“We talk about a writing voice, but seldom about the importance of literal sounds
in the sound it makes.”
Here’s a fun story: Julia Cameron. author of The Artist’s Way and The Right to Write was once asked to write a movie about Elvis Presley. But while the was penning the scenes for it, she chose not to listen to Elvis songs. Instead, her personal soundtrack featured Bruce Springsteen and his E Street band. Why? As Julia explains it, for her, the rhythms of the “Boss,” she found the “youth, heat, ad energy” she wanted to capture in her script about the “King.” Go figure!
We all have sound tracks in our daily lives: the music, sometimes muted and sometimes chaotic, that serenades us through our day. But many writers prefer to use musical selections in a more intentional way, to set the mood for a particular piece of writing they are working on.
At a provocative workshop given by The Writers Circle on using the senses to enliven fiction, music was explored as a writing tool. Judith Lindbergh, author of a wonderful novel called The Thrall’s Tale, talked about how she use different pieces of music to evoke different moods when creating different scenes in her work. I’ve never tried this approach, but it sounds intriguing.
Some authors like jazz or the drumbeat of rock and roll to rev up their writing engines. Others turn to the high-flying yet disciplined baroque music of Bach when they are writing — or to soft, misty New Age music to energize their musings.
Different strokes for different folks. I like to write where it’s quiet; even low background music doesn’t work for me. But when I’m inputting a draft on my computer and tinkering with it, I have a Mozart CD called “Tune Up Your Mind” that I love to listen to. It was developed for kids and I think I commandeered it from Alex years ago. But hey, it works for me. How about you? Write on!