How Music Affects My Writing
I am a writer. That’s my job, my passion, my hobby. I love to write. Ideally, I’d be able to write in serene silence. Unfortunately, silence is a rare and elusive nymph. I must counter the idea-interrupting chaos with music. Frequently, that music is instrumental because I have the bad habit of accidently sprinkling my writing with lyrics. But that’s another issue.
The point I’m trying to make here is that what I listen to affects my writing. I can’t tell you how often Pandora has changed songs on me and the point I was making suddenly shifted. This is not a bad thing. Often, I get stuck in a rut and my writing becomes boring and repetitive. The sudden shift is a godsend.
I’ll give you an example. When writing fiction, it is often difficult to know whether to write in first or third person, especially at the very beginning. I was going along, writing a perfectly decent piece of fiction in third person, when suddenly the calm yet invigorating piano of LudovicoEinaudi’s “Ora” took over. I’d reached the tipping point, actually that was the name of the chapter I had just started, and the piano started speaking the character’s voice. All of a sudden, my story was first person and she was most strident in her demands to express herself. Instead of the meticulous dialogue of the previous chapters, this chapter was convoluted, complex, incoherent at times, completely lacking in punctuation appropriateness, full of run on sentences, and absolutely eye-opening. The song seemed to capture her helplessness, her rage, her fear, and her reasoning. It was as ponderous and yet strategically injured as she was. Her train of thought jumped with every pause in the piano, moving from acceptance to embitterment to rage to spite and finally, to a calm, careful hate.
I pulled away from my keyboard, startled. How could one song, eight minutes long, create such a character? Everything I’d never known about her had bubbled to the surface, startling me with its intensity and yet oh so right. I put the song on repeat and finished the chapter. Whenever her character returned, that was the song I used. Until after the climax of the story, that is. When her rage had been spent and revenge gotten, it no longer fit her. I sat there, puzzled. It wasn’t as if I HAD to have music to inspire me, it certainly hadn’t been needed for the other characters, but she seemed to call for a different song now. With a sigh, I returned to Pandora’s random mix… and it played Secret Garden’s “Sometimes When it Rains”.
The stringed instruments were gentle and mournful, quiet and sad. Everything about it whispered loneliness and regret. It was perfect. The dénouement of the story was all about turning away from her past, even the good parts. Walking away and leaving everything behind. And yet, there is still strength to the music. It is not running away from problems but rather, having faced them, choosing to leave them behind.
I completed her part in the story, sitting back when it was completed and wondering just how it had resolved itself like that. I’d certainly not planned any of this at the beginning of the tale. It wasn’t as if the music had changed the story but rather it had exposed the internal complexities of the character, and SHE had changed the story. Who knew that music had such power to reveal?
Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, and Babysitting, find a nanny tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com.