View Full Version : Does music influence what you write?

08-04-2010, 09:27 AM
I was wondering if other people on here had songs or albums that had a strong affect on something they had written. I thought it might be fun to share the music that helped shape a scene or a WIP and it might be a good way to check out some new tunes as well. A couple of songs that have helped influence me are "To Build a Home" by The Cinematic Orchestra and "Lost" by Anouk. Anybody else have some they want to share?

08-04-2010, 07:22 PM
I listen to a lot of movie and television soundtracks when I'm writing. Sometimes a piece of music will inspire a certain scene, and sometimes when I'm writing a certain scene I'll want an appropriate piece of music on in the background. Like action-y music for a battle scene.

Michael Davis
08-04-2010, 08:50 PM
I use music in my dungeon where I go into my fictional world to write romantic suspense. There is always music playing in the room because I have to keep my muse mellow or she cracks her whip at me (shes very Gothic and demanding).

I have referenced songs inside my stories because they engender a particular construct I'm going for in a passage, often with the song playing in the background of the scene.

08-04-2010, 10:11 PM
I tend to listen to music when I write, and I've noticed recently that what I'm listening to does not change *what* I write, but it does change the *voice* with which I'm writing.

For example, if I'm writing comedy I need happy, uptempo music. For horror I want depressing stuff with fuzzy rhythms. I can force myself to write when the wrong music's playing, but I'll be more likely to go back and fix that section later to get the voice right.

Chris P
08-04-2010, 10:18 PM
Usually it's the other way around. Songs that were popular tend to get associated with what I'm writing at the time. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes if doesn't.

08-08-2010, 07:36 AM
I'd be lying through my teeth if I said the music I listen to hasn't inspired a story or two. A short story I wrote for a class mingled some recurring themes in Dream Theater's music with Poe's story "The Fall of the House of Usher" and gave me something new.

I also have an inkling for another story as a result of their music, but I won't know what to do with it until I begin writing. It feels like it may be another short, though I'd like to write a novel.

Music tends to be influential on me in many varying degrees, as there are a lot of songs that I attach personal significance to, whether it just relates to me personally, or whether I associate it with a memory of a person or time in my life.

Said The Sun
08-08-2010, 07:47 AM
Whenever I need to go deep and it doesn't come naturally; I play this, —and then I'm there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikVeY0brtXU Go bloody figure.

Margarita Skies
08-09-2010, 05:31 AM
Yes. Some of my current and future stories are based on storylines of songs. Some of them. Not all of them.

08-09-2010, 06:06 AM
Music greatly affects my writing, but I can't stick to one or two songs for an entire novel. The songs change depending on the scene I'm writing, the atmosphere I want to create, and the characters are using. Often, if I'm stuck on a scene I'll find a song that really fits the mood of the scene and start from there.

If I'm really deep in the page, it doesn't matter what music is playing. I just go. It's awesome.

EDIT: Funnily enough, I've been able to write through anything EXCEPT Beatles. I love the Beatles to death, but when they come on, even if I'm really deep into the story, my fingers just halt and I have to change the song.

08-09-2010, 07:21 AM
i have a playlist for each chapter to set tone.

08-09-2010, 07:27 AM
When I spin out dark, descriptive parts I listen to a lot of soundtrack music. With other sections, I pick music that I could hear playing in the scene while the characters are speaking. I call this the 'movie effect', where you would hear low background music while characters interact. For example, I wrote this one section in which my characters were talking at a corporate gathering, and, having been to one of these myself, I pictured that jazz band that had played at ours and went off to find some music. I turned it on low and wrote the entire opening to that chapter just with that music.

08-09-2010, 08:23 AM
It's funny, I grew up VERY into music. In my late teens/early 20's, I played in bands. Then I worked in the record industry for 20ish years. And one of my screenplays (I co-wrote) was based in the record industry and revolved around musicians and record label execs.

But I can't listen to music when I write - it's just too distracting, especially when the moods don't match. I just like the soft, comforting whir of a fan.

08-09-2010, 08:27 AM
I do that when I can't find a song that's the perfect mood for the scene. In that situation I have to write at night for it to be entirely silent around here. I can't write at all if I hear the TV blaring in the other room.

Margarita Skies
08-09-2010, 08:56 AM
i have a playlist for each chapter to set tone.

That is pretty darn cool.

08-09-2010, 09:57 AM
absolutely. Lyrics of my favourite songs have inspired several scenes in my current WIP!

I play various songs to pump up the mood of the scene when I'm writing it too.

08-09-2010, 07:20 PM
Like Jam, I build playlists to set mood and tone and then listen to them either when writing or when cogitating on how to proceed.

Lyrics distract me in that context so I tend to use instrumental music, mostly from video games and movies. In my last project, for instance, I used Jason Graves' "Dead Space" for the parts that were horrifying, Brian Tyler's "Alien vs. Predator 2" for straight action, and a mix of other things for lighter moments.

Right now I'm planning a noir mystery I want to write for NaNo, so the playlist is being assembled. It's set in the 1930's, so the playlist has Gershwin, John Barry's "Body Heat," Jerry Goldsmith's "Chinatown," and, implausibly, selections of Halo 3 ODST (which has some lovely noir writing if you dig deep).

08-09-2010, 07:42 PM
My theory is: the best scene is which also can be described only with music after you read a part. Usually those became the best scenes where I applied this theory as when some of the beta readers listened the music what I used when I wrote that part, they said... yes, definitely this sort of atmosphere came into their mind when they read. So in my opinion, music can help a lot.

Because of this I always setup a long playlist. i.e. for my fantasy trilogy I have more then 190 tracks in that playlist. Different tracks for different chapters and key scenes. Plus it has it's own licensed tracks (It's on the website which can be found in my signature.) which is also helped me a lot to give the basic atmosphere of the world itself.

And sometimes I also merging "home made" voice overs and effects with the music to not just see in my mind, but also hear the scene what I plan to create (Like an effected audio novel.). It's helping a lot in the development.