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?
Thursday, December 11, 2008