Friday, December 19, 2008

Writing Mood Music

I am not one of those writers that needs absolute quiet. I write with the tv blaring, kids fighting, piano playing, violin screeching, kids screaming, husband snoring, radio blasting, kids laughing, etc. It is always noisy in the house. I've gotten used to working in chaos and sometimes when the house is too quiet, it is actually harder to work. Too much quiet can feel oppressive some times.

So I do like to play music sometimes while I am writing. Not always, just when I feel a situation calls for it. What I call my mood music. When I am outlining, or brainstorming, world building, etc. - I like having Sarah McLachlan playing on my ipod. When I have some emotional angsty stuff, I reach for Tori Amos. And when I am really sleepy and need to wake myself up, I put on country western music cause I hates the stuff and it will actually make me mad. I'd rather eat raw liver than listen to continuous country music.

Speaking of being mad, I love blasting music most especially when I am writing scenes filled with fighting and violence. Which, by the way, there is a lot of in my books. In fact all 3 of my manuscripts have quite alot of violence in them. I don't know what that says about my personality, but there it is. I am a violent person.

Below is the music I like to blast when working on a battle or fight sequence. It is almost an anthem of mine. And yes I loved their first single too.

Anybody else have a musical anthem they'd like to share?

25 comments:

Kim Kasch said...

I can take a lot of noise, having grown up in a house with 9 kids. Plus it seems my son's soccer team lived at our house from the time he started kindergarten through his senior year.

But, for some reason, I like it quiet when I write - probably because I'm writing in bed LATE at night - I don't start writing until after 9 or 10 p.m. and sometimes not until eleven or twelve.

writtenwyrdd said...

Evanescence and other Goth rock bands are always good for me to write by, but frequently I opt for chick rock like Sara mcLaughlin, Sheryl Crow, etc. or classical or Latin music. Depends on my mood--distractable by rock and needing to be soothed, or needing to feel agressive, lol.

Kappa no He said...

I love the country music idea. Play music you hate to get you riled up. I'll have to try that!

Jeanie W said...

I have a hard time writing with music playing. My attention tends to wander over to the rhythm coming from the stereo and away from the flow of my own story. Whenever I've tried to align my music choice to the nature of the scene I'm writing, the musical tempo diverges from the course of the plot before I'm finished. I love music, but I've given up trying to make it work.

Btw, Ellen, thanks for stopping by and commenting so nicely on my blog.

Smittenly Written said...

Coldplay...every new novel idea was borne after a new record release. I can't get enough.

And I have to agree about Tori Amos...two from NanoWrimo08 were Bouncing off Clouds and Winter. Gotta love talent with roots to Rockville!!! :)

I also love movie soundtracks...Cold Mountain found it's way into my cd player in the car this past week.

Whirlochre said...

When I'm at home I can't tolerate noise of any kind, up to and including the passive snuggle of Oxygen and Nitrogen atoms against my eardrums.

However, if I'm sitting in a bar, I can survive max volume punk bands (plus their fans).

Jennifer said...

Hi Ello,

Thanks for visiting my blog! In addition to the two attorney marriage, do you have two cultures, too?? That makes it even MORE interesting..

As for music, I can't write with it on, but often use it before to get me in the right mood. When I am just starting something (and excited) I like Pearl Jam or something similar--something that sounds best LOUD.

When I got to the tragic part in my lastest short story, I would warm up with the Jeff Buckley version of Hallelujah or the Iz version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. (Better to get the sappiness out of my system so it didn't show up in my writing.)

Funny, I could always study to music in college/law school, but maybe it's easier to focus when you're jacked up on a six pack of Mt. Dew!

Mary Witzl said...

They say Robert Burns managed to write his stuff in the midst of chaos: kids scrambling all over him, wife yakking away, etc. I aspire to be the same (because like you, I have little alternative), but when I'm trying to write dialogue I need COMPLETE QUIET and I fear I get a little irritable when I cannot get it.

I like listening to music when I write too. I might have on Ry Cooder or Latin or classical or Leonard Cohen or maybe some enka or my kids' beloved Visual K. And what's wrong with country?

I'm rewriting now -- a piece I thought was virtually finished. It's utter crap. I would be depressed about it, but I'm just glad I finally recognized the problems...

Charles Gramlich said...

That's not bad. I like it pretty well. My favorite song for battle songs is "Deaf Forever" by Motorhead. I've linked it in the past on my blog, but I'm sure it's on youtube if you're dying to hear it.

JaneyV said...

I'm the opposite - there's so much noise in my life that I crave silence. Even in the car, I can't bear the radio. I find that life is too cacophonous. Give me stillness.

There must be something inherently violent about Evanescence. Big Son listens to them all the time while leading battle in Halo 3 n X-box live.

spyscribbler said...

I have to be careful with music and noise. It's like, after listening so hard to students play, and after hearing so many mistakes, I need, need, NEED silence. Peace.

But I can do a little more, lately, especially soundtracks.

This is cool. My introduction to Evanescence was a student playing a bit of one of their songs on the piano. This sounds much better.

laughingwolf said...

i work best in dead silence... though your choices i'd listen to when not trying to create, whether writing or drawing... like when i need a break ;) lol

Kelly said...

I LOVE Evanescence! She has such a beautiful yet haunting voice! ONce I was listening to "Bring Me to Life" on my Ipod while grocery shopping, and I didn't realize it but I was singing softly along. I came to the part where it says, "I've been living a lie, there's nothing inside." I was looking at a stack of cans while singing it, another woman looked at me strangely and booked out of the aisle!
I usually can't have the kiddies around when writing. They are such distractions! I sometimes put music on too though.

Lisa L. Leibow said...

I have no choice but to put up with noise when I write at home. My house is filled with the happy chaos of three very active boys, a husband who is addicted to Law and Order re-runs, and a dog who snores loud enough to wake the neighbors.

Once I was in a coffee shop writing and suddenly a children's hour with "Mr. Knicknack" started all around me. I actually worked the echos of "She'll be comin' 'round the mountain" into my scene!

We get insiration from the strangest places...

As for mellow distractions from the noise: my new favorite is Adelle. She sounds like a sober Amy Weinhouse. LOVE IT!

John Kauffman said...

I like to write outdoors, at night, with the crickets and critters chirping. I like the feeling of peace... of things settling down from a busy day. It's my way of unwinding. It's also why I don't get enough sleep.

However, when I'm in the office working on a stack of snail mail/email that needs investigation (a low-impact workout), I like to listen to just about anything you could consider "work-out" music. I've gotta pull the headphones whenever I need to engage my brain though.

jason evans said...

Ah, Amy Lee. Nice choice. :) I really like that album.

I use music to transport me into the right frame of mind too. My problem is that I find myself listening and drifting too much, and writing too little. ;)

strugglingwriter said...

I can't write to music. I don't know why. I'm so fragile. :)

Jacqui said...

Love them. And gotta agree with Smittenly Written about Coldplay. Also Radiohead's latest album.

And I listen to Linkin Park a lot. Sigh.

LarramieG said...

So much for Holiday cheer! *G*

Travis Erwin said...

You are listening to the wrong kind of country. that stuff Nashville ours forth is crap but here in Texas we have some damned fine music that you might call country but is really y'alternative.

March to the Sea said...

my mood changes too much to listen to any one thing..most often I have just "whatever" on...i never rush to grab something for a mood..as odd as that sounds coming from a guy that does a music blog.

laughingwolf said...

season's blessings to you and yours, m'dear :D

Stuart Neville said...

Just swinging by to wish you a Happy New Year to you and the family. I hope you have a great 2009!

Colleen_Katana said...

I absolutely cannot have quiet when I write. I need the background noise. I usually throw on a tv show or movie in the genre that I'm writing...like when I was writing for Animal Fair, I'd watch Cesar Milan's show. If I'm writing romantic comedyish things, I watch a chick flick. But lately, I've been pulling up youtube on my computer and listening to Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking discuss various topics. That way, I'm actually somewhat educating myself as well...somewhat being the key word.

Sarah Specht said...

Everytime I sit on the computer and write, I need musik! And I love Amy Lee! (Evanescence)
I hear her songs when I have an idea, and when I need one, I hear Oomph! or Schandmaul. =)
When it's somwhere in between, I hear the Musikal: Phantom of the Opera. Don't know why! I just love it! *grin*