A Manuscript’s Soul: Music

8 Jun

Music is one of those things I can’t write without. I have to have something filling my ears so that my writing comes out clear. Music has a way of putting me on auto-pilot if you know what I mean. As soon as the earphones are on, the world goes out and then *snap* I’m zoned in!

So today I wanted to spend a little time talking about how I find music for writing, and why it’s important to me as a writer and just as a person.

First of all, I think (as I’m sure many of you would agree) that all “arts” are based upon each other like the limbs of a tree, they all share the same trunk. I think that the connection of music, literature, and the physical (draw, sculpted, etc.) arts is very strong and that intermingling of any of them is almost effortless if you know what you’re doing.

For me it seems natural to channel emotions or ideas from music into what I write. The absence of that music seems to make my writing fall flat. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I kind of view my music as the “soul” of my work.

That is what I like to start with in my writing “The Soul” what makes the piece tick, what is the emotion that drives these characters, and that’s when I pick music that lets me channel that “soul” or “emotion” or what have you, for that piece.

So that brings us to the how. How to find music that not only fits your piece but music that is easily accessible.

To find music for my “manuscripts” first I like to find a single song that I think expresses the general mood of the piece, in BTE’s case I chose “The Call” by Regina Spektor. The song had a sullen mood, with a hopeful undertone, and seemed to have a nice flow to it, and I thought the lyrics pretty well suited the book (as it stood then).

Next I use pandora.com , or more recently jango.com (which will probably be what I use for CARVE’s soundtrack) to find “similar” songs,  or sometimes artists, I feel will pull the piece in the direction I want. For instance, I’m pretty positive that the bands SEETHER, and ANGELS AND AIRWAVES will be playing a part in CARVE’s music.

After I figure out “songs” and “artists” I want on the track, I pull up my favorite site in the world: playlist.com. Here I label a playlist with the manuscripts name, and begin to add my sound tracks preferably in chronological order (This all depends on how well my plot has been outlined, and how well I know the manuscript before beginning).

And there you have it! A “Soul” for you manuscript!

I usually heavily revise my playlist after first draft editing has been done (as BTE’s will be before I start writing draft 2). My playlist evolves as the manuscript does, changing a little with each draft.

So, go on out and do some soul searching! Check these sites out:





Inspired by Maggie Stiefvater’s blog I am adding a “Current music” blurb at the end of every post, so you guys can keep up with my musical craziness

Juan’s blog “These Immortal Words” has finally been added to my blog roll! A long over due addition, check it out!


3 Responses to “A Manuscript’s Soul: Music”

  1. peacesigngirl21 June 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    I understood every word of this! I, too, am required to have music playing before those words floating around in my head can be typed/written. Great post! 😀

    • nkeda14 June 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

      Thanks 😀

      At least I know i’m not crazy… or maybe we are both just crazy? haha

  2. gabriellan June 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    I can’t even begin to write without making up a playlist first. Usually I try to make the songs follow the mood of the book carefully, because I tend to write as the music tone dictates. The characters get songs, the whole novel gets a song, specific relationships get songs. Sometimes even certain scenes gets songs, and I’ll listen to that one song over and over while I’m working on the scene.

    Back before I got my iPod, Playlist.com was my best friend 🙂

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