Many of us know the power music has on the human spirit. It can take a bad day and turn it into a good one. It can make us forget about our tough circumstances. It can help us meditate, and on many occasions, it’s celebratory and encourages us to sing along. So while there has been insightful articles published on the power of music, I must admit I was still blown away by my own experience.
I was a choir kid for over six years through middle and high school. I understand how music moves the soul of the individual as well as a perfectly synced group. It’s a heady sensation when the chords lock-up perfectly, and the entire group just resonates in a moment of bliss before moving on with the rest of the piece.
So it might be silly for me to admit how surprised I was when I discovered how much music helped my writing process. I will admit, I had an amateur playlist once I began writing my first novel. At first, it was used to drown out the background noise that comes with sharing a living space, but it evolved into a writing tool. Eventually, I refined the use of music as a tool while writing and my playlist became more complex. I had music perfectly suited for duels, for epic battles, and for peaceful scenes. The curveball was when a song came on while I was driving that clicked in my psyche as a perfect fit for my story’s main character and her love interest, even though all the lyrics didn’t fit. It wasn’t a song that inspired what I wrote for the characters, but rather a song that expressed the already established character’s relationship. Now everytime that song comes on, I see those two characters interacting, trying to find their way to each other as they work to overcome the obstacles in their way.
Even after weeks of setting my manuscript aside, the song still comes on the radio at random and slams my consciousness right back to where those two characters are in their growth, with hints of all they would have to endure in the future. The music coaxes emotions that are necessary to experience in order to properly sculpt a scene. As I’ve written with my ear buds in and the proper playlist on, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve fumed. And in the end, all I needed to convey to the reader was done.
Here’s a sample of some of the tracks I’d listen to:
For world-building a beautiful, natural world.
For creating tender moments.
For fight scenes.
If I want to remember how my protagonist and her love interest first looked at each other.