If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Do You Listen to Music While You Write?

Do you listen to music while you write? When I want to inspire myself to sit down and write, I mentally channel the soundtrack to “Rocky” or the typewriter keys clacking of the “Murder She Wrote” theme song. But unlike many writers, I cannot have any distraction while in the act of writing. For me, it’s the sounds of silence in the library or at the dining room table.

I do understand how a good soundtrack can set the mood for a story, how a piece of music can immediately strike emotional chords that can jumpstart a scene. I just can’t have the music playing while I write.

It is fascinating to me that other writers do listen while they write and I enjoy seeing what other writers use for playlists. When I did a Google search on this topic, I discovered that many writers create specific playlists for their books. The NaNoWriMo website even has a section where writers help each other construct playlists. There are playlists for “a female ex-assassin”; songs for “cutesy, happy” scenes; and “beautiful music for deeply powerful, inspirational” scenes. This is where I discovered my new obsession, a group called Two Steps From Hell. They do instrumental music for TV and movie trailers. The word epic is not epic enough for what they do. Their music not only inspires me to clean my kitchen floor, it makes me want to clean my kitchen floor while battling were-snakes with the hammer of Thor. One commenter described perfectly their song “El Dorado”: “This song shall be played when my wife has our baby and he will be borneth a Dragon!”

Many writers claim that writing to a soundtrack increases their creativity and output. In general, I use music in two ways: to ground myself in a time period or in a character’s, er, character.

In one WIP, my MC is a former model, a woman of larger-than-life personality, beauty, and charisma. Her life is over the top. Drama follows her. Her soundtrack is Big '80s all the way. The power ballads of Heart, Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, and Pat Benatar ground me in her personality faster than pages of character development.

When I wrote my short story, “Disco Donna,” I listened to the music of the seventies, the time period of Donna herself, especially the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever. The lyrics helped me get into the mindset of a young woman of that time plus gave me a handle on the way people of that era spoke and sang.

For my new work in progress, my MC Allegra Larkin is a dancer in her twenties. She’s just starting out in life. Her world is one of artifice, imagination, and beauty built on a foundation of hard, grinding physical effort. So she’s tough, though you wouldn’t think it when you look at her. Listening to classical ballet music like Swan Lake or The Firebird gets me in touch with her otherworldly occupation.

Do you listen to music while you write? Do you have a playlist?

11 comments:

Kait said...

Sounds of silence for me.

I took a creativity class once and it stressed that if a writer listened to music while writing, it would open new pathways in creativity. Nope. Not for me. When I listen to music, I listen to music. I love words. I love songs with words, the song words and the story words fight and clash like an angry sea. I do admire people who can have music playing during the writing process, but alas, I am not among them.

Just had a great idea though--I think I will plug my earbuds in while writing. With the iPod off. Great excuse for not being interrupted. "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't hear you tell me you couldn't find your cell phone, dear. Of course I would have helped you look!" Hee, hee, hee. Evil laugh.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I write in silence, or what passes for silence with two dogs with spring fever. I do listen to music to get geared up for writing. "Light My Fire" by the Doors usually does the job. At the end of the day, when I'm reading over what I've written and planning the next day, something quiet and contemplative (Monteverdi, Palestrina).

Julie Tollefson said...

No music for me. I do sometimes envy the people who can write to music. They look so productive in the coffee shops, earbuds in and fingers flying on their keyboards!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Silence is preferable. If there is distracting noise (read any noise) then I'll use New Age music as a blocker. It can't have words, or I'll start singing; it can't have a tune I know or I'll start humming. That leaves out most of my music collection, but allows most of my New Age collection.

~ Jim

Shari Randall said...

Hi Kait, *evil cackle* you are a girl after my own heart.

Hi Margaret, I'm a Doors fan, too! But I think I'd end up dancing instead of writing if I played any….

Hi Julie, that's another thing that amazes me - how do people concentrate in coffee shops? That's a writer cliche that simply does not work for me.

Hi Jim, I haven't tried any New Age music or other white noise….maybe I'll give it a whirl.

Warren Bull said...

Silence for me too. I get involved if the music if there is any.

vicki batman said...

I listen to classical guitar when writing. No words to mess with my head, but in the car? I rock on to classic rock or Simply Frank. LOL

KM Rockwood said...

Like you, I tend to listen to music that reflects the characters I'm writing. For my Jesse Damon series (a convicted murder on parole) I do have kind of a play list--a few CDs with things like Folsom Prison, Indiana Wants Me, etc.

When I'm writing about my back-woods characters, I listen to a local AM country radio station, esp. the blue grass programs. And the soundtrack to Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

I fall back on classic rock for some characters.

And others, esp. the ones who are homeless or live without electricity, demand no musical background at all.

Michele Drier said...

It's silence. I usually have earworms (songs in your head that repeat in an endless loop...sometimes for a couple of days) and that's enough!

Robert Doucette said...

Part of my new writing ritual is to listen to "Nature Sounds" rain, ocean waves, Zen chants, etc through earplugs. This keeps me focused and tells my body "Settle down. It's time to write." Without this background noise, I find it is too easy for me to web surf, get a snack, check my mail, etc.

I like the idea od backtground music that reflects the action of the book or the character I'm writing but soon find I'm listening to the music and not typing.

Gloria Alden said...

Shari, I listen to music when I'm driving somewhere - or news since my radio is always on NPR, and I listen to music every evening when I settle down in my nesting chair to write in my journal and then read until bed time. I have stacks of CD's and my music is eclectic. I'm not sure why I don't put any CD's on in the afternoon when I'm writing. Although, actually now when I think about it, when I was writing about a Civil War Reenactment in book four, I had a CD with the music of the Civil War era along with Jay Unger's Ashokan Farewell, so I listened to that off and on. I can't imagine a life without music. Maybe I'll put something on my CD player right now because I'm ready to tackle my next chapter as soon as I log off.