29 October, 2008

A Writer's Soundtrack: Musically Inspired

As long as I can remember, music has existed side by side with writing as one of my passions. While I only dabbled very uneducatedly in making music myself, it has played an important role in my personal inspirations as a writer. Often, I put together soundtracks to keep me company while writing, while also acting secretly as inspiration.

While dreaming up my NaNoWriMo plot bunny for 2008, a zombie apocalypse with a possible humorous twist, I dug into the dark side for bands like Tristania, Siren, Cradle of Filth, Old Man's Child, Type O Negative, Children of Bodon, Dimmu Borgir... you get the point. I've also got great zombie-themed songs like the Horror Pops "Walk Like a Zombie," Wednesday 13's "I Walked With a Zombie," and The Cramps' "Zombie Dance." I wanted to create a dark atmosphere with an air of hopeless beauty. Music like the above listed bands really gets me into that mood. I will probably also tune into AOL's streaming Halloween station from to time as well, despite the fact that Halloween will be over, because they play some great tunes.

As I was working on my last novel project (first draft down, major edits to go!!,) I listened almost primarily to country music. Artists like Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, Montgomery Gentry and Big & Rich were my soundscape, while creating the mood and atmosphere surrounding a successful young journalist who has forsaken family, friendship and love for her career until she's forced to return to her small hometown after her mother's death. Nothing like a little country music to get you depressed, but then turn around and lift you up as well.

I know a lot of people who can't even think with the radio on, but I couldn't imagine not having a backdrop of music weaving through my creative process--especially when exploring the emotional side of my characters. How much of a part does music play in your writing? Do you create soundtracks to help get you into and sustain the mood you're trying to capture?

In other news, for those of you writing about vampires, or simply looking for a great Halloween treat, check out this awesome page I did for Mahalo yesterday: Vampire Cupcakes Be sure to check out the links on bleeding vampire bite cupcakes! They are AWESOME!! I can't wait to get the stuff to make some of these for my niece and daughter. have I mentioned lately that Halloween is my favorite holiday.


Nicole Ireland said...

I completely understand where you are coming from, Jenny. I do the exact same thing when I'm writing. Each of the novels I've written have contained music that inspires me. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who does that.

Lelah said...

I'm doing Nanowrimo for the first time this year (v. excited!) and one of the first things I did to prepare was to make a "Writing Mix" on iTunes with songs that inspire me. I think it will help me condition myself--when I hear the first few notes of my mix, after a couple of days I'll know that means I need to get down to business and start writing.

Nikki Riles said...

I've sort of gone playlist crazy this year. I did a playlist for my overall novel (a lot of subdued creepy stuff, so mostly horror film scores) and then a playlist for each of my main charecters. I'm so close to creating a playlist for each of the big scenes in my novel that it's not even funny...I think I'm becoming addicted to itunes.