What’s the soundtrack to your writing?

Music has always played a vital role in my writing process. Certain songs help to visualise key events in a story, even to the point that I find myself acting out a scene (complete with dialogue) with the track playing in the background.

I’m sure this is not a new or unique approach to writing, but it works for me – kind of like watching your story play out as a movie. And I’m sure we’ve all got our favourite movie scenes in which the soundtrack has been married perfectly to the action to deliver the right atmosphere and tension (just think Ennio Morricone scores in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns, and Quentin Tarantino films).

One of my favourite directors is Michael Mann, simply for the way he uses music in his films. In Manhunter, he delivers a number of great examples of music heightening the tension and emotion of a scene. The following clip shows the inner turmoil of a serial killer (the ‘tooth fairy’), caught between unfamiliar feelings of acceptance and the desire to kill, the blind girl beside him the easiest of prey.

As I’m pushing myself to get another story finished, I haven’t given much thought toward my next blog post – which is why I decided to share this little tidbit.

One of the stories in sight of an ending is about a mythical creature, or entity, that haunts the collected consciousness of a rural town, and the wilderness that surrounds it. For this I’ve been listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley, whose music seems to capture best the spirit of this piece – this track in particular:

If you’ve got a favourite movie scene/soundtrack, or have examples of songs you used to help you write, then why not share them in the comments below.

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6 thoughts on “What’s the soundtrack to your writing?

  1. Might live in another century, but I seldom listen anymore to music…I like when it’s calm and wikout sound…one exception here, I listen to our South American riend Carlos music!

  2. I used to listen to music to study for my chem/biochem exams…worked a treat when I got stumped on a question. I would start singing the music in my head and voila – my brain would go back to when I was studying!

  3. I change up my music depending on the scene I might be working on. If it’s an action scene, I usually like rock ‘n roll, the classic stuff, and if it’s inner story/reflection or even setting, I like classical music mostly, or Sinatra. Yes, I’m an old soul. 🙂

  4. That’s pretty much the same for me. Some stories vary from a bit of WASP (from my heavy metal listening days) to Tchaikovsky. Maybe when/ if I publish some stories I’ll include an appendix of songs and where they should be played in the story 🙂

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