How Music Influences My Writing

Hey everyone!! This week, I’ll be taking a break from posting The Forge and the Flow to bring you another blog post about my writing process. This time, I’ll be delving into how music influences my writing.

Music has always been an integral part of my writing process, since I was very very young. Once upon a time I used to gaze out of the car window and dream about my favourite characters going on adventures to the soundtrack of Lilo and Stitch. Nowadays, I’ll go out on my morning walk and imagine the most intense scenes of my novel to the most blood-pumping heavy metal. What happens in my daydreams might not be even slightly feasible as a potential event or ending in my novels, featuring insane feats of strength or glorious battles all about the spectacle.

So, what then? That means it isn’t applicable, right?

Well, not always. Sometimes these daydreams can lead to a spark of inspiration, or a whole new novel. And sometimes they are simply fun. But daydreaming isn’t the only way that music influences my work.

When I begin work on a new project, I’ll often find a lot of inspiration in a single song. There might be other songs too which speak for the characters. I always put these into a playlist which I listen to when thinking. But there will usually be only one song that influences the way the story itself takes shape.

For Riftmaster, that song was Human, by Of Monsters and Men. In turn, the book itself became largely focused on what it means to be human, with a wondrous, if slightly melancholy, tone.

For the Forge and the Flow, it was Birds, by Imagine Dragons. Without spoiling too much, the novella carries heavy themes of of growth, change, love, and loss.

For Eternal Elegy, that song is How Did You Love by Shinedown. In this fantasy/horror retelling of Beauty and the Beast, a human falls in love with a strange creature of a world largely unknown to humanity.

If ever I run into a roadblock when writing or find myself stuck, I’ll listen to these songs as I work out the plot details. If I feel like the tone or characters may be drifting slightly, then it can help me figure out where I’m going wrong. Limiting myself largely to a single song prevents me veering off track and even aids when it comes to more mundane scenes, such as a quiet night of conversation by the campfire. Is it a melancholy scene, or a wondrous one? The music might help me see which tone fits best.

It’s a lot to rely on a single song for, I know, but I feel like it helps a lot to keep me on track and focused right until the very end. In any case, if I need more inspiration, I always have a playlist of the characters’ theme songs, and the ones I imagine as the credits roll.

With that, I’d just like to thank you all for reading! I know it’s a departure from my usual works, but hopefully you’ve enjoyed this little window into my writing process. Let me know if you have any methods like this, and I’ll see you all next week!

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