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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Setting the (Writing) Mood with Music

The human brain responds to music in a way it does with no other sound, even language. Given music's tie to dance, which was originally intended to create an intense, pleasurable sense of intoxication and release, it's no wonder so much of our music centers on love and sex and that dancing often leads to sexytime. Here's how to harness the power of music for your next writing session.

Many people prefer to write in silence or with the TV on. Because I was a DJ once upon a time and can't imagine writing without music, I challenge you to spend a little time creating a playlist, whether it's through Spotify, YouTube, iTunes--whatever your preference is. This may seem time-consuming, but it can be a lot of fun and a great way to discover new music. Center it around a general theme or your current project. I write in several genres, so I have playlists for vampires, werewolves, fantasy, even the apocalypse! I also put one together specifically for Firebird, and now I can't hear those songs without picturing the scene to which they correspond. (You can check it out here.) For me, this is part of the discovery process. I've gotten tons of ideas from song lyrics; even the mood of a song can inspire me and lead to something I hadn't thought of previously. It can influence my characters as well. Alex's musical preferences largely arose because of the genres that dominate the Firebird playlist.

The trick is to avoid music you might sing along to, because before you know it, you'll be typing the lyrics. Video game soundtracks and dark ambient have become my go-to for this reason. This is where writing my first drafts in longhand also helps--I'm more conscious of what I'm writing and less likely to transcribe my favorite song into my book. :) But don't start writing right away. Just listen for a few minutes. Let the music speak to you and let your mind wander. How do you feel? What are you thinking about? Does the song remind you of one of your characters, and in what way?

Writing something sexy and don't know where to begin with your playlist? Try the Angels: Chill Trance Essentials series or the Sexual Chillout and Sensual Trance series for starters. Typing in "erotic chill out" brings up some nice results as well. YouTube playlists are especially fun because they lead you to a wealth of other songs and artists--and hopefully, to the sexiest scenes you've ever written!


1 comment:

  1. Jenn,

    Great post! I often write to music. In fact, I sometimes tweet out what Pandora is playing as I write. I switch between a bunch of different stations depending on my mood, and when I get stuck, it's time for a change in music.



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