Friday, March 5, 2010

Writing by Melody

    Many people are surprised to learn I write while listening to music. Doesn't everyone? Guess not.

    My current book, Storm Lake, revolves around the female lead singer in a symphonic metal band in the Netherlands. During the biggest performance of her life, on-stage during the finale, someone tries to kill her. Now before you go off on several tangents, let me explain. She's originally from Nebraska, so this isn't a "foreign" setting as such. And symphonic metal music probably isn't something you're familiar with. Until I started researching it, neither was I. It's not Aerosmith or Kiss. Symphonic metal really hasn't caught on in America. It's certainly not everyone's easy dining music, but I find it fascinating, especially since there are a lot of references to hell, God, sin, passion plays, angels, redemption, vindication and evil. Talk about great themes! But that's a bit off topic.

    Because this music is so much a part of my character's life, I listen to iTunes while writing. For a few reasons:
  • When I turn it on, I'm instantly in the writing mood (think Pavlov's dogs) and into this particular story
  • My earbuds block out the world around so I can concentrate
  • The energy of the songs gets my blood pumping
    One drawback is that this does cost me some money because I keep finding cool songs on iTunes or Amazon mp3. Pandora got me started but now is my downfall!

     A common question is, isn't it distracting? And do I listen to songs with lyrics. Sometimes it's distracting, mostly because the music doesn't fit the particular scene I'm in, or I'm trying to fix story continuity which is more mentally taxing than character interactions. And no, the lyrics don't bother me. Weird, I know.

    I'm not the only weird one out there; quite a few writers plug in the iPod while writing. You might just give it a try. And if you think you're too old to change your ways, I was well into my 50s before I discovered this helpful trick.

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1 comment:

Lynda Gail said...

While, I'm not a writer, I do listen to music when I really need to concentrate. It keeps one half of my brain busy while the other works out the analysis I'm doing. I don't think it is odd at all!