I’m the kind of writer who requires absolute silence while I work. No movie soundtrack, no music, no TV, no talking.
Change ‘watching’ to ‘writing’ and that’s me. The tears are very real.
I inevitably end up paying attention to whatever else to going on, and I have an unfortunate habit of acting out character dialogue. Ya know, to make sure it’s realistic. I’m not weird or anything.
Only when I’m in a far more disruptive environment—like on the train with a screaming baby on my left and some guy yelling on his cell on my right—can I write with music.
I have specific playlists for different scenes. Like say, if I’m writing a fight scene, I listen to Kesha’s Warrior from Warrior.
Cut the bullshit out with a dagger,
With a dagger, with a dagger.
Do or die we all gonna stay young,
Shoot the lights out like a machine gun.
Think it’s time for a revolution,
Putting aside Kesha’s ongoing legal war with her producer Dr. Luke (which is an all too realistic glimpse into the dark side of the music industry), this is a powerhouse of a song. It’s empowering and unapologetic, and gets me geared up for the ass-kicking my characters are about to dispense.
Romantic and breakup scenes are easy. Taylor Swift’s catalog is full of poignant, incredibly well-written songs about love, loss, and desire.
She can swing from happy—
Across the room your silhouette
Starts to make its way to me
The playful conversation starts
Counter all your quick remarks
Like passing notes in secrecy
—Enchanted, Speak Now
Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it
I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it
After plaid shirt days and nights when you made me your own
Now you mail back my things and I walk home alone
—All Too Well, Red
—To angry in the space of a 2006 track list. (In case you didn’t catch on, I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan.)
For tense scenes, an oldie but goodie is Another One Bites The Dust by Glee. I know, I know, it’s originally by Queen, but I adore Johnathan Groff and he’s cute as fuck, so let me have this.
There’s a throbbing urgency to the beat, making it perfect for interrogation scenes or the calm before a storm.
Descriptive scenes are a necessary evil. I absolutely loathe them because I either go too far, pile on adjective after adjective, or too little, like “The dog is blue,” or something. I’m improving, slowly, with the help of Julie Kagawa (which I talked about in a previous post) but it’s not something I relish.
I don’t have a particular playlist for descriptive sections since it depends strongly on mood. What are my characters feeling? Are they running for their lives? Are they particularly fascinated by an item that calls to their hobby or past? Is the atmosphere gothic or chill?
Usually I just stick with the playlist I have playing because of aforementioned mood reason.
That’s about all the scenarios I can think of for now! What about you? Do you listen to music when you write and what kind?