How does Music Relate to your Writing?

So, I know one of New Year’s Resolutions was to not miss important deadlines, but I actually have a good excuse this time. About a week ago I found myself with a tiny bit of a concussion. I wish I could say I got the concussion in a badass way, like snowboarding down a cliff or falling off a rollercoaster, but unfortunately that is not the case. Instead I had a door “accidentally” slammed into my face. I put “accidentally” in quotation marks because I have the sneaking suspicion that it was not an accident. That guy was out to get me.

While getting the concussion was fun and all, it did make it hard to concentrate, (having to read The Great Gatsby was as rough as the other side of a sponge) and writing was all but impossible. Hell, it took me five hours just to write that last sentence alone. (Kidding!) But I’m getting better now, so that’s good.

Now, onto the prompt:

Prompt: “How does music relate to your writing?”

This is a tricky question, because half the time I prefer to write in silence, and when I do write with music on, it’s always movie soundtracks. I never listen to songs with lyrics while writing, because gosh darnit, it’s distracting. Take The Hanging Tree, for example:

Did you find that song hauntingly beautiful? Did a single, mockingjay-shaped tear fall artfully down your cheek whilst listening? If not, you are a terrible person with an even more terrible taste in music. You should be ashamed.

While I love this song and everything about it, I don’t listen to it while writing because I know I won’t get anything done. I’ll just start humming along and typing the lyrics as I go. (are you? are you? coming to tree…) Which is why I only listen to the song while doing other, less important things. Like homework.

I also make it a point to listen to a song that coincides with the mood I’m trying to purvey. Because if I’m listening to sad music, the scene will seem sadder to me, even if it isn’t. Sad songs include: Hans Zimmer’s Time, Hans Zimmer’s Watch the World Burn, and Max Richter’s Those Left Behind

When I’m writing an action scene, I have action-y music playing in the background, like Inception’s “Mind Heist.” or the Bourne Supremacy’s “Berlin Foot Chase.” Or Murray Gold’s “The Majestic Tale (of a Madman in a Box)” which is without a doubt the best soundtrack the show’s ever had. In fact, I think went a month where all I listened to were the different “I am the Doctor” melodies, right here.

Only when I’m writing romantic/happy scenes do I include songs with lyrics in them. This is because I rarely write happy scenes and my romantic scenes are always awful. In fact, here’s an actual transcript of a scene I wrote the other day.

“Sup girl,” said Devin Devinsky, who looked like a total badass in his leather jacket and fancy sunglasses. He was on a motorcycle. “Wanna go for a ride?”

Lisa felt a flutter in her chest. Was this love?

Not my best piece of writing, I’ll admit. Anywho, the romantic songs I generally listen to are “I Got you Babe,” by Etta Jones, and Dreaming of You by the Coral, the latter of which was played during the sexiest scene of Scrubs ever. 

And then there are the soundtracks that are just plain epic; that purvey so many different emotions that I can’t simply categorize it as “sad” or “happy” or “action-y” (that’s a word). For example, there’s the soundtrack Cornfield Chase and Day One, which both make me feel sad and hopeful at the same time. Like we’re all going to die due to some catastrophic event, but it’s all going to be okay somehow. Then there’s Hans Zimmer’s “I’m Not a Hero,” which I will insert here simply due to the fact that I really want you all to listen to it, especially that last minute. 

I have no idea how to describe that last twenty seconds, except with lots of exclamations points, so here I go: 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, that whole thing at the end (I wish I knew what it was called or how to describe it), gets me so pumped up. I want to run right now. I want to punch someone in the face (in a cool, badass way). I want to fly around Gotham and beat up thugs and criminals, just because of that twenty seconds of brilliance. Too bad I can’t, because, y’know, concussion. 

So, how does music relate to your writing? That is the question.

Below is a list of all the other TCWT participants:

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11 thoughts on “How does Music Relate to your Writing?

  1. Aw. *patpats you, but gently so that I don’t give you a double concussion* (Is that even a thing?)

    I love this post. Hans Zimmer is freaking awesome, and I love love love his scores for Interstellar and the Batman movies.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH AAAAAAAAAAAAAH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH I LOVE “THE MAJESTIC TALE (OF A MADMAN IN A BOX).”

    “‘Sup, girl.’ …was this love?” oH MY GOD. <<<<<<<Me when I write quote unquote romantic scenes.

    Also, speaking of beating up thugs and criminals, have you seen Agent Carter? BECAUSE I THINK YOU WOULD LOVE THAT. Peggy Carter punches soooooooooooo many people (sometimes for no reason at all) and slaps men in the face with briefcases and sdkjghsdkgjdsh basically it's awesome and there's lots of explosions and stuff. There's usually upbeat 40s swing music playing cheerily in the background as Peggy kicks ass and stabs people with forks. I stg I'm in love.

    1. I believe once you get a concussion, each subsequent concussion becomes more severe. I suppose I could withstand three, maybe four more concussions before I fall into a permanent coma. 🙂 *fingers crossed*

      Hans Zimmer is a God amongst men, simple as that. I haven’t even seen Interstellar yet, but based off the soundtrack I’m giving it a ten out of ten.

      I haven’t seen Agent Carter, but I see people talking about it all over the internet, so I’ll probably give it a try. I just have a few questions, like: What channel is it on? Is Black Widow in it? If I haven’t seen Agent of Shield, will I understand what’s going on? Will it make me cry? Does Stan Lee make an appearance? I hope he does.

    2. Oh, you poor thing. *thwacks you with a soft pillow to see if you really will fall into a coma*

      Me neither.

      -ABC, but it just finished airing and they’ve been slowly removing the first few episodes from their website for some strange reason. But you could always pirate it. 😛
      -…not THE Black Widow, but some kickass Russian spy ladies from the first Black Widow program are, yes. 😀
      -Fuck yes it’s not really even connected to Agents of SHIELD (and tbh I think it’s waaaaay better, I only made it through 5 episodes of Agents of SHIELD before I got distracted).
      -YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.
      -Yeah, he does! He has a cameo with Howard Stark.

      1. –Well I’ve always wanted to be a pirate, so I suppose I could try that.
        — Boo! (Why doesn’t she at least have her own movie already??)
        — Thank goodness.
        — Oh, dear. This is a bit worrying, since I’m a very loud cryer. I hope I don’t bother the whole neighborhood.
        — Woo! I am sold. Maybe. After I finish bingeing House of Cards.

        *falls into coma*
        *dies*

  2. I am actually the same way. Half the time, I need utter silence, and then the other half, I NEED music. I usually listen to my two favorite instrumental CDs: “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Sterling and “In2ition” by 2Cellos. Although.. now that I think about it, I might have to add some Hans Zimmer to the list.

    Also, get well soon. Rest up a lot. Concussions suck.

    1. Lindsey Sterling is a boss. Also, I could’ve sworn I responded to this comment already. Anywho, sorry for the late response. I’ve gotten terrible at this whole blogging thing lately.

  3. I think it’s official: film scores are THE best thing to listen to whilst writing. I mean, I love my lyric-y music and all, but can you imagine trying to write a sad scene as you listen to Slipknot? It just doesn’t seem like it’ll work well at all… (but I’ll happily give it a go).

    And it really ought to go without saying that Hans Zimmer’s scores are just…indescribable – I only own his score for the film “Rush” BUT IT’S AMAZING. Naturally I’ve also heard his music in the Dark Knight trilogy, but I think Rush has my favourite of all – his music is just something else. When I listen to his piece “Lost But Won” (I can’t recommend that more), or even hear the main theme to Batman, something inside of me just wants to burst and explode into a thousand pieces – it wants to shout out, LISTEN TO THIS. I just can’t even manage that, because I don’t have the words – but on the bright side, it makes writing a badass scene even more badass.

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