people and it’s more than just hair color or eye color. It’s that tiny detail that gives your character another dimension.
As a Destressor
Sometimes if you have to transition from one mood to another or a fight scene to a love scene or simply want to get away from your writing, music can help you disentangle your emotions from your highly charged manuscript.
Rhythm and Lyrics
If you enjoy poetry and lyrics, then you know those words can help you write some powerful statements. It can help you string words in a rhythm you never thought of before. If you’re an author who’s writing prose or literary fiction, this can help you powerfully. As I write this post, I’m listening to Walk of Life by Dire Straits. I can’t wait to get up and jive to this right now. 🙂
Do you use music? How does it affect your writing?