Using Music

Music is everywhere. You can hear it in the gentle tapping of your fingers on the keyboard, the hum of the fan on your computer, the screaming of the kids trying to get your attention. 😉 It should be no surprise that you can use music both as inspiration for your writing, and as a way to make your story become more alive to your reader.

You can use music to inspire your writing. I like listening to Pandora as I type away. The station I listen to depends mostly on my mood (tonight it is 80’s Pop), but you can also pick songs based on what type of scene you are writing. Think of it this way: If your story was a movie, what would the soundtrack sound like? An action scene would probably have fast-moving music to get the blood pumping, a romantic scene might have slower music to get you thinking about love, and a particularly dramatic moment would have something that really grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. Find the music that represents the feeling you want the reader to have and listen to it as you write your scene.

Another way you can use music is in the background of your story. If your characters are riding in a car, what is playing on the radio? If they go to a club, what band is playing? You can use real bands or songs, or you can make one up as long as the reader can get a feel for the type of music that is playing. Stacia Kane does a great job off working music into her stories. Read Unholy Ghosts, Unholy Magic, and City of Ghosts for examples (or just because they are really good books). I haven’t used this much myself yet, but I am starting to think about working them in when I start editing.

Finally, even if you don’t want to include songs in your story, you can still write musically. Describe the sounds around your characters. Remember, writing isn’t just about words. It is about helping someone experience a different world. Let the reader hear your world. I know that I wouldn’t want to be in a world without music.

Leave a comment about how you use music. What kinds of music do you listen to as you write?

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1 Comment

Filed under The Writing Experience

One response to “Using Music

  1. I liked your thoughts about music as a backdrop to writing. When I was writing about the sixties and seventies, I had to have a CD from that time period playing nearby so I could feel the mood of my characters.

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