Why Music is So Important

For me, a project’s never really “in progress” until I have the music.  The soundtrack.  The beat.

I may mess around with certain scenes, or lines of dialogue.  But I need the music to really get into the groove of the story.  For me, having a soundtrack that can play while I write is integral.  It doesn’t really matter after awhile though – I end up tuning it out and dealing with the story.  But in the beginning, its like a shortcut into that world.

My typical playlist is 10-20 songs, usually from a variety of artists.  The majority of it is usually rock – anywhere from hard rock to more symphonic rock – with the occassional pop artist or slow song in there for those important scenes.  Typically during a draft, the list will gain or lose songs as certain ones start drawing me OUT of the story, instead of drawing me IN.  Most of the time since I don’t even hear the music anyway (thank you headphones), I’ll know a song needs to go because EVERY time it comes on it hits me like a sour note.  Pulls me right out the story.  Or just plain annoys me.

I think music can serve a similar purpose to the way it serves television.  Having certain songs playing in the background of a show or movie can help set a particular mood, can evoke a particular emotion, or (for the fast paced or club music) can even get your blood pumping and ready for more.  And that’s a big reason why music’s so important for me when I’m working on something new.

Because music becomes that bridge, that I need to go from “hey this is an idea” to “hey, this is something worth pursuing.”  And it can quickly turn from “I like this song” to “my character likes this song.”  It’s just another way to get a connection with your character.  Maybe.

And in other news, these last few blog posts have all been either “friend-y” or advice-y because I’ve been pretty much keeping it low key and nothing interesting happens to be going on.  If that changes, trust me I’d love to blog all about it.

2 thoughts on “Why Music is So Important

  1. I am in total agreement! I always have a playlist for my books with songs that match the mood and tempo of key scenes.

    And hearing these songs quickly draws me in if I have to skip around during a revision.

    (and to be totally lame and relate this to non-writing, I do the same thing with teaching: play the same music during assessments that I played while those skills were taught. It works.)

  2. I envy you people who can listen to music while writing! The lyrics invade my mind and I start typing them instead of mah book! That said, music is COMPLETELY important at least to my brainstorming process, and it totally DOES provide a connection to your characters, especially at first – and how fun is that?! 🙂

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