When I write fiction – be it Reunion: A Story (AKA “the one that’s floating out there on Amazon and the online Barnes & Noble store”), “The New Story,” or the occasional screenplay – I tend to listen to music as I sit at my desk, regardless of whether I’m writing or gnashing my teeth in frustration because “the damn ideas aren’t flowing…”
I listen to music simply because even though I need to concentrate when I’m writing, I can’t do that in a totally silent environment. The absolute absence of sound is just as distracting to me as too much-unwanted noise; I start feeling completely isolated and alone, which in turn makes me nervous and extremely depressed. Music, especially instrumental music with no lyrics, tends to soothe my nerves and even serves as a source of inspiration, especially if I’m writing stories with romantic bits or take place in a specific historical period.
I am not – thankfully – working on “The New Story” today, although a few fretful thoughts about possible “plot holes” or inconsistencies have flitted through my mind throughout the day. So far, I’ve resisted the siren call to at least address potential issues in Chapter Six, but since I have not gamed, watched a movie, or read much today (I’ve read some, but just small bits from two different books), those troubling thoughts about plot holes or possibly ridiculous developments circle overhead like buzzards over a carcass in the middle of the desert.
When I write fiction, I tend to see minimovies of the scenes I’m writing – or trying to write, at least – in my mind’s eye. And since I am a movie soundtrack fan, I often assign certain pieces of music to either the story itself or its characters as their “themes” or “leitmotifs.”
This is, of course, the result of 46 years of listening to music composed and usually conducted by John Williams for movies such as Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, E.T., Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, and even an Oliver Stone movie that I don’t like – JFK.
Because the story I am working on is a somewhat complicated one – in terms of making sure the details are right, that they make sense (even though real life often doesn’t make sense at all), and the characters at least behave realistically – and takes place in two distinct time periods, I often listen not to period music (too distracting, and it requires more research than necessary) but to songs that are explicitly mentioned in the narrative or reflect certain qualities in the characters, especially the protagonist and the two leading ladies – one for each time period…and no, this isn’t a science-fiction story that involves time travel! – of The New Story.
Anyway…I thought I’d share some of the musical pieces I’ve been listening to or have mentioned in the text of my current “work in progress” here – it might be fun for you to listen to, and (hopefully) you’ll like at least a few of them. (Let me know in the comments section below!)
You must be logged in to post a comment.