Music That Brings a Book to Life

Do you write to music? Do you have a soundtrack for your novel?

I do.

Not a complete soundtrack for every scene, but there are songs that have inspired scenes in my book. Take, for example, David Cook’s Come Back To Me.

I was minding my own business one day when this song came on the radio. I listened, I liked it, then BAM! An entire scene unfolded in my mind. Every little nuance, every word, the location, the emotions, all there.

Too bad I was driving my car and not near a laptop.

As soon as I could I wrote down as much as I remembered. Little did I know every time I hear the song now I imagine that whole scene exactly as I did the first time. Even now, after the scene’s been written and revised several times. It’s all there.

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe not in writing, but in life?

There are songs I hear from the 80’s that immediately take me back to whatever I was doing at the time the song touched me. Tears For Fears is a big one. Best breakup album ever.

I used to only listen to soundtracks when I write. Lately though, I’ve been adding more and more songs with words. Evanescence is amazing writing music. Same with Norah Jones. Great mood music. There are a few odd birds tossed in the mix as well. Gotye’s Somebody that I used to know and Kelly Clarkson pop up every now and then.

I’m thinking I need to add some Depeche Mode and maybe a bit of the Cure. Give that 80’s mope music a little love.

Share with us! What do you like to listen to while you’re doing what it is you do? Be it writing, cleaning, studying, riding a bike. What’s on your playlist?

If you missed it, last week I had a Slacker Monday with Gotye on the blog. Click the link to see their video ~ and scroll though the comments for links to an awesome cover by Walk Off The Earth.

I’d like to leave you with David Cook’s Come Back To Me. I get chills every time I hear this. The scene it inspired? Heart wrenching. My two main characters are ripped apart by someone else’s betrayal. You hope they can overcome it, but it’s going to be tough.

Enjoy and Happy Monday!

40 thoughts on “Music That Brings a Book to Life”

  1. waterthecamelswaterthecamels

    Sometimes I can’t listen to music and wrote at the same time. Most of the time it inspires me and helps me out. I am a goober for very motivating/beautiful soundtracks.

    April 9, 2012
  2. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect ChaosJillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos

    I have had experiences like that. I always have my phone in the car and often pull over and type frantically in it because a scene comes to me because of a song. I think people would be shocked to know how much of my books get written on my phone! Between songs in the car to dreams.

    April 9, 2012
  3. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    I need something upbeat for washing dishes–usually the pop station on the radio. Most of my story playlists are a mix with songs by artists like Mat Kearney, Sia and even Aerosmith. 🙂

    April 9, 2012
  4. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    Great post, Tameri! I find that after a long work day, nothing makes the winding down/switching gears more pleasurable than music. My Adele Pandora station does the trick every time. 🙂 When I’m in a peppier or must-clean-quickly mood (LOL), I pop in pop oldies, the Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, Shawn Colvin or the Beatles.

    April 9, 2012
  5. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    I had two favorite cd’s i always listened to when I first started writing. but now I write in the living room, on my laptop…no music nearby. I’m thinking I should do something about that.

    April 9, 2012
  6. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    I keep a small journal specifically for my story with me at all times. Like you, I can’t go into detailed writing on my phone. Although, I do have a notebook list for bullet items on there for quick ideas when they pop up. The trick is to remember to check back and grab them later. 😉 To answer your question, yes. I have a song or more that have done that to me. Every time I hear them the scene plays out exactly the way I saw it in my head the first time. Funny how that works. And I was so worried I’d lose it all.

    April 9, 2012
  7. Christopher P. SimmonsChristopher P. Simmons

    Only occasionally, do I out on music with the intent of augmenting my senses for writing. When I did, it was Mahogany Nights by Al Gromer Khan, which just sounded like an Arab desert. While writing some of my more destructive chapters (it’s an apocalypitic thriller), I listened to a stream off iTunes called “Doomed”. I don’t recommend it to *nice* writers.

    April 9, 2012
  8. Christopher P. SimmonsChristopher P. Simmons

    On the other hand, I *DID* mix up several samples into a ‘soundtrack for the trailer’, which included U2 (End of the World), Boston (Third Stage), and Holst (Jupiter). It gets my blood seething just to hear it. When I don’t feel like writing, I play that… my fingers catch fire.

    April 9, 2012
  9. EmmaEmma

    Listening to Bruce Springsteen always inspires me to write.I love Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”too; best song so far this year. Soundtracks are always inspirational. The Last of the Mohicans has some fantastic music, particularly “Promontory”.

    April 9, 2012
  10. Amber WestAmber West

    I ALWAYS have music playing. When I clean, write, play…always.

    There are songs that I will listen to to inspire certain moods or scenes. When I did Nano last year, I created the story after this song made me fingers twitch (in the good, “I need to write” kinda way). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HKwmKa7Mvw

    April 9, 2012
  11. Gayle CarlineGayle Carline

    I have a hard time writing to music because I become too focused in the music to write. Oddly enough (and you know this about me), I like to have an old black-and-white movie playing in the background while I work. Especially a cops-and-robbers movie. Listened to one today where one guy kept calling another bad guy a “patootie,” which made me laugh because my mom used to call people she was mad at “horse’s patooties.”

    There’s something about the quietness of them and the quality of the dialogue that puts me in the right frame of mind for bumping people off.

    April 9, 2012
  12. sydneyaaliyahsydneyaaliyah

    Tameri, I can’t believe I complete forgot about this. I had an aha moment after reading this. I created a play list for my current WIP and it made me look at the story in a whole new way. My everyday life is full of music, thanks for reminding me to put it in my writing.

    April 9, 2012
  13. Angela Orlowski-PeartAngela Orlowski-Peart

    I almost always listen to the music when I write, and it is often The Cure or Evanescence (plus many many more!). 🙂

    April 9, 2012
  14. Lisa Hall-WilsonLisa Hall-Wilson

    Typically, I listen to neo-classical when I’m writing (mostly soundtracks) to help. If I’m trying to work in the chaos (like yesterday, 3 kids home for a school holiday) I put on some pop really loud as white noise. Gotye was covered by Walk Off The Earth – that’s who gets played on the radio here.

    April 10, 2012
  15. thebncthebnc

    “Kingdom of Heaven” is an awesome score.

    I usually can’t write to music that has lyrics in a language I understand, unless that song fits a very specific mood or scene. The ONE exception to that (thus far) is Abney Park. I wrote a steampunk novel for NaNo last year and it seemed like every song of theirs I listened to fit the story so well that I just chain-played their albums all month.

    Aside from that, I primarily listen to movie and video game scores. (The playlist for my current WIP has nearly 300 songs and is 17 hours long, according to iTunes.) The love I have for Hans Zimmer and Nobuo Uematsu knows no bounds.

    April 10, 2012
  16. Marcy KennedyMarcy Kennedy

    I listen to all kinds of music when I write, and I definitely have key songs that go with whatever the current project is I’m working on. For me, it tends to be the emotion behind the song that I cling to, and if possible, I’ll play that song over and over again until the scene is done. (It drives my husband bananas.)

    April 11, 2012
  17. MarciaMarcia

    Love it, Tameri! Up to now I haven’t been able to write to music with lyrics, but now you have me thinking…I’m in the early stages of creating a series set in the 1970s and am imagining the songs i could use for inspiration! Thanks, sista!

    April 11, 2012
  18. Lissa ClouserLissa Clouser

    I think we do the same thing here! I actually have Depeche Mode’s song “Precious” for one of my novels. Music really helps to inspire!

    April 18, 2012

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