Thursday, December 11, 2008

Please welcome author... Pandem Buckner

Mood Music

Whenever I write, my preferred ritual is to drink, smoke, and listen to music while writing. I can go without the first two and be moderately okay in my writing, but going without the third – or some form of aural stimulation – is well-nigh impossible for me. Normally, I listen to Dave Matthews Band and Diana Krall almost exclusively when writing; sometimes I'll throw in a few songs by someone else, just for a change of pace.

Until this new story.

When I sat down to start writing the new story, I turned on my normal Media Player playlist and got ready to write. However, the story itself resisted me, and I struggled just to get the first two paragraphs out.

Temporarily defeated, I went back to the mental drawing board, turning the elements and possible scenes for the story over and over in my head. As I did such, I noticed something that I'd never had happen before when writing a story: the ideas came with music. I don't mean that when I listened to music, more ideas appeared in my mental inbox; I mean that when they appeared, they brought songs of their own with them.

The music they brought was far different from the complex instrumental play of Dave Matthews Band or Diana Krall's smooth, silky voice over laid-back jazz tunes; no, this story demanded, and even included, something very different for its soundtrack. It demanded an odd mix of 70s style funk, Japanese-made bebop jazz, and however one wants to define the odd, but good, rock-rap fusion of late-90s rapper/singer Everlast.

Never one to miss a sign, I made a new playlist containing those songs. When I had the time to work on the story again, I listened to that playlist and, lo and behold, I had more of a struggle to sift through the ideas and words coming than I did in trying to put them down. Now, when I'm working on that story, or thinking about it when I'm driving somewhere, I put on that playlist and have no problems with it.

Has that ever happened to you? Has a story demanded a soundtrack of its own from you? If so or if not, what sort of music do you find best to listen to when writing? What artist or genre wakes up your muse and make her dance in your head?

6 deadly screams:

Sierra Wolfe said...

Great post, Pandem.

I can't say that I really listen to music when I write. Sometimes, I do, but that's just because I'm in the mood for music. It really has nothing to do with my writing. Usually, I just have the tv on in the background and pretty much tune it out anyway. When I'm really writing well, I tune out everything and my attention is completely focused on the writing. I'm very good at tuning out the outside world, my family hates that. :D

I do know a lot of writers use music to help them write. Some say they can't write without it. It's very interesting.

Gracen Miller said...

Hi, Pandem! Thanks for blogging with us today.

Great topic, interesting, even though I cannot relate. I’m like Sierra, I can tune anything out. It’s like having my own personal mute button and the world just goes silent. The kids can be screaming and killing each other and I do not hear it. It’s wonderful! You and all the other writers in the world should buy yourself a “mental mute button”. ;-) Again, like Sierra, the T.V. is typically on in the background, but it’s just background noise that I once again mute out. And when I do listen to music, like Sierra, once again, it’s just because I’m in the mood. Strangely, I sometimes find that music can be distracting and can hinder the writing flow.

Molly Daniels said...

I have three instances where music influenced me.

1) I had to make revisions and spent 4 days going through my entire CD collection (only had about 5 in those days!), only to pop in the Aqua CD ("Barbie Girl") and wrote like a madwoman, playing it through about 5 times before I finished! Go figure...

2) I was seated in the bar area of a restaurant, waiting to be interviewed, when Prince came on. Suddenly I'm whipping out my planner and outlining the next book in my series.

3) More recently, I had one of those unexpected days to myself, so I put on my newly purchased Bon Jovi CD ("Lonesome Highway") and three hours later, had finished writing my latest book:)

I never know what music is going to 'trip the creative button', but boy am I glad when it does!

Gracen Miller said...

Molly, I guess I'm a visual girl because I don't get inspiration from music. I love music, but it doesn't inspire me. It does put me in happy, lusty, energetic or sad moods though.

I'm a visual gal though. I can see of picture of something totally random and it'll bring about inspiration. When I find a picture like that, I save it and go back to it often throughout the story. OR, in a particular incident that just happened yesterday...I've been struggling with a crucial sub-story within my current story. I saw a picture yesterday on the web and BAM I knew immediately what that sub-story was. I saved the picture, even though it isn't cruically affecting the whole book.

So, you guys have your music and I have my pictures. I guess it's kinda, somewhat, similar, or even maybe not the same.


Sarah Mäkelä said...

Great post, Pandem. I always listen to music and sometimes even do soundtracks. Music inspires me in many different ways. It was pretty much the driving point behind Melody of Love, especially since that's about a rock singer and the average girl. I can't say that when I listen to something that I have no problems in the world. Sometimes I have to really dig deep in myself and figure out the answer, or even brainstorm with a friend. I mostly listen to rock music when I write. I do have some dance music, too, that I listen to when things get soft and fluffy and upbeat. It really depends on how the story is going, or what just so happens to be playing on my playlist. =)

Tierney O'Malley said...

Hey Pandem!
Thanks for posting. Awesome!
I like it quiet when I'm writing. When I get stuck or tired, I would watch the movie plugged in my drive. When I'm ready to write again, I would turn off the movie. :D

See you online.
Hey Sierra! Happy Birthday :D