Friday, October 1, 2010

Today I felt like blogging about something writerly.

Yes, I finally tired about writing about my life and how weird it is at the moment.

So I decided to write something about being a writer.

And then realized that my weird life is a writer's life and so it qualifies.

So I decided to write about writing.

And ran into a dead end.

OK... let me think...

Right. Here we go...

Certain songs always make me want to write. Other songs just remind me of my character so much that it feels like they're kicking my subconscious to remind me to write about them.

Yes, I know it's still early, but I woke up and pressed play to Muse.

And I must say that I love them. Their music is so emotional. Their lyrics are poetic - which is becoming rarer and rarer in these modern times.

It's also perfect that their songs seem to have been written for Darrion. (No, he doesn't sing in a falsetto.) But he tends to think about things that are themes in their songs. And of course, if you want to hear the most BAD-ASS song ever (and I'll be disappointed that you haven't heard it yet.), get Yes Please now. I'll give you a few minutes to enjoy...

With my homage to Muse out of the way. Let me move on to 30 Seconds to Mars. Their new CD This Is War always feels epic when I listen to it. (I'm so proud that I'm yet to mention that Jared Leto is the hottest male ever to grace guy-liner.) Oops. Moving on swiftly and with style... Kings and Queens is probably the song that sums Doorways up. It's all about potential, dreams and fighting for what you believe in. 

In the beginning, Callan is avoiding relationships with everyone. And then something happens... But I'm not going to spoil the story for you. But just because of her mixed feelings about love and relationships, her song is Love is Only a Feeling by the Darkness. There's another song, sung by the Veronicas that becomes her song as the story progresses, but due to the fact that some might catch on to what will happen, I'll leave that one up to your imagination. 

Gawain gets another Muse song called Unintended. It's one of their more relaxed songs, but that's not the reason why I picked it. See... Gawain, the cynical puppet master and person reader is going to run into his worst nightmare - someone he just can't understand. 

James's story is all about being pushed to leave a legacy, which is why Linkin Park's Leave Out All the Rest is his song. 

Another one of their songs, With You is another Bad-ass song. It sounds like a soundtrack to the relationship between the three first mentioned characters. They might not get along very well, but they're sticking together no matter what someone is throwing their way. 

And last but far from least, Ward. He's going through the same training as his best friend, James, but he's the one that changes the most from it - with as yet unknown effects on their friendship. A song that perfectly captures this is Right Before Your Eyes by Hoobastank. 

Those are far from the only songs that I listen to when writing. In fact, every character has a sound track at least three hours long that tracks their progress through the major plot points. Listening to music and thinking who it reminds me of and why is one of the ways that I get to know them. I also just pick songs that give me certain feelings, like joy or sadness - even fear and anger, so that I can easily summon up the emotions when I have to write difficult scenes. 

How do you get to know your characters? Do you also use music? If you do, what songs do you love and why?


  1. It seems like Muse is a muse for a lot of people. I never got into them myself.

    I use music as inspiration and to get into my characters' mindsets all the time. Depends on the scene or mood which song I go for though. But Evanescence seems to have a song for everything. Also, Lady Gaga ... can't go wrong with her. Oh, and Paramore.

  2. I love music while I write but it generally has to be instrumental. For that reason I like soundtracks. I LOVE to write to The Dark Knight soundtrack in particular.

  3. Quinn I love Evanescence (but mainly stuff from their first cd) and Paramore. I think Muse is a bit of an aquired taste. I've met many more people that don't like them than those that do. Most that do like them are writer's though...

    Lynda I can imagine that The Dark Knight soundtrack is great for writing. I loved it. I'd love to get my hand on the Inception and Sherlock Holmes soundtracks.

    Thanks so much for commenting!

  4. See, I understand this. I'm playing the Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 to death at the moment. The day I started writing NEAR EDGWARE I put on BLISS by Muse. I wanted Jess to be it all, to have it all, so I could systematically rip it all away.
    I'm a big fan of Glasvegas - SADLIGHT gets a million plays. If you are writing angst at Christmas time/ in winter - their Christmas mini-album is a must (swearing notwithstanding).

  5. Music is so important while I write. Without it... I can't. Sounds like you have some great songs!

  6. Elaine I love all three parts of Exogenesis. BTW I must say that I pity Jess. It's hard to fall that far...

    I've never heard of Glasvegas, but I'm so going to check them out.

    Same here, Melissa. If I don't have background music, that white noise the buzzes in my head threatens to drown out my characters...

  7. Hi Misha! This is such a good idea! Getting to know my characters using music! :) I do use music to put myself in the mood to has to be instrumental, though, and very very soft kind of instrumental music - like piano or harp or sax. If it's too noisy, I won't be able to concentrate. Thanks for sharing this and bits of your story. I love it! :)

  8. Hey Len I sometimes like instrumental music if I can't seem to excercise the butt in chair principal. I tend to like classics like Dvorak, Haydn and Vivaldi.

    Usually, though, I need exciting music since what I experience in reality often manages to worm its way into my writing. So calm is not good when I'm for example writing James, who's always jittering or Darrion, who's usually only calm AFTER his punched out whoever irritates him.

    I'm glad you like the bits I'm writing about my story. I'm constantly worried that I'm giving away too much of the story. It won't do at all to spoil it for sixty plus people. ;-P

  9. I think music is always inspiring-- but I can't listen to it when I'm working on a novel. I need to be in the zone. Free and clear. Blogging, however, is another story. Anyway, I do create playlists for my MSs. My MG book, King of the Mutants, has a lot of old rock – the Clash, Iggy Pop, Bowie, the Stones. My memoir is a mish mosh.

  10. Samantha I have no idea how you write in silence. If I can't listen to music, I find a crowd, settle right in the thick of it and write.

    I have to have noise.

    Love the old school rock :-)

  11. I sometimes listen to music when I write it depends on what I'm writing. It usually has to be instrumental though or I get distracted!

  12. I don't know any of those songs, does that make me old, probably. I already new my male character who thinks my heroine is the end and all when I heard several songs that made me think, if this becomes a movie, they should play that song when he is missing her. One is Annie, by John Denver and the other is sung by Josh Groban, but I can't remember the name of it. It's way too early here and I got four hours of sleep.
    PS. The link to Francine's blog is working now if you click the word, here.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  13. Music is instrumental (ouch, bad pun) in my writing, Misha. And while instrumentals like DARK KNIGHT or LAST SAMURAI are excellent to write by, I also like the stirring lyrics to songs by WITHIN TEMPTATION, NIGHTWISH, LEAVES' EYES, and TARJA.

    And N. R., I have used Josh Groban, especially LET ME FALL. Don't we all make movies of our novels in our heads?

    Thanks for visiting and following my blog, Roland

  14. You have great taste in music! I love all those songs. Mine have been Radiohead, Paramore, Foo Fighters (my fav band). I've been obsessed with a cover of "Running Up That Hill," by Placebo. Sooo good! I never write without music. It's a great muse ;o) Like the band.

    Great post!

  15. Cool post. I don't really use music to get to know my characters but know lots of writers who do. I tend to have conversations in my head with my characters when I'm out running or walking. When I'm writing, I ususally in a quiet place. That's what works for me!

  16. Oh my soul I just deleted my novel of a reply... *cries*

    Laura I get what you mean about writing with instrumentals. If I have to write something like an academic essay, I can't listen my usual music.

    Nancy I'm sorry to hear that you slept so little. I love Josh Groban. His voice is incredibly pure. Thanks for the link. I'll definitely check out her blog.

    Roland I love puns in all there shapes and styles, so no need to apologize for them here. I love your bands! Thanks for dropping by.

    Thanks for your complements Erica, I love your music taste too.

    Paul I think it's awesome that you converse with your characters. I'm trying to talk to mine more...

    Laraine I wish I knew how to write in the quiet, but I'm unfortunately much too noisy...

    Thank you all for dropping by and leaving comments!



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