Soundtracks to your Novel
I’ve talked about music before. It is the BIGGEST influence on my writing. I like finding pictures, reading other novels, and watching movies, but ultimately, music makes me FEEL more than any other medium.
I love movie scores, orchestral performances, and opera. This part in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade literally makes me cry. Have you ever heard anything SO EPIC? (Especially the bit at 1:16)
And what about the Overture to Don Giovanni by Mozart? It’s dark and sneaky, and then at 2:36 it lifts to such joyful heights, I get chills all over!
All this musical love means that when I write, I set up play lists that I listen to on repeat. The music keeps me on track for the FEEL of the story, and it lets my imaganation run wild.
When I discover more tunes that inspire me for that particular novel, they get added onto the playlist in the proper order.
What do you mean by proper order, you ask?
I mean this: I write my novels in scenes. Each scene plays out in my head like a movie–especially the action and romance scenes! We’re talking slow-mo, zoom outs, camera angles, and everything (and no, I know nothing about film vocabb–can you tell?). As such, certain songs go with certain scenes.
For example, here’s a piece that I listened to A LOT while I wrote Something Strange and Deadly. This goes to a high energy scene in which Eleanor has just made a BIG decision that changes the course of the story, and now she’s gotta RUN FOR HER LIFE.
And this one is for The Kiss. This kiss hasn’t been written yet…it will come at the end of the Something Strange and Deadly series (and no, I won’t tell you who is involved in this kiss). In my mind, the world is tatters, the heroes are worn and exhausted, but they also know they have each other. They know they saved the day, and everything will get better…
If you’re interested in hearing more, I have the “soundtracks” on my Youtube page. Not every song is on there since not every piece was available on Youtube, but maybe you can discover some awesome new tunes for your own writing playlist!
You tell me: Do you have any musical pieces that inspire you? Do certain pieces go to certain novels or scenes? SHARE THEM!! I LOVE hearing more music!
May 4, 2011 @ 2:21 pm
The Battle of Agincourt from Branaugh’s Henry V is like listening to incarnate Courage. It’s a must have, if you don’t already own it.
For setting, I loved “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” throughout writing my novel, which is set in China. If I was writing a scene that required the character to continue on through exhausting trials, I listened to pieces from “Conan the Barbarian.”
I’m putting together a playlist for my next series, so this is all good to know. I’ve now requested Scheherazade. Thanks for the tip! ;D
May 4, 2011 @ 4:16 pm
Wow, thanks for the recs!! That Battle of Agincourt is fabulous–courage is right! I feel like going off to battle now… 😀 Seriously, though, awesome suggestions!
May 4, 2011 @ 3:18 pm
*pouts* I can’t see the videos from this computer. lol I’ll have to watch them when I get home, and I can’t wait!!! I love using music to set the mood for my writing.
May 4, 2011 @ 4:14 pm
Well, when you get home, share what YOU like with me!! I know you like classical, so I can haz??
May 5, 2011 @ 2:47 am
I’m fickle with my music. I will have a playlist for writing a new book, but once it’s done it’s like I can’t stand the songs anymore. Go figure.
For writing HNA I listened to mostly Celtic music…Jenny Crook, the Celtic Women, Hayley Westenra. Then for revising it was my Brahms station on Pandora.
For my new WIP I’ve been listening to Kate Nash and Lily Allen. lol SUCH polar opposites, I know! But the books are very different too.
May 5, 2011 @ 4:13 pm
Ooh, I love Hayley Westenra and Celtic Woman!! Awesome!! Do you listen to Enya? She’s one of my all time faves!
And I ALSO love Kate Nash and Lily Allen! HA! So very cool we like the same stuff. 😀
Sarah J. Maas
May 4, 2011 @ 9:16 pm
I freaking love Scheherazade. So. Much. Someday, you gotta read ALPHABET OF THORN by Patricia A. McKillip and listen to Scheherazade on repeat while you read…it fits the book PERFECTLY.
“Septimus” and “Forbidden Friendship” are two of my most favorite tracks to listen to for inspiration! And omggg, I got such chills listening to FF just now and thinking of The Kiss at the end of your series!!! *sniffle*
So much love for the DG overture. Have you heard the overture for Tannhauser? I literally almost blow out my speakers every time I listen to it because it just builds and builds into this awesome explosion (around the 2:20-ish mark) and you GOTTA listen to it as loud as you can.
And have you ever heard Danse Macabre? THAT is a piece to blow out your speakers to. So fucking amazing.
…I could seriously just go on and on about music, so I’m gonna stop myself before this comment just devolves into drivel.
Loved this post!! <3
May 4, 2011 @ 10:05 pm
Holy crap. I forgot about Danse Macabre. I LOVE that…must go purchase and add to playlist. I’m envisioning it will work well in the Paris scenes of book 2. 😀
Man, you and I are so alike with the music thing. It is WONDERFUL.
May 5, 2011 @ 8:33 am
I admit it, I’m a HUGE How to Train Your Dragon fan, score and all. I love that you use it for a kissing scene, so romantic!!
My soundtracks usually consist of Yann Tiersen songs (especially the score to Amelie) – such a variety of action and romance and sadness.
I’ll add the Stardust score to my To Be Listened To pile, fo sho! 😀 <3
May 5, 2011 @ 4:13 pm
::swoon:: Yann Tiersen. I LOVE his albums–especially the Amelie score. I feel so very French whenever I listen to it. 😉
May 5, 2011 @ 7:54 pm
Susan, I love listening to music when I write, too! I’m always baffled when people don’t mention music as a source of inspiration. For me, it’s tops. I usually will find inspiration in a contemporary song. Sometimes just one word in a popular song will set up the tone of an entire scene for me. I’ll listen to it on repeat while I draft the initial version of the scene.
Once the first draft is done, I absolutely CANNOT listen to music with lyrics. I find that my brain starts to pick up on the lyrics in the song and I can’t concentrate on perfecting the writing/revising. So…it’s then that I turn to ITALIAN LYRICS! Hahahaha! I love opera. Any kind. Particularly anthing by Andrea Bocelli. The emotion in his voice is wonderful. And when I listen to him sing, I have no idea what he’s saying so it works just great. 😉 I also like Vittorio Grigolo’s “The Italian Tenor” album.
May 6, 2011 @ 4:20 pm
Oh wow, that’s awesome! I love that a single word can dictate so much–ah the creative power of the brain!! And yes, I prefer lyrics I can’t understand either–makes it easier to focus on my own words!
May 5, 2011 @ 11:17 pm
I can’t believe how long we have to wait for your book to come out, Sooz. It’s depressing :C Very, very sad.
I make playlists for my stories, too 🙂 Usually, though, they don’t represent a particular scene, but more the feel of the story. It helps me when I want to get in the mood to for that story. But then there are some stories that require silence, like Spellbound, because it’s the only way I can see everything else my main character is supposed to see. I haven’t found anything witch-y enough for that one lol
May 6, 2011 @ 4:21 pm
Yeah, I can definitely relate to songs evoking the feel of the story–I have one like that for SCREECHERS. And no witchy music? Alas…of course, sometimes I need total silence too!
May 7, 2011 @ 3:27 am
I’ve never been able to write well with music, but I think that’s because I haven’t been listening to the right kind. The instrumental music has a lot of potential, but living in a household with about zilch in the instrumental music department, I’m at a loss as to where to look for it. Any tips? (And I love your selection! Particularly the last one.)
May 7, 2011 @ 5:35 pm
Oooh, well…I always recommend Vivaldi’s “Rain” from the FOUR SEASONS to “noobs”. Or Mozart’s MARRIAGE OF FIGARO if you want to try opera.
As per movie scores, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is soooooooo amazing!! Buy it–you won’t regret!!