Music is an amazing thing. There is something for everyone. It crosses languages, nationalities, and stigmas. Music touches every soul and seemingly heals wounds. It fuels your inner fire and can sooth your burns.
Today let’s talk about music!
So, every day you could ask me at any given moment what song is playing in my head and I could tell you. The songs range from rock to country to pop. Sometimes it’s even some stupid song… anyone remember the “Hamster Dance”? What’s my point? Music comes in many forms. So do stories.
Yup, I went there. Music is an amazing way to seek inspiration for your writing. I’m a big believer in reading outside of your comfort zone to grasp a wider view of the world. To deepen your characters and add variety to your amazing writing. But… I don’t always have time to read a new novel. I do, however have time to jam to a new song.
Music draws up visual images. (No, I don’t mean music videos.) When was the last time you sat down and listened to music and let your mind visualize whatever the song brought up? Maybe you’re a rockstar on stage, maybe it’s a ship on the seas, maybe you’re arguing with the world. There are many fun moments songs bring to mind.
Can’t break that genre bump? Try this. Here’s a playlist I had fun jamming to.
The Corrs – When the Stars Go Blue
Flo Rida – Apple Bottom Jeans
Skillet – Monster
Paramore – Grow Up (Or any other song they have…)
Halestorm – Here’s to us
The Dixie Chicks – Goodbye Earl
Zetta Bytes – When the Rain Falls
Saliva – Ladies and Gentlemen
Tool – Lateralus
I know! It’s a mash up playlist. But I look for songs that have a visual feel. Whether it is in a club, in your mind, in a circus, or just something that draws a very good picture. Your novel should reach out in a way that causes your readers to “feel” an emotion. Paint with music.
Don’t use the lyrics as your story. One thing that gripes me is when someone writes a song in their story. Every person who reads that passage will create their own tune to it. But I digress…. Instead take the mental image from what you’ve heard and re-write it for your needs. Listening to your playlists while you write can bring about ideas for story conflict.
Take, for instance, the song ‘Here’s to Us’:
“Here’s to all that we kissed
And all that we missed
To the biggest mistakes that we just wouldn’t trade
To us breaking up
Without us breaking down
To whatever’s come our way”
Now what would make someone say those words? What mistakes? What have they conquered through fire?
Or take ‘Monster’:
“The secret side of me, I never let you see
I keep it caged but I can’t control it
So stay away from me, the beast is ugly
I feel the rage and I just can’t hold it
It’s scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls
It comes awake and I can’t control it
Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head
Why won’t somebody come and save me from this, make this end?”
I LOVE this song! It makes you feel a thrill that this person is about to explode in to Mr. Hyde or the Hulk! What are they hiding? What does it look like? It says “It’s scratching on the walls”. Can you see those rugged, rough claw marks? The tears in wall paper and holes in wooden doors. Could this be fodder for your scary story? Or could you add it to a character who is lacking something?
Use music for your benefit. It is an extremely valuable resource!
Side note: Am I the only one who has ever lost a playlist when switching devices? Then you have to try to remember which ones you lost, where to find the ones it took you years to track down to begin with, and what version you originally had. Ugh…. First world problems.
Have a good one!