Like many writers, I listen to music for inspiration. Most of the time, I don’t actually listen to music as I write — I’m too ADD to focus on the words at my fingertips and listen to Rimsky-Korsakov.
I do, however, listen to music while I plan my stories. When I’m in the midst of Debussy’s Petite Suite, I’m really in the midst of a bustling 19th century city. When Muse’s Origin of Symmetry is blasting from my speakers, I’m transported to some futuristic dystopia or a far-off galaxy.
I let the music play, and I imagine a novel’s scene playing out like some movie montage.
For example, from my WIP, The Spirit-Hunters, there’s a high-tension scene in which the heroine, Eleanor, is running full-speed for her life. She’s just made a major flub-up, and now a a vat of nitroglycerin is about to overheat and explode — taking a whole dynamite factory with it.
Eleanor has never run before, and her lungs burn as she slams one foot in front of the next. And when I try to imagine the damp grass and mud beneath her feet, the wooden slats on a fence as she whips past, or her desperate gasps for more air, I play this piece (composed by Ilan Eshkeri for the film Stardust):
And of course, each story has it’s own specific playlist.
Now, you tell me: what do you listen to for your artistic inspiration? I definitely rely on movie soundtracks for inspirational musical scores.
Playlist for The Spirit-Hunters:
- Alice’s Theme by Danny Elfman (Alice in Wonderland soundtrack)
- Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92: II. Allegretto (Beethoven)
- Petite Suite: 3. Menuet (Debussy)
- Drive Away by Thomas Newman (Lemony Snicket soundtrack)
- Dance of the Young Kurds (Khachaturian’s “Gayne” Ballet)
- The Dragon Book by John Powell (How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack)
- Earthbenders by James Newton Howard (The Last Airbender soundtrack)
- Selbourne Wood by Adrian Johnston (Becoming Jane soundtrack)
- Dance of the Old Men and Carpet Weavers (Khachaturian’s “Gayne” Ballet)