Music depresses me (James, Whiplash)...
Least ways some times it does.
Way back in February, Alison Tyler served up a sexual soundtrack of songs that hiked her libido off the Richter scale, and well, eight months later I'm still trying to think of one track that has the same effect on me. Okay, maybe there is one, but we'll get to that later...
Anyway, this lack of a sexy soundtrack is weird, because I use music all the time when I'm writing as inspiration and to conjure moods.
For me, writing is not simply about putting words onto paper. I have to make myself part of story, become the characters, fall in love with them, feel their triumphs and loses. In short, I have to feel the same emotional highs and lows. To do that I use music, and I have a list of tracks I know are guaranteed to evoke strong emotions.
Lets start with a heart breaker! Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks. I am actually incapable of listening to this song without crying, because I associate it very strongly with loss and grief. Obviously, I don't like upsetting myself, but it is a useful tool if I want to remind myself how that feels while I'm writing.
Whereas if I want melancholy, I might choose this one, Stranger on the Shore - Acker Bilk.
Pensive, waiting for something to happen, or not yet ready to move on, and I'll probably be listening to Nine While Nine, by the Sisters of Mercy. The beat pulls me forward, while the lyrics throw up all sorts of wonderful images. In case you haven't noticed I'm also quite a visually orientated person.
Darker, angry, accusatory, with maybe a hint of theatre? My story Lust for Blood, in Love on the Dark Side, a nasty tale of a vampire threesome, was written while listening to (and watching) Nymphetamine Fix on endless repeat.
With some songs it's not a specific emotion I'm trying to conjure but a whole range of them, and then I'll look for something that musically mimics the tone of the story as a whole rather than at one point. The best example of this type of music is Redemption, by Gackt, which I listened to while writing Blood Angel, (in Possession), and with this piece of music it's definitely all about feelings and diffuse concepts, because really my Japanese isn't that hot!
Sometimes it's not even about a specific mood, but more of a sense of a whole person and how a certain character interacts with the world. Vaughan, Marquis of Pennerley, from A Gentleman's Wager (Feb '08) & Phantasmagoria (Mar '08) has changed over time, but if I ever want to remind myself what he's about, I listen to these two songs, which sum him up nicely for me.
So, my question for you, is am I the only one who uses music in this way while writing, or do you all just put on your favourite song of the moment and type away? Maybe you prefer to write in silence! What tracks evoke strong emotions for you? Let me know in the comments.
Oh, and one last thing... That track I mentioned at the beginning, you know, the one that does something for my libido, well here it is... (okay, may the images help ;-))
Madelynne Ellis xx