Monday, November 29, 2010

Writing in 140: Writing, The Soundtrack

Every story I write has a soundtrack--whether it's the one I impose on to it while I write or the true one that resonates when I'm revising. When I'm writing, I tend to listen to music that keeps my energy up, keeps my body moving and fingers flying across the keys--hip hop and 80s music mostly, but also classical music. When I’m revising , I hear the music in the words, in the genre the story is written in. When I'm revising romance or rom com stories, for example, I listen to artists like Michael BublĂ©, Adele, Jill Scott, and Duffy. When I'm revising a dark scene in a mystery, I like guitar riffs, sounds I can hear deep in the center of my chest.

How important is music to you when you’re writing and revising?

Writing in 140 is my attempt to say something somewhat relevant about writing in 140 words or less.

Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator. She has published both creatively and academically, and her debut solo novel, Death at the Double Inkwell is now available for purchase. Shon also interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shon is busy editing, promoting her debut project, writing screenplays, and pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University.

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  1. Shon, I've always claimed I need total silence to write. When you put it this way, however, I'm tempted to try a little music with my new project. If I play country music while I write, will my characters be different than if I write to classical music? Could be interesting.

  2. Interestingly, I just posted about this on my blog last week!

    I can't have music while I'm working. I've never been able to, even when I was in high school or college. It's too much of a distraction. If I need to focus on something, I need (relative) silence. I've gotten the impression from reading my writer friends' posts that I'm an anomaly.

  3. I like silence when I write so I can hear myself think and hear the characters talk in my head. But I do tend to develop a soundtrack of songs that fit the particular book - and when I hear those songs, the book immediately comes to mind.

  4. I have a playlist for my writing, although if my new project happens, I'm going to need a totally different mix for the different genre.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  5. The Dave Matthews Band IS the Soundtrack for my first MS. The song Grey Street inspired my main character.

    Music fuels my muse, fills my spirit, and enables mywords to flow freely.

  6. My novels always have a theme song. Sets the mood. The moodier, the better. :)

  7. I too need to work in silence so I can completely enter the scene I'm writing--where, of course, I hear everything that's happening. My husband is the opposite, which is why our offices are on different floors of the house!

  8. I prefer writing with background music sung in any language I can't understand. That keeps me from being distracted by the lyrics. I never thought about the effects of the genre on my writing. I'll have to do some experimenting.

  9. I do better without music. In fact, I do better with quiet. Of course, I have a tendency to be a scatter brain so in order to really focus, no outside stimulation.

  10. When I develop a key character for a novel, one of the first things I do is think of 1) what books is this character reading; 2) what music is he/she listening to. It's an iterative process and while I write the book, I listen to the music and read or re-read the books I've listed. Last year, it was all country music. This year was movie soundtracks.

  11. I almost always have music playing while I work, to block out distractions. It has to be wordless, though. I'm working on a novel set in 18th century Europe, so my current soundtrack is music from that era.

  12. Patricia, that would be interesting to see.

    Conni, great minds think alike with the similar posts, LOL There are times when I need some relative silence--usually (but not always) when I'm writing academically though--and Conni, you might not be TOO much of an anomaly considering some of the responses here, :-)

  13. David, that's why I tend to at times veer toward classical music. Most of what I listen to doesn't have words and if they do, they're in other languages. However, classical music often moves me so much that it could be as distracting as having words I could sing to if I allowed it.

  14. Sorry for the late post. I'm always showing up to events late. Guess I should have been a janitor. :-)

    Anyway, like Conni, I can't write to music. It is such an influence on me, that it distracts me from writing.

    That being said, I frequently write in public places with people passing by, children running, etc. White noise doesn't bother me at all.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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