Using Music to Influence your Writing

I use music a lot. As an avid cellist (I’ve been playing since the 3rd grade), I feel a certain connection to music. Emotionally, music has guided me through a lot of hardships in my life, and I owe a lot to my cello and the many teachers that have helped me along my path to being a successful (and quite amazing, If I do say so myself) cellist. Saying this, I admit that a lot of the music that I use to help me along in my writing has a cello in some form or another. End of aside, music of all kinds can help you break through that writers block and it can also help you shape your writing, your characters, and your story as a whole.

Using my own writing as an example, I have a selection of songs that I believe best represent the characters and places in Children of Earth. For example, I use many of the songs by Pink Floyd to shape my scenes involving Axle. Axle, unlike the other characters, is a lot like myself in that he can say a lot of the things to people that I am thinking. He is the sassiest out of all the Children, and has a snarky reply to everything. Pink Floyd’s songs are both sassy and they don’t care about the social norms, in fact they thrive in rebelling from them. Axle has a lot of character personalities that will be peeled back throughout the series to reveal the true strength of his characters, and like Pink Floyd’s music, an in-depth analysis of the character would be needed to fully understand him.

The example above seems kind of shoddy, so I will give you a better one. I often use the scores to some of my favorite movies and television shows to help me write scenes that have been troubling me. By taking the score for a scene, I can understand the necessary plot progressions and the climax of said scenes, and therefor I know what the timing for my own scenes must be. An example of this would be Lost, one of my favorite examples of everything ever because it is such a fantastic piece of work. Composer Michael Giacchino did such an amazing job composing for Lost. He brilliantly managed to make themes for nearly all of Lost’s characters (a feat in and of itself considering how large the cast was) and he managed to compose themes befitting to both the island and each of the scenes. For example, the Travelling and Gathering themes is one of my favorites to work with because it manages to both invest the viewer anxious and involved. As the theme progresses, it reaches a climax (of sorts). I have used this theme many times, in particular in writing the first chapter of Children of Earth, when the heroes are steadily climbing up the mountain/hill to the stone circle, steadily walking faster and faster as they reach their destination.

My overall advice to you is to find all of your favorite movies and television shows, compile a list, and then make yourself a YouTube account. From there you can make a playlist of all the scores from these movie/tvshows that can help you along with your writing. I recommend sitting and listening to the music a few times before you start, playing the scene in your head in rhythm with the beat of the score, and then, still playing the music, begin writing your scene. Your writing will flow from there.

For reference, you are free to use my own writing playlist! It’s been a lifesaver!


3 thoughts on “Using Music to Influence your Writing

  1. I find music to be very inspiring and helpful with anything creative. Other than writing music! I often find that when it comes time to write a new song, its good to listen to your influences, then turn them off and see what you can create.

  2. What a nice posting, today. I find that I have to do the same while painting. Especially with movies and music. Now that you’ve given this advice, maybe it’s to time tune in while writing,too. P.S. Thanks for the invite/book reviews on Pinterest. 🙂

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