Soundtrack for Writing

I was working on revisions last night and it wasn’t going well. In part, I’m not used to organizing my utterly unstructured scenes into something like the W plot. But eventually, I determined that it was also that I had A Capitol Fourth on the background. It was the wrong music. It was not the manuscript’s soundtrack. I couldn’t think my story to John Philip Sousa.

Do you use music for writing? Do you have a certain genre that inspires you? Do you have songs for certain characters or types of scenes?

For your listening pleasure, I’ve embedded the key songs that I associate with Together Is Enough after the break.

The arc of the heroine, Keira, can be summed by Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity.”

My hero, Brennan, has two theme songs: “Bella Donna” by the Avett Brothers and “Say It to Me Now” by The Swell Season.

I also spent a lot of time listening to “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri, “Ill With Want” by the Avett Brothers, “Losing You” by Bob Schneider, and “Feelin’ Love” by Paula Cole, depending on the mood of what I was writing.

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4 thoughts on “Soundtrack for Writing

  1. Ah, music and writing. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. Most of My Dear Sophy (my new novel) was written with silence as the only backdrop. But I also get inspired by soundtracks from movies. I’ve been generally inspired lately — not only for writing — by the soundtrack from Master and Commander. I also like the soaring John Williams score from Jurassic Park. I haven’t experimented yet with theme songs for particular characters, but I like the idea.

    Personally, I think music, like you’ve said, can really set the tone and get you quickly into a specific mood.

    • Movie soundtracks are great because they’re all about mood without intrusion. Sometimes I have to switch to classical music or go to silence because lyrics get in the way. (Though I sometimes find silence distracting; I must have some sort of post-modern ADD. I need distraction to focus.)

      I love the soundtrack to Pride and Prejudice and listen to it when I’m working a lot. I have a playlist for the project I’m working on now that features most of The Civil War and the instrumental tracks from Cold Mountain.

  2. Yes! I know that it’s sacrilege in many circles — and rest assured that I love Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth — but I think the 2005 is the best adaptation of P&P.

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