books, writing, & music

These two things are basically the core of my heart. Sure, I could live life without the ability to listen to music or to immerse myself into a story - but I wouldn't want to. That'd be something akin to personal mental torture for me. I always have music on: when doing homework, when writing, when in the car, on the subway, sometimes even when reading. My bf and I played a game one day (and a few times since) where he was playing a song, so amazed by how not only did I know every vocal cadence of the song, but he paused it numerous times for about 10 seconds or so each time, and when the song resumed the vocalist and I were in the exact same place. I can also name any Dave Matthews Band song just by hearing .05 seconds of the first note. (But that's my musical favoritism speaking.)

That's how music is. Music is itself a story, and the lyrics are the harmony to it.

Both remind me of characters: of their emotions and particular moments; they are representative of a struggle the character can't state but is feeling quite deeply; of a place or a conversation. Even in the tiniest way, I can relate music to my writing and to that of other characters (not solely limited to book characters, TV characters are very much included here).

I started writing my NaNo story, which continues to be my WIP, by hearing this song:

"Sigh No More," Mumford & Sons

I listened to the opening chords, the subsequent bars and had such a feeling of hope and change and a sense that things were going well for someone, despite everything. And I started writing, producing a chapter in the middle of my story.


"She Wears Green," Bobby Long

I'd heard this song many a time before, but when I saw Bobby live I was struck with an image of someone quiet, waiting, but with the overall feeling that scene was indicative of a switch being turned.


"What The Water Gave Me," Florence + The Machine

No caption for this one. It's too integral. Sharing too much feels like giving myself away.


What about you? Do an author's playlist of songs for a book or a character help you understand what's going on within the story? Or perhaps they interfere too much with your perception of what's happening. Do you listen to music while writing? Is it a necessity, or just a sometimes thing? For me, it's just the way my brain works. I see music. Just some food for thought!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

2 comments on "books, writing, & music"

Lauren (The Verbose Vegetarian) wrote: Fri Feb 10, 03:58:00 PM

I love this post! I definitely agree that I would not want to live life without music. I feel like music is synonymous with life for me. There isn't a part of my day where I am not either listening to or thinking about music. I really see music visually as well. I see songs as sets of stories that I immerse myself in daily.

I love knowing what authors' playlists are for their novels. I definitely have a better picture of the story they are telling when I listen to the music that inspired them. For some reason as well I gather inspiration for writing through music. I can't write without music on, because I feel like the stories in the songs inspire my characters and the story that unfolds along with them.

Also Florence & Mumford and Songs are wonderful!


We Heart YA wrote: Sat Feb 11, 10:27:00 PM

"Music is itself a story, and the lyrics are the harmony to it."

Yes! Precisely.

We too love music and see it as a perfect complement to writing, another amazing storytelling venue. (Sarah in particular is musically attuned and used to blog about songs lots. Steph loves movie scores.)

Though we most often write to silence (all four of us) we do use music as a "soundtrack" to set the mood for our characters and scenes sometimes.


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