Friday, February 26, 2010

Your Writing Soundtrack?

What's with the pic, you ask? I just googled "girl listening to music", and when I found that one I just had to share it. That's the subject of today's post. Music.

This is a new one for me. I've been listening to a lot of music while I'm revising my projects. Music with words, people, WORDS! Not just the Soundscapes Channel (tm) on my cable TV. ;)

When I'm drafting, lyrics usually distract me from the words that I want to fill an empty page with. Right now, none of my projects are in the drafting stage, and while revising my urban fantasy, I found myself listening to music I thought my MCs would like. This novel has four distinct pov characters, and music--instead of being distracting like it is while I'm drafting--actually helped me to bring out their personalities more.

This is a pretty recent phenomenon for me, though I did experiment with non-instrumental music while revising STRINGS, listening to a lot of Gogol Bordello and Nina Simone. A weird combination, I know, but it worked for me.

While writing my urban fantasy, each character had such a distinct personality that I got more out of a soundtrack I love but hadn't listened to in a long time--not since I put it on my phone, of course! I know, I am sooo hi-tech. It's the Shortbus Soundtrack, a movie by John Cameron Mitchell (of Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame. Adults, check Hedwig out if you like rock and roll and issues of identity all wrapped up in one glam package), which has so many great songs by artists I'd mostly never heard of before. It was the perfect compliment to my MC's various tastes in music.

Funny how I never appreciated music for helping me to create personality as well as mood, but it's definitely working.

Do you find this is true with your writing?

My current problem is figuring out what kind of music Evie likes. I'm not exactly sure. I've only just realized how important it is for me to know. But what kind of music does a 17 year old girl these days listen to? Especially one who's a little brainy and thinks she's boring, but with a stubborn streak. I don't know where to start. Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hmmm. I've never been able to listen to music while I write, either. Maybe I should try it when I revise. :-)

Tamika: said...

I'm with Shannon. I can't listen to music while writing, it plays on my nerves. Silence is the best music for me.

And I'm so thankful I don't have a seventeen year old yet!

Angie said...

I almost always listen to music while writing, all different kinds, but I never thought of listening to the music that my characters would like. That's a really great idea. I have a son who's almost seventeen. He likes jazz. But then, he's a jazz musician, so that's why. I love the picture you posted. Very cute.

L.T. Elliot said...

I love music and I do this same thing about picking their personal soundtracks. I'm not sure about what your char. might listen to though. Maybe Taylor Swift?

Elana Johnson said...

I always have music on. Or noise --my kids watching TV or something. Words always. Music without words only belongs in movies. *wink*

Abby Annis said...

I'm the opposite. I almost have to have music with words playing while I write. The silence is too distracting. Plus, it helps maintain the tone of the story for me. But when I'm revising, I need the silence, or something without words, preferably just piano solos.

Great post! Sorry I don't have any suggestions. My kids are too young, I think. They're into Selena Gomez and Jonas Bros. Boy will I be glad with that phase ends. I almost just spelled phase as faze. :-S You could try listening to local stations. Maybe something will click that way. Good luck!

Kristin Rae said...


Check out Eisley. They are one of my favs. (The name Evie reminded of them, too)

Tere Kirkland said...

Thanks for the suggestions, y'all! I just discovered the show "My Life As Liz" on MTV, which I'd never even heard of. Guess I don't watch much MTV, lol.

Not only is the MC adorable and snarky, yet vulnerable, the songs playing in the background are id'd on the bottom of the screen. LOVE IT! Never thought I'd say this but, THANKS, MTV!