Saturday, June 25, 2011

Music and Mood, and Explosive by Bond

Music is a great way to inspire creativity, and often overlooked way to help you grow as a writer.
Capturing the Cadence
One aspect of writing that many writers overlook is cadence, rhythm, and flow. This is something that comes instinctually to some writers, but it can always be improved on. The way our sentences sound matter as much as what they’re saying, both on their own and as a part of the whole scene and story. When you listen to music, pay attention to the lyrics and how the words sound as you say them. Tune your ear to hear the way words work both in and out of music, and your writing will begin taking on a lyrical quality to it as well.
Character Playlists
What kind of music do your characters listen to? Putting on music that your POV character would listen to can help you keep your writing in his or her head. It also helps you understand your character better, especially if you ask questions-- why does your character like a certain band or artist? Is music a big part of your characters life?
Music to Set the Tone
Don’t confine your music-listening to only the songs your characters would create. Your recalcitrant teenager might not be into sad love songs, but you as the writer might draw inspiration from them during an achey, heartbreaking scene you’re trying to perfect. An epic movie soundtrack might inspire you while you write your story’s climax, or classical music might be what taps into the creative part of your brain that allows the words to flow.
How do you use music to influence your writing? Do any specific songs or artists inspire you to write?
I leave you with one of my very favorite songs to listen to while I write emotion-packed, high-intensity scenes: Explosive by Bond. I like how the music goes from fast-paced action to softness and subtlety. What do you think?

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Diana Paz is a web content writer and aspiring YA author. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she's a beach bum, but she did graduate from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a caramel frappuccino. Find her at her or on Twitter @dianapazwrites


  1. I can't have any music on when I'm writing, because it keeps me in the room, and doesn't let my mind take off into the story.

    But when I'm planning what comes next, nothing helps more than listening to music. Any kind of music may inspire me, and I think sometimes the book may take a particular direction because of the type of music I happened to listen to.

    Or maybe I choose it subconsciously because that's where I want the story to go...

  2. Ohhhh, very chicken-or-the-egg of you. I like it! *ponders the universe*

    For me, whether there is or isn't music on while I'm actively writing only consciously affects me at the onset. Once I'm writing I become pretty deaf and blind to the world, anyway. :P like you, I definitely listen to music while planning. :)

  3. I always write with music. I agree, about the sound of a sentence, that's a great way of putting it and comparing. I love to write to slow songs, when I write to fast ones I don't get the same emotion. Strange, I know. I love Evanescence, Radiohead, Manchester Orchestra, Counting Crows. I think my characters wouldn't listen to the same stuff, probably something harder. LOL

    Great post!!

  4. Thanks Erica! I like Evanescence too. And I tend to listen to my own kind of music when I'm writing, and my characters' style of music while I'm plotting. Music is a big part of my writing too. :)

  5. Music is so important to me when I'm writing. Usually I have a few songs that I connect to the theme of the book in my head, and sometimes just to warm up before writing I listen to them a few times to get me into the mindset again, since music, emotion, and mood are so closely linked in my mind. I don't always listen WHILE I write, but music is very linked to the process.

  6. Wonderful post, Diana. I love how music can put you into the emotions of different scenes. Having background music is such a great way to put you in the mood. :D

  7. Katie-I completely agree! Music is important to me too, even if it's not during the actual writing, it definitely is beforehand, and as I think about my story. Even throughout my day as I hear songs in the car or as I'm doing other things, I can almost always think of a scene or character that the music relates to.

    Brenda-Thank you! Music and emotion tie together so seamlessly. It makes sense how many of us use music to help channel our feelings into our writing. Well said! :)