If you would like a signed copy of any book in The Timely Death Trilogy, e-mail me at shannonathompson.com. Barnes & Noble in Wichita has a few copies left from the Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event this past Saturday. It was AWESOME. I met some wonderful readers and authors.
Thank you for coming out!
Every Monday, I cover an older post but in a new way. In fact, today’s post comes from my very first year of blogging. (It’s really surreal to see how much my website has changed since 2012, so feel free to read the original post here.) Basically, I covered one song I listened to in order to get inspired, but that was it. Today, I want to talk about music in general in regards to writing and how you can use it as a tool to help enhance your work, make connections, and understand yourself better.
1. Trick Your Mind with Classical Conditioning
This is, by far, my favorite aspect of music in regards to writing. You can use music to trick your mind with basic conditioning. (You know, that famous psychology term defined by salivating dogs and bells…but we’re going to use authors and music instead.) Basically, find songs that have the same mood or tone of your story, and listen to them while you write or right before you write. That way, when you’re having a day where you don’t feel like writing—or you’re just having a difficult time getting into the mood—you can listen to these songs, and it “tricks” your brain into knowing it is time to write. In fact, I’ve used this method before, even though I rarely listen to music while writing. I still have “trigger” songs I listen to while brainstorming, so when I’m having a harder time than usual, it can be fixed with an energetic song my brain correlates with successful writing time. Thanks, Pavlov.
2. Inspiration, Of Course
A lot of writers find inspiration in music. Whether it’s the lyrics or the sound or the mood it invokes, music can serve as a starting point for writers. When I was younger, I was *kind of* like this. I loved to listen to music while I had to take long drives to school (and this was when gas was $5 per gallon, yeesh). The combination of movement and music helped me zone into movie trailer type scenarios. I could picture snippets and high-action type scenes that I could shout at myself (at stoplights as well) and later write down when I was…you know…not driving. I don’t do this anymore, but I have had great moments where a song really sticks with me and can help shape a scene or a character. In fact, I recently couldn’t get enough of Railroad Track by Willy Moon in relation to Take Me Yesterday, book 2 of The Tomo Trilogy. Even though it didn’t inspire anything, the music (and the video) fit what I had in my head perfectly, and seeing it played out helped energize me enough to write 10,000 words in one night. For that one night, that song was everything.
Extra: The top two songs I listened to while working on Bad Bloods: Murakami by Made in Heights and Black Crown by Silent Rider and Camille Corazon.
3. #MSWL Correlations
Okay. The title of this section is a bit of a stretch, but I think every writer—whether they are looking for a traditional agent or not—can learn a ridiculous amount about the industry and writing trends by following the #MSWL feed on Twitter. #MSWL is Manuscript Wishlist, which is where agents post what they are looking for. Surprisingly enough, a lot of agents will post song titles and say something along the lines of “If your manuscript is like this song, I want it!” Isn’t that awesome? A single song—lyrics and all—could inspire an entire novel…and an agent who wants to sign it. Why? Because songs are powerful. It doesn’t hurt to understand why either. Just like how we tell writers to look at their favorite books and ask themselves why they love them, I suggest writers research their favorite songs and ask themselves the same question. You could have a story hiding in you.
How has music affected your writing life?
This THURSDAY, I will host #AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 7 on Twitter at 7 PM via @AuthorSAT. I normally host it on Friday, but a few of you have expressed Thursday as a better day, so I will probably test out the next few episodes on Thursday to see which days are best. I hope to see you there!
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9 thoughts on “#WritingTips Music Muse and Tricks”
Murakami is one of my FAVORITE songs to write to at the moment. It’s on the playlist for my current WIP! Great taste. And thanks for the heads up on the #MSWL tag, that’s a great thing to consider.
It’s such a great song! I hope you enjoy the MSWL tag. 🙂
thank you for the tip about twitter# I`ve bookmarked the page to look through every day.
I hope you enjoy it! I love reading the feed. It’s inspirational and informative.
I always need music on when I’m writing or editing. For some reason, utter silence is just as bad as chaotic noise to me. Think it stems from always putting music on when reading, doing homework, or even playing video games when I was younger. The only thing is that I don’t really control what comes on because I use Pandora. It’s a personal station with a lot of Rock, some heavy metal, and modern instrumental, which seems to feed my love of action scenes. There have been some weird times when the right song appears at the right time. Like songs about gathering for battle turning up when a character is preparing for a fight. Almost like fate or kismet, but I’m not sure about the second term.
I have started to use Pandora recently. I used to use 8tracks, because there were no commercials, but I think they sold to someone else or something, but their soundtracks have changed for the worst. I used to be able to type in “southern gothic” and get southern gothic, but now I get Justin Bieber. So, Pandora it is.
That’s just bizarre. I remember there was a time where Miley Cyrus kept getting added to my playlist, but Pandora stopped that at some point. It helped that I made my own station instead of trusting a premade one to not have surprises. Nothing confuses me like going from Black Sabbath to Miley or Rhianna.
RIGHT? I’ve had that problem so many times. It really upsets my jam time.