Creating a soundtrack for your writing.

Creating a sound track for writing has been brought up in several different places during this NaNoWriMo. I am sure it has been asked before and I am sure it will be asked again in the future.

Here is MY take on finding the perfect soundtrack to writing.

Spotify? iTunes? What is best to use?

That totally depends on what works for you.

If you can afford to purchase the music you want through iTunes, that is awesome! I have a few things I have bought through iTunes because I love the music and wanted to show my love to the musician in a monetary fashion. As a fellow artist I have no trouble supporting other artists. I just happen to be a low-income artist at this point. I personally can not afford to buy the music I love or that works for the moment for me. If you can, I strongly encourage it!

There are a few other platforms to use when looking at music to support writing. Pandora is awesome for those who like to be inspired by random music selections. You can customize the station to play things you enjoy and select the right ‘mood’.

I use Spotify. I love that I can find music that fits what I am feeling and can tailor the playlists to accommodate the ambiance I am trying to achieve in the scene I happen to be working on. (More on that later in the post)

The trouble with both Pandora and Spotify are the Ads. They can interrupt a good groove when they come in the middle of a great set of songs. They are random and can be irritating. I encourage you to purchase the full versions of these great music platforms if you can. Again artists supporting artist is best. The ads are the way that both Pandora and Spotify can offer the music they do for free. It helps pay the bills. Think of them like radio you can tailor to your specific music wants.

For me getting started with something motivational is a must. Eminem’s – Lose Yourself (found a vid on YouTube) – I have found this is the perfect song for me right now to motivate. It fits where I am in my life and my writing. Reminds me to grab the moment and succeed. It really speaks to me, one line in particular hits home…

“…amplified by the fact that I can’t get by with my 9 to 5 and I can’t provide the right type of life for my family cuz man these goddamn food stamps don’t buy diapers…”

“Success is my only mother fuckin option failures not.”

“…Cuz opportunity comes once in a lifetime…”

From there I have to examine where I am trying to be emotionally in the scene I am working on. Is it action packed? Fighting with short sentences and needing a feeling of urgency?

Techno or Dance. Something that gets the blood flowing and makes you want to get up and move. (Standing to write like Hemingway  had to during these scenes also might help give you a feeling of action.) I write and groove at the same time, the words come at the rhythm of the music. (Like right now listening to LMFAO’s Sexy and I know it hehe)

Do I need to be crying and emotionally unstable to match the mood of my characters? Or even to get the characters in that frame of mind?

Side note: I use to LARP (Live Action Role Play: Acting on impulse based on a set character profile) and in order to get myself into the mind of the character I was playing I would listen to music on the way to the event. I played a werewolf so I found music that fit. Metallica was a big hit for that character.

Before you start writing, think about where your scene is emotionally for you as the writer. What is the emotional state of your character? How about the ambience of the scene? Is it dark and foreboding? Or bright and full of rainbows and fairy dust?

Take time to just listen to a variety of music and find out how it makes you feel. Where does it put you emotionally? Find out where the music sends you and keep notes on what music/musician/bands say to you. Then you will know what to pull up for the writing.

Another way to use music is to think about what kind of music would your MC like? What would they be listening to driving down the road? Do you like the same things they do? Try listening to something you think they would like that maybe you would not.

Where is your character from? Germany? Big in the dark industrial and rave style music. How about Seattle? The home of Kurt Cobain and Nervana. Home of Grunge and garage bands.

Does your character play an instrament? What kind? What does it sound like?

When you know these things about your character and yourself, then you can start to put together music that will help you create the environment you want in your story.

What kind of music do you use when you write a scene that is suppose to be creepy? Leave a comment and share!

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2 comments on “Creating a soundtrack for your writing.

  1. I tend to go with soundtracks more than anything else when I’m cranking out wordcount, but generally it’ll always have a heavy bass line running through it – Bear McCreary’s BSG soundtrack, Van Helsing, that kind of thing – but the style doesn’t always need to match the words, it’s more a pace than a mood enhancer.

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