Some authors need total silence, some don’t. I generally fall into the later camp. There’s nothing wrong with the first, but I find music being essential for getting the words flowing. I love having music that defines places and times in my world. If I have to take a break from writing to do, you know, life, it makes it that much easier for me to jump back into.
In fact, my entire series was inspired by a single song.
1. EDM – Zedd “Clarity”
I may as well mention this right at the front. Zedd’s Clarity inspired my two main characters: Aldrik Solaris and Vhalla Yarl. In listening to the song on repeat I began to craft a scene in my mind. During this I started asking, “Who are these people? How did they get to this place?” I love writing to all of Zedd’s music and they all have places in my books.
EDM in general really gets me in a good place because it has a strong emotional vibe and a kind of repetitiveness that fades into the background in a good way.
While it was one song that spurred the start of Air Awakens many other songs have flowed in and out of my writing process to take me to the places I needed to go.
2. Produced Music – City of the Fallen “Sky Becomes Water”
Countless chapters of Air Awakens were written to this song. The slow pulsing growth of the song with a hint of something magical really describes Vhalla’s progression into the world of magic. There’s something mysterious to it that I love and it’s over way too soon. I also listened a lot to The Road Less Traveled.
Produced music is great to write to because it’s generally designed for trailers or to be bought by TV shows and so on. It’s meant to evoke strong emotions in a short period of time so when it’s looped it works really well for writing by not having any lyrics.
3. Produced Music – Two Steps From Hell “To Glory”
Epic music alert. Okay, I challenge you, right now, to listen to this song and not envision some form of grand fantasy battle. Can’t do it? I thought so. I love this song because unlike a lot of other produced music it’s pretty long. Two Steps From Hell also has extremely high quality production. Though now listening to them has ruined movie trailers as I know most of the background songs by name.
If you like Two Steps From Hell and want some longer songs check out Thomas Bergersen. He’s one of the geniuses behind Two Steps From Hell and goes off on his own. His side projects are usually much longer but equal in quality. Take a listen here.
4. Soundtracks – Mawaru Penguindrum “Children of Destiny, Little Punishment”
Is the title alone enough to say why I love this song? From the same soundtrack I also love one of the main themes titled “Children of Destiny.” Soundtrack music, much like produced music, is great to write to because it is designed to evoke a deep emotion from the listener. It also tends to not have words which can be distracting, depending on the scene.
When my super geek isn’t showing and I’m not writing to anime soundtracks I have had a deep love affair with the Jane Eyre Soundtrack Suite.
5. Pop Music Covers – Sam Tsui & Peter Hollens “Dark Horse” (As made famous by Katy Perry)
I’m a sucker for some perfect lyrics and Dark Horse has them. The problem with the original was that awful rap in the middle. But don’t worry, the every amazing Sam Tsui had me covered. That brings me to why I love covers. Have lyrics that speak to your character’s souls but hate the way they’re presented? Look for a great cover. They’re out there and some of my favorites come from Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider.
For anyone wondering, this is an Aldrik to Vhalla song. “I knew you were going to come to me, I’m capable of anything and everything… But don’t make me your enemy. So you want to play with magic, well you should know what you’re falling for.” The lyrics make me die every time in the best of ways.