Friday, September 14, 2012

Music and Writing


Music is something that has always fascinated the human race. Countries and peoples all across the globe have their own way of creating music, whether it be the “modern” sound of American pop, the animal-skin drum of Africa, or the dirge-like Islamic prayers of the Middle-East; it is unlikely, if not impossible, that there is a culture in this world that has no form of music.

Music, in a way, affects what we do, and writing is no exception. Many writers, especially the ones I know, use music as a method to increase creativity and renew their energy. Soundtrack is one very common genre. For much of my writing career, I've used soundtracks from epic films such as The Lord of the Rings to fuel my writing.

Since moving to Africa, however, my tastes have changed in some ways. When I was a little kid, I stuck my fingers in my ears whenever Dad (a former headbanger) played rock music in the car. I practically swore off rock forever when he listened to P.O.D. in my tween years. I've since renounced that informal vow and taken up rock again. (As an after-effect of that period, however, I still don't like P.O.D.)

Originally, music with lyrics bothered me while I was writing; after all, I was writing down words, and music with words interfered with my flow of thought. Gradually, however, I became accustomed to listening to the music rather than the lyrics. As a result of my renewed interest in rock, my standard writing playlist has eighty Christian rock songs on it, from bands such as Thousand Foot Krutch, 12 Stones, Skillet, and a scattering of songs from Pillar, Echoes The Fall, and Manafest.

In the last couple of months, however, I discovered that the lyrics themselves can actually help me write. My youngest sister, who recently finished her first novel at 50,000+ words and years of hard work, loves making theme songs for her characters and novels. I've never cared for the idea, but today I came to the conclusion that Tornado C has a theme song.

The theme song is by 12 Stones, off their newest album, Beneath the Scars. (It's an excellent album, by the way, if you love Christian rock. A friend gave it to me while I was in the States. The first song on the disc, “Infected”, has been holding my #1 favorite spot for about three weeks now.)

The song is called “Worlds Collide” and accurately describes much of the character conflict and plot in my novel. I was listening to it today and found it rather eerie how closely the lyrics resembled some of the themes in my novel. Here's a couple snippets from it:

“I never meant to be your favorite enemy
I didn't want it this way
Face-to-face we'll finally find a remedy
As our worlds collide tonight

You'll never take the heart that beats inside of me
You don't have what it takes
It's safe to say there's gonna be a price to pay
When our worlds collide

The disguise you hide behind
Won't save you now

So let's fuel the fire
And burn it to the ground
As our worlds collide

Trip the wire
The sky comes crashing down
When our worlds collide.”

One of the main conflicts of my novel is between my main character and his companion, who are from two different worlds (figuratively speaking) and are pretty much at each others' throats. This song, then, is quite relevant.

Oh, and in a non-spoilerific way, the novel also has something to do with other lyrics in the song, such as fire, a powerful remedy, “you don't have what it takes”, and other little things that tie it in with my novel. Interesting, isn't it?

What about you? Have you ever found a song that seems to be made for your novel? What sort of music (if any) do you listen to while writing?


12 comments:

Tessa Emily Hall ~ Christ is Write said...

Yes! I have to have a certain playlist and Pandora station for each book I write. And one day - while I was writing my current book - a song played on the Pandora station I had set that went exactly with the book. It seriously feels like the song was written specifically for my novel! It's crazy.

Eldra said...

*smirks* Seriously? You're asking *this* question? You know I'm going to go all rave on you... :)

My writing playlist is currently at 1,300+ songs -- including almost a dozen soundtracks clumped together in one track. I personally cannot write to lyrics, since I listen to music with an incredibly deep intensity.

I love 12 Stones -- just got their Anthem for the Underdog album -- so I'll be sure to check that song out.

And P.O.D. is amazing. Your dad and I would get along fantastically.

Squeaks said...

Ah yes I knew you would write this post one day :P I definitely have a sort of "playlist" for writing...I actually haven't created one on my computer specifically, but there are certain artists and songs that I love to use for writing.

I have to side with you on one matter though. P.O.D -- I greatly dislike the band. Even just for normal listening...I can't. I don't like the music or the voices or anything. Anywho :P

12 Stones is epic :D I actually haven't heard of them before this (they kind of remind me of Skillet, I guess mainly because of the guy's voice). Thank you for the kind introduction :P

Hannah Joy said...

I have theme songs for some of my books and the majority of my characters. That's a bit of a lot. ;-) I listen to a bit of everything, really, when I write, but a lot of Jars of Clay, Relient K, Andrew Peterson, Audrey Assad, Switchfoot, and sometimes, when I'm in the mood, Five Iron Frenzy.

But the song that seems to be made for my novel, at least, the novel that I have finished, is "The Survivor" by The Normals. Yeah. It's pretty much perfect. I love it when those perfect songs come along. :-D

Pathfinder said...

My playlist:
(Soundtracks)
Doctor Who
The Eagle
The Road
Sherlock
Sherlock Holmes
Alice in Wonderland
Captain America
Star Trek (the newest movie)
Narnia
Star Wars
Harry Potter
Braveheart
Lord of the Rings
How to Train Your Dragon
Pirates of the Caribbean

(Composers, bands, and other genres)
Tchaikovsky
Handel
Wagner
Beetoven
Brian Crain
Flatfoot56
Celtic
Opera (except in German)

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Leilani Sunblade said...

Music has always influenced my writing. Many of my novels and characters have been inspired by songs, and in some cases, songs have helped me get deeper into a character's personality or given me an idea for what could happen in a story or novel.

As for what music I listen to, it varies. I like soundtracks (especially Narnia and The Lord of the Rings), and I also listen to rock (Thousand Foot Krutch, Skillet, and Manafest), as well as Jars of Clay, BarlowGirl, Josh Wilson, and Mary Mary. However, I'm not picky; just about any music will generally work for me. Thus why I can usually get quite a bit done in the car, as long as I actually get started on writing.

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Una Mariah said...

The middle book of a sci-fi trilogy has the KPop band B.A.P. song Power as it's theme song, and I listen to KPop for everything I write.

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