Thursday, December 30, 2010

New music and new characters

For my birthday, my cousin's boyfriend gave me a bunch of old cds that he thought would make for good writing soundtracks. 

About ten percent of it will work for Doorways. 

The rest? 

The rest is pretty much the soundtrack for Guardian. 

It's great to finally have the music I need. To me, music is more than the backtrack of the book I'm writing. 

It helps me hear my characters. 


It helps me to FEEL my characters. 

In fact, nothing helps me to know my characters better than listening to their songs - particularly new songs. New songs tend to let me explore a new aspect of them. 


Easy. I hear a song and suddenly smile, realizing that the song fits a character somehow. Then it's my job to figure out why the song works so well. Random, but useful.

What do you do to figure out your characters?


  1. For some reason I sturggle to write stories with my characters that dono't fit in with the actual story.

    Music also helps me to get the words down, but nearly as much as it actually draws me into the characters and story.


  2. I feed off of music too. It's a great way to establish a mood in your subconscious. I also use the redundant time doing chores as a way to explore and play twenty questions with my characters. By the time the dishes are done, I usually have an entire scene plotted and ready to go!

  3. Music definitely helps me to feel my characters as well. I also tend to do a lot of character pre-work before I start the story itself ... interviews, finding photos that are as close to the image of the character as I can get having no artistic talent myself, researching names and any unspoken meaning it could have for the character's personality.

    I once had a writer friend who named each of her chapters a song title. As she'd go along, she'd collect the songs in a playlist and her writing would suddenly have a soundtrack.

    I tried that idea once for a story and I think it was some of my best writing, but not because of the soundtrack idea, more because it was something so utterly close to my heart.

    I have tried it since, but I am too technical about it so it doesn't work for me as well as does for my friend. I put too much effort into researching songs with certain meanings and spent less time writing.

  4. Music is always a vital part of my creative process. I listen to soundtracks while I write; the inherent dramatic tendencies lend themselves well to crafting fiction. I also compile a "soundtrack" for every story. Every time I hear a song that fits some aspect of the plot or characters, I pop it into a playlist folder. When the book is published, I post as many of the songs as I can on my website, via Playlist, to share with my readers. Here's the soundtrack to my medieval novel Behold the Dawn.

  5. Music moves me and is a huge part of my life. But these days, I need quiet to create, to write. All I really do is listen to the characters and write them down.

    I'm glad you have the impetus to move you forward. Yay!!

    ~ <a href=">that rebel, Olivia</a>

  6. Great to hear you found what you needed!

    I find that music helps me, too, although it usually helps me put tension and emotion into my writing. For characters, I usually put them into different scenarios, imagine all the possibilities and then listen to them and see how they'd react to said circumstances.

  7. I think music (the right music) can be inspirational on so many levels. In my case it’s very important, as one of my characters is a musician.

  8. Hi Misha
    Well, I am still new to the writing game but I usually put a character into a situation and see what they will do with it. If it doesn't fit, that's okay because I learn my characters strengths and weaknesses. It fun and I love it. Happy New Year to you and I hope you will finish your book very very soon. :)

  9. Hi Misha! Great post- I know exactly what you mean and have actually done a blog about the same thing a few months back. I too smile when I hear a song and instantly i feel this connection to a character. It's a beautiful thing. As another person above has said, images are also very powerful. I highly recommend "" for browsing interesting images, sometimes an image too will hit you. You see it and know you are seeing a part of your character or story. The images don't usually help me write or plot more (whereas music seems to be fuel a lot of the time), but it is still a nice connection.
    Happy new year!

  10. Music is really important for me as well. My characters come out when the music's on. I create better. Great post.

  11. That's an interesting idea Misha.I had not thought about that but it is a great point, our musioc does reflect our characters. Thanks for the idea. HAPPY NEW YEAR :O)

  12. Adriana I have tried to play twenty questions while washing dishes, but it doesn't really work for me. For some reason my mind wanders too far away.

    Tracy I look for hidden meanings in names too. In fact I have three baby name books and five websites that I use for this purpose. I also try not to spend too much time soundtrack building, although today has been pretty much spent on it. Sigh. But if I don't do it now, it will take months.

    KM I must say that I love soundtracks for writing, but I struggle to find them for some reason. So I will definitely check out yours so that I can see what to look for. Thanks. :-)

    Olivia I sometimes need to write without music too, but I hardly ever write in complete silence. It's difficult to explain why, though. Anyway, if I write without music, I find myself a busy area or write in front of the tv. But the tv hinders more than it helps. ;-)

    Golden, music helps me with the emotions as well, but rather than it just coming from the music (which it does), there's this aspect where I know from the music where the character is coming from.

    Blogger I agree with you completely. The music has to be right, otherwise it will just be a distraction. What kind of music does your character like?

    Hey Heather! That's a good way to get to know your characters. I used to do that too when I was younger and had to write essays, but I found that it works better to just go with the characters' flow, since they already know what they would and wouldn't do. Good luck with your writing. :-)

    Alison I must admit that I have never tried images before... hmmm... Maybe I should give that a shot! Thanks. :-)

    Thanks for the complement and for dropping by, Clarissa. :-)

    Always a pleasure. Madeleine. :-)

  13. I love using music to get a feel for characters and scenes. A new cd is always a great new opportunity for a whole new direction in a storyline, or a whole new character, or a whole new story altogether.

    I hope you enjoy all the stories the new CDs bring you!


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