Laughter and books make life a little easier

Writing soundtrack

Welcome to the first post where I am not going to draw anything or share a short story with you, but rather write about how I write. Remember I said I wanted to start sharing more of this, something which I only got a taste of during NaNoWriMo?

 

This post was inspired by something that I read over on Bethie’s HASH. She is busy with a writing challenge on different questions (Check it out, it’s really interesting if you are a writer!). The one that matters now was the one about writing and music with the question:

Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

 

I was obviously all hugely excited by this post and eventually Bethie convinced me to make one too. So now I’m doing it. And probably blaming it on her as well.

(This is going to be long.)

Writing and music

 

Certainly I listen to music whilst I write. What would I be without the music I write to? That was a tad overdramatic perhaps, but it makes my point. I need music whilst I write – it is very seldom that I would write in silence.

I am also not the only one who feels this way, and neither am I the only one that begins to hear stories in music. One of my favourite authors, Diana Wynne Jones, said,

The Magicians of Caprona was odder than most, because I heard a piece of music and thought, ‘That ought to have words,’ and the story came into my head as I thought it.

 

I tend to pick what I listen to by need and theme, rather than any other reason. And I’ll admit it: I don’t like conventional, modern music. There will be the occasional pop song that I like and also the occasional rock number. But in general, I don’t like having to listen to those things. What I do like, is soundtracks. I’m crazy about the things actually. I believe that soundtrack-music plays such a large role in any theatre experience (it builds everything from emotion to tension) that it should get more recognition than it does. The only part of the Academy Awards that I am really interested in is the Oscar for Best Soundtrack. I remember being furious at the judges’ choice last year.

Thus, this means that the title of this post has a double meaning: not only does the music serve as a soundtrack to my writing, the music is also a soundtrack in its own right. And yes, before someone points this out to me in the comments, I do know that the correct term for the music to a film is “score”. I just don’t like that word. It’s not descriptive.

 

Though soundtracks do make up the majority of what I listen to at any time, not just when I’m writing, I do listen to other things as well. I like a bit of instrumental metal sometimes and also some folk (don’t judge). Also, I like to listen to trailer music, which is even more of a niche market than soundtracks. It is similar to soundtracks in that it is used in films (mostly only their trailers, hence the name) and commercials to create a mood, but different that they do not come in a series that, as a whole, tell an entire story. Trailer music is like a snippet out of a bigger story and I like it, because I can fill in the rest with my writing.

I listen a lot to the Lord of the Rings soundtracks (my favourite), How to Train Your Dragon, Harry Potter (especially the final soundtrack), the Tangled soundtrack and The Three Musketeers soundtrack.

 

Now… on to the specifics!

*

The first time that I actually started connecting certain tracks with writing and actually made a point of noticing that I did this, was during the first time that I did NaNoWriMo. That was when I set myself the challenge to do it at another time of year, because I could not make it in November: thus June/July 2010. The novel that I wrote during this time (and still have not finished) was dramatic, overly dramatic, satirical and verbose. I’ll tell you more about it someday, when it makes more sense to me.

Anyway, it was also during this time that I found an album by Two Steps From Hell, a production company that specializes in trailer music, Illumina. Then I went on and listened to it a lot.

Therefore there will always be a couple Illumina tracks that I will forever associate with writing:

Could’ve been…

I love you forever

 

The good news is… that that was not all that I listened to. There was one certain track that I used to write a death scene. What was it? Oh yes:

Remember When… This one is by Future World Music, another trailer music company. Future World Music actually became quite important to me during this time of my writing, because their track Dreamscapes and Wishes actually became the theme song to my novel.

But enough about this novel. There are quite a few more tracks that I associate with it, most notably Believe and Ashes of War, but let’s move on.

*

During one of my other novelling adventures, which I named Arcana for the lack of better ideas, I never realised how much I based the ending of my story off one of the songs that I listen to so much: Send Me a Song, by Celtic Woman. I believe it is sung by Lisa Kelly.

Without telling you the entire plot (which I still have not written the middle of), it was roughly a story about music and the awkward relationship between a girl and her boy friend (emphatically two words). There was lots of music and he broke the law. For which he was banished. So yes, if you listen to the lyrics of that song, you’ll hear another story very much like it. I only realised what I did much later! Smile with tongue out

*

My latest escapade into the world of music and writing was, of course, during NaNoWriMo 2011. This was certainly the story that was most influenced by music, of any of those that I had written. You see, I got my idea for the plot when listening to Now and Then by Blackmore’s Night. When I heard the lyrics, especially the bit that said “I’ll heal in time”, I knew I was going to write a cross between historical novel and science fiction, telling the story of a girl going time-travelling to make sense of the death of her husband. Snapshots of Time was born.

Whilst I was writing this novel, I listened to whatever was on hand and had a fast beat. I would do anything that could make me type faster, because I only had an hour each day to write, and I was trying to do 1,800 words every time. It was a challenge. I went through quite a lot of the Harry Potter soundtracks in that time. It kept me going. I have the complete collection, 1-8. I listened obsessively to Weasley Stomp, because it was the fastest track from it that I could find.

 

When things were a little calmer in NaNo land, I turned to Tuck Everlasting. I have never even watched this show, but the soundtrack reminds me of open fields and buttercups. Why buttercups I don’t know, because I’ve only ever seen a few in my life. I wouldn’t know why I have an association with the things!

When my novel turned sadder, I also had my go-to tracks. Schindler’s List of course remains one of the ultimate tracks, and then there were also things like Hymn to the Fallen, out of Saving Private Ryan.

 

I should really stop now with this post. It has gotten completely out of control! I won’t even get started on favourite composers!

 

I hope everyone who read this far enjoyed it in its pictureless-state. You’d better. You’ve no idea how long it took me to write this thing! Winking smile

Sig2

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12 responses

  1. I agree about soundtracks!

    February 3, 2012 at 01:14

  2. Music is definitely powerful! It helped me come up with a whole plot line for my first set of novels…and I can’t listen to those certain CDs anymore without the story and characters living again in my mind…taunting me with What If scenarios that could expand their drama farther if I felt like exploring. And Stephenie Meyers totally raves about Muse as her inspiration for those Twilight books. Music sets a mood like nothing else can (except maybe chocolate).

    February 3, 2012 at 06:15

    • I agree wholeheartedly! 🙂
      I can hear a story in just about any instrumental, and quite a lot of other songs that have lyrics. 😉
      It’s ice cream for me! 😉

      February 3, 2012 at 23:38

  3. AH!! This post is so exciting!! 😀 😀 😀 I just went and favourited pretty much all of those musical aids!

    Dreamscapes and Wishes was especially fantastic! It makes me want to stand on a wind-swept cliff in a gorgeous cloak while I come to a great decision about life. I LOVE IT!! I will definitely be going back to their music when I need to write my fantasy novels!

    I already love “Send Me a Song” and I started humming it when I read the title. 🙂

    Also, I want to read “Snapshots of Time!!” I love time travel stories! Even if it centres around a death. 😦 But it sounds amazing! Is it somewhere I can read it!?

    I did enjoy it! Even in its pictureless state! ;D No worries, there! The music creates its own visual stunning… ness. 😛 I’m sorry, my words are all over the place tonight. I was up at five to open the bakery and was a half hour late for work. But this makes it all better! 🙂

    *happy sigh* I’m so glad you did this. 🙂 Your work on it is very appreciated.

    February 3, 2012 at 09:03

    • Hehe, that’s good to hear! 😀

      It is. It’s one of my all time favourite things to listen to! 😀

      Eep! 😆

      Wow! No, I haven’t shared it with anyone yet. It is in far too bad state at the moment. But I am planning to share it with a few people, once I have gotten some editing and research done. I would like to hear opinions from people that I know IRL and those that I don’t. You know, get perspectives from different cultures, parts of the world, etc. So, if you’d like, I’ll add you to the list of people that I would share it with. I will probably post it online, but password protected, and only give the password to certain people. 😀

      *phew* Thank goodness! I’m just glad I could find links to all the tracks. Otherwise, it might have been a bit… bland. 😉

      Aww, thanks! 😀

      February 3, 2012 at 23:36

  4. The_Imp

    Eeep! This is relevant to my interests! 😉 Need I mention that I love nearly ALL of your music choices? No? Well, good!

    “The only part of the Academy Awards that I am really interested in is the Oscar for Best Soundtrack. I remember being furious at the judges’ choice last year.”
    ^^Ha! I’d start to rant about it AGAIN, but you’ve heard it all already. 😛
    I LOVE watching the Academy Awards though-the beautiful dresses, the special effects award, the best actor/actress/film award…

    “And yes, before someone points this out to me in the comments, I do know that the correct term for the music to a film is “score”.”
    ^^*g* No worries, it gets mixed up so often. I’ve seen scores being called soundtracks on the cover and soundtracks being called scores. 😀

    “I’ll tell you more about it someday, when it makes more sense to me.”
    ^^*gigglesnort* This made my day. Possibly because I can relate. I don’t think anything I’ve ever written has made any sense (for obvious reasons).

    “Anyway, it was also during this time that I found an album by Two Steps From Hell…”
    ^^You had me at ‘Two Steps from Hell’…;) I got into them around 2007-2008. By chance too. Best mistake EVER!
    (Honestly, I always look forward to new albums. *cough* Sun and Two Steps from Heaven…*cough*)

    “I have the complete collection, 1-8.”
    ^ What a coincidence! So do I! *g* Love the last two soundtracks the most (though I’m an Alexandre Desplat fan, so it’s no surprise.)

    “…I turned to Tuck Everlasting. I have never even watched this show…”
    ^^Just wanted to say that it’s a movie, not a show. 🙂 Just in case you were interested. I’ve never watched it either.

    “I should really stop now with this post. It has gotten completely out of control! I won’t even get started on favourite composers!”
    I wouldn’t mind reading it… 😉

    I will stop quoting and writing nonsense now. Excuse my spelling and grammar mistakes. (Maar jy weet anyway al ek maak hulle altyd! 😀 )

    February 3, 2012 at 09:18

    • Well, seeing that you listen to almost all the things that I listen to, no, you needn’t tell me! 😉

      To be honest, the bit where the winners start to thank the academy and their uncle and aunt and the dog is quite funny too! 😀 Well, I’m interested in the rest too, but I’m really only waiting for Best Soundtrack.

      Yeah, me too. But “soundtrack” actually describes what the thing is, whereas “score”… says nothing. 😉

      “*gigglesnort* This made my day. Possibly because I can relate. I don’t think anything I’ve ever written has made any sense (for obvious reasons).”
      ^Good. That was my intention. 😀 Your stuff makes more sense than some of the books I’ve read… :O

      You introduced me to them, after all! But I found Illumina, hehe! 😉

      Yeah, yeah, thanks for the gift! 😉 And, obviously!

      Oops. I actually checked Wikipedia a while ago, because I wasn’t sure if it was a film or a show. Then I still got it wrong! 😆

      *grins madly* Loooong comment! I didn’t see any. (En ja, ek weet. 😉 )

      February 3, 2012 at 23:21

      • The_Imp

        “^Good. That was my intention. Your stuff makes more sense than some of the books I’ve read… :O”
        ^^Which just goes to show what the writing market has become these days…:D *g* Or is that the book market? *ponders*

        “*grins madly* Loooong comment! I didn’t see any.”
        ^^Hn. Me neither. We must have been imagining things again. 😛

        On a random note, ek het nou begin vir my weer writing playlists maak. After reading this and all. 😉

        February 5, 2012 at 22:32

      • Maybe the publishing market…? 😉

        Yep, imagining that your grammar is worse than it really is!

        Cool! I’ve never actually had any. Favourite’s playlists, yes, but not specifically writing! 😛

        February 5, 2012 at 23:41

      • The_Imp

        *g* THAT’s the word! 😉

        “Yep, imagining that your grammar is worse than it really is!”
        Hey! I’ll have you know that was a game quote! 😛 One that made me giggle like a madwoman.
        *fails at grammar and STUFF*
        *evil smirk*

        February 6, 2012 at 23:34

      • It’s several book quotes as well. People are always saying that in books, generally just before something hits them. 😛
        STUFF!

        February 7, 2012 at 00:35

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