Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Influences: Drifting on Musical Tones

I will have to admit that this blog entry snuck up on me. I don’t know where the month of August escaped to. I’ve looked for remnants of it under the bed and cowering in the corners with the dust bunnies, but the only place I’ve found it are in unanswered emails that are impatiently waiting in my inbox. As a result, I have to admit that I might ramble a bit in today’s blog entry as I search for a direction, theme, topic.

I’m currently in the middle of edits for Burn the Night: the sixth book in the Dark Days series. As I trek slowly through the chapters, trying to decide what stays and what has to go, I find myself trying to recapture the mood by returning to music that I listened to while writing the book. For the sixth book in the series, I once again found myself returning to some old favorites in the form of Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Korn, and Tool. At least, those were Mira’s favorite bands and seemed to reflect her short temper, driving need for violence and control, and general fire of spirit.

At the moment, there is a second storyteller in the book and I needed new music to reflect this voice that is so different and yet similar to Mira. This character lacks the driving fire and short temper, but has the same dedication to a task and loyalty to those that she cares about. For this storyteller, I found myself slipping into Placebo, Tori Amos, and the soundtrack to “Pride and Prejudice.” I needed something a little more subtle and haunting as I worked with this character.
Music is an absolute must for me as I work. I am generally unaware of what specific song that I am listening to while I type, but the sound creates a mood that helps as I write a scene. The sounds seep into my subconscious and taint my words as they trickle across the screen.

When I’m not working on the book, but sitting at the computer, I currently find myself listening to a new playlist that I created called “random sad songs,” which includes “I Need Some Sleep” by the Eels, “Hallelujah” by Rufus Wainwright, “Mad World” by Gary Jules, the Meds album by Placebo and the Ophelia album by Natalie Merchant. I’m need to dump this collection soon or I may soon be stuck in this melancholy mood.

Looking forward, I’m hoping to soon start a new series and I’m searching for new music to match my new storyteller. He’s a very interesting character that I am quickly becoming enamored of, though I’m still somewhat wary. However, I feel like I can’t love him until I know his soul and I can’t see his soul until I find his music. I can’t use the same bands that filled the Dark Days series because this series has a very different feel. I have a feeling that that Rob Zombie will be making an appearance in the playlist. It has a nice driving beat, an overall darkness, and yet a tongue-in-cheek attitude that fits this character. We shall see what I am finally attracted to as I begin to work on this book.

My question for you is what are you currently listening to? What drives you when you’re working? Is there anything that you simply can’t listen to when you work?

13 comments:

Pacey1927 said...

Tori Amos always...Been listening to a LOT of old REM...Reckoning, Fables, etc. From listening to the radio too much in the mornings I have "I wanna be a billionaire" stuck in my flippin head all day.

Sharon S. said...

I can't read while listening to music and the thought of writing with music is beyond me! But lots of authors do it. I understand having a playlist for a character and that is something a fan like me likes to see on an authors website (hint, hint, wink, wink, author people) .

I listen to music while doing house stuff. Right now I am painting. My music must have a driving beat for the most part:
Brokencyde, Alesana, Cobra Starship, 3OH!3, Three Days Grace, Sick Puppies, The Veronicas...

Terri Garey said...

It's interesting you ended up talking about playlists, Jocelynn. I make them, too. Music definitely sets the mood for me, and often sparks something in my writing. Sometimes I'll end up listening to the same songs over and over before I write certain scenes, because they convey the character's mood or personality.

Except, like Sharon, I can't imagine listening WHILE I write - my brain focuses on the lyrics instead of the pages, and I just can't do both at the same time. :-)

I love making playlists - I made a "Halloween night" playlist last week with some dark-themed songs that hadn't been done to death (ha!), (like Lullaby by The Cure and Lucretia, My Reflection by Sisters of Mercy).

No "Werewolves of London" or "Monster Mash" for me! :-D

Rachel Morgan said...

Just like Sharon and Terri, I can't have music on WHILE I'm writing. The words are too distracting when I'm trying to think of my own. But I often listen to specific music before writing a scence, to set the appropriate mood in my mind, or during my "thinking" time (of which there is lots!)

I am SO in love with 30 Seconds to Mars' "This is War" album!

And for haunting, beautiful, sad I love the song they used when advertisint Gray's Anatomy season 6, Joy Williams' "Speaking a Dead Language".

Jeroen-bart Engelen said...

My music taste tends to be influenced by the mood I'm currently in and not so much the other way around.
So the music I listen to depends on my state of mind. I don't create special playlists, but maybe I should, because I spend a lot of time clicking "next" because I wasn't in the mood for the song that started playing.

Currently I listen to everything in my Collection. Although I did listen to a few Korn CDs a while back. CDs I didn't know (hadn't really listened to Korn aside from their first two CDs), but ended up really liking.
I also listen to Kontrust (Time to tango) a lot these days. Brilliant Austrian band. If you like Rob Zombie give them a try. They also have the funky, dance-like beat with some heavy undertones. I'm not really sure what they sing about, but it doesn't sound too seriously :-)

When I need to concentrate I don't like to listen to songs I don't really know yet and which I can clearly understand the lyrics of. Then I'll try and listen to the lyrics instead of concentrating on my work.

Pamela Palmer said...

I usually have to listen to music while I write, but only instrumentals. It distracts that part of my brain that likes to remind me, in the middle of a deep, emotional scene, that I forgot to pick up the laundry. I don't choose music for a character, though. I pick the music that puts me in the right mood (dark and moody). My favorite music to write to for the past few years has been Keiko Matsui's new age jazz. Lately I've been turning to soundtracks. My current faves: Halo3, Inception, and the Last Samurai. When I'm not writing, I still tend toward the moody stuff. I love 'Mad World'. :)

Sullivan McPig said...

I need my mp3-player when I'm working as there's a radio on at my work set to the hit station and I get really annoyed by most popular music. My favourite genres are Industrial and Gothic, with some Metallish music and other Alternative music stacked in there too.

Crystal said...

I saw Korn and Rob Zombie last month at Mayhem Fest and they were awesome. Rob always puts on a spectacular stage show.
I remember in school I use to blare Marilyn Manson, Korn, White Zombie & NIN while doing homework.

I currently love the song by My Darkest Days, Porn Star Dancing. So catchy and Zac Wylde is always amazing on guitar. It is an excellent cleaning song.
But then sometimes I have to switch from rocker girl to country girl and listen to some Jason Aldean.

@Terri, I love The Cure's - Lullaby. It's on my playlist right now.

Katie Dalton said...

Florence and the Machine
Marina and the Diamonds
Temper Trap
City and Colour
The Limousines (San Jose band woot woot)
Enigma

thats right now what I am feeling when being creative.

http://ismellsheep.blogspot.com

Patricia Lynne said...

I go w/ almost a little bit of everything - except country or rap. there's a few songs in that genra, but not many. at work, I usually put it on random (and still get the same songs playing over and over) at home, it matches up to my mood more. when I'm all for slow, sad music, I go w/ the Chrono Cross soundtrack (video game) Happier moods I go w/ fast paced music like Green Day or Shakira (odd combo but I love both)

Nicole Murphy said...

I can't listen to music at all when I write - I must have as close to silence as I can muster, or background noise that doesn't distract. I am envious of those of you who can write with music playing.

nymfaux said...

I guess I'm like everybody else in that the lyrics tend to distract me. But I know that when I was a kid and used to make up stories, I would let the music inspire me, or sometimes play the same one over and over, to keep the same feeling.

I still do the same thing, I'll find something that puts me in the right mood and just put it on repeat.

Just some random association---You mentioned haunting music--have you tried the October Project? I've been thinking about them a lot lately. And also, there's a Vince Gill song called Ophelia, from the Maverick soundtrack--I've never been much of a country person, but it's one of the songs that I'll just let repeat forever, a combination of haunting and fiery.

GB said...

When I'm at work and need to concentrate, it's much easier to put on the MP3 player - I share an office with four others and people are always coming and going, talking with each other or on the phone etc. Right now, I'm listening to a lot of old time swing because I'm desperate for more after going to a swing concert at the weekend. Usually, it's Marian Call and She & Him.

For other situations, it depends what I'm doing/reading. The swing music is working perfectly while I'm reading the latest Gail Carriger. Rock music like The Butterfly Effect and Dead Letter Circus didn't meld very well with the protagonist's voice and the setting but they work better for more contemporary UF or PNR.

On the weekend, while I do my housework, I have a Prodigy CD on repeat. I need the high energy beats to do the vacuuming! :)