Music To Write By


Holy SNAP, it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo!  While technically I know this (because it’s October 22, for crying out loud!) things have been so crazy lately that it hasn’t had time to sink in.  Well, you know what?  I just passed by a calendar.  And there are, count them, nine days until NaNo! 

*cue incessant screaming*

No concrete idea yet, but a plot always manages to carve itself out of the stone.  There’s something that definitely helps it along, however: a soundtrack.

I like to write to unfamiliar music.  If I know the lyrics, then I concentrate on them instead of the story.  But there’s something about writing along to something you’ve never heard before, and all of a sudden you catch a strange lyric or two.  Magic happens.  Often music will serve as a sort of catalyst, and my piece will veer into exciting, unexpected directions.  I shiver just thinking about it.

My first novel was written to a rather odd soundtrack of Sufjen Stevens, Breaking Benjamin, and AFI.  My friend sent me a mix CD, and suddenly I found the main character’s theme song.  When I wrote a particularly intense scene, I looped that song and wrote the scene fast, furiously, and with tears running down my face.  Suddenly Ray was brought to life by AFI’s “Silver and Cold”.  The story was better because of it.

So!  Since there is a week and a half until NaNo, I am searching for new inspiration.  Would anybody care to join me on this search?  I’ll be making a NaNoWriMo music mix, and if anybody would be interested in a CD exchange, let me know!  Email me at mercedesyardley (at) gmail (dot) com and we can swap!  Let’s see how music shapes our imaginations.

On a side note, I suddenly have an unhealthy fascination with 90’s sitcoms.  Blossom, My So-Called Life, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose…why can’t I get them out of my mind?!  Oh, the horror!  The delicious, delightful horror!


Google history: cthulhu toys, korvapuusti, text to speech, ipod movie player glasses, double homicide, keppra side effects, parker lewis can’t lose, exquisite corpse

0 Comments on “Music To Write By”

  1. M…you can always count on me to come up with a righteous mix….I’ll try to get one together and in the mail by early next week for you….:)

  2. If I write to music, which isn’t often enough due to my other family members always being home and looking strangely at me if I suddenly start doing a Tom Cruise impersonation – you know, white socks, black sunglasses…- then it tends to be either 80’s, grunge, or classical music. I’m guessing you’re not overly interested in any of that.

    Good luck finding that plot!

  3. Shiney, I can count on you for anything! Thanks! 😀

    Ah, BT. You don’t know me very well. I am MAD about the 80’s, like grunge, and I play the piano and flute. I like almost everything, except for a lot of profanity. I have to be able to play it around my family.

    The Tom Cruise image made me laugh, though. I see you in a new light. 😉

  4. ————–
    At some point I began to need silence to write. I don’t know when or how it happened, but it’s not very convenient with my four kids.


  5. Sometimes music is what I need, other times it’s not.
    Music that helps me;
    1. Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings scores.
    2. Thrice’s “The Alchemy Index” – mainly the “AIR” disc, there’s a few songs on there about Icarus who is a major obsession of mine.
    3. Michael Nyman’s compositions (music from Gattaca and The Piano)
    4. The Smiths’ track “Asleep”…it depresses me beyond all reason but it’s effective.
    5. Hilltop Hoods’ “State of the Arts” (their latest album, very summery…which is what it almost is here!)

    …definately get onto The Alchemy Index though, it’s so complex and each disc is so different it’s amazing. Pretty far removed from their previous stuff.

  6. Oh…I’ve been known to listen to the same song on repeat for hours while I write (yes, one song for hours).

    90s sitcoms. Too many college procrastination memories there.

  7. Wow….with your aversion to profuse profanity….I can’t believe you hang with us like you do. Sailor tongues we wield, and all…

  8. I used to have a huge crush on Joey Lawrence from Blossom – oops, did I say that out loud.

    I find it hard to write with music playing. I always end up singing and losing track.

  9. I’ve been lurking here for the past week or so after finding your blog via linkage from Angela Nelson.

    OMG – What a kick ass song! Thank you so much for mentioning ’cause it just got added to my iPod.

    I loved MY SO-CALLED LIFE “back in the day.” (I can’t really write that with any sense of credibility given my age, hence the quotation marks). While I no longer identify with the achingly earnest teenage angst the show embodied, there’s incalculable nostalgia attached every time I pull out my box set and re-watch those old episodes.

    Best of luck in this year’s NaNo!

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