Music as a muse

February 4, 2014 at 11:50 am

Are you inspired by music? I am, particularly in my writing.

Each of my books so far have featured a ‘playlist’. A playlist is like a soundtrack. My playlists feature songs or music that inspired or helped me write certain scenes. I often have scenes laid out to a particular piece of music and I play them together in my head, with the piece of music playing along with the action.

I have found that sometimes a song has changed an already written scene because I can see how well the song goes with the action. For example, in The Heir there is a scene when they are being attacked (this is near the end; I am being deliberately vague for those who haven’t read the book yet). After this scene was written, I began to imagine it with Muse’s Map of the Problematique playing behind it. So powerful did the influence of that piece of music become, I adapted the scene to fit it more effectively. I did the same thing with The Crown, in the scene where they are racing back for something (if you’ve read the book you know what it is they’re racing to!). Another Muse song – Glorious – fit it so well that I added elements to make it fit even more effectively.

Of course, it also happens prior to writing. There’s a scene about two thirds into The Reign of which I had only a sketchy idea in my head. At the time I was listening to Hearing Damage by Thom Yorke quite a bit, and before long, I found the scene unfolding as I listened to the music. Also, it helped with another manuscript I am working on (tentatively titled More than Survival). I had thought of the opening scene, but had no real drive to write it, until I happened to be thinking of it while listening to Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me a River. It fit so well that I sat down and started typing.

So music is definitely a muse for me. How about you? What helps motivate you in your creativity?