From what I can tell by listening to other authors, music is a big part of most everyone’s writing habit. Be it classical music, such as Beethoven (which, thanks to Bill and Ted, I pronounce Beeth-Oven) and Mozart, soundtrack scores, or other popular tunes. Personally, my iPod is filled mostly with hard rock and heavy metal. If I feel the words coming out are starting to be influenced by the lyrics, I can always listen to the “cookie monster” bands–you know, those grindcore and death metal bands that have a lead singer that belts out grunts instead of melodically singing.
Sometimes songs also spark story ideas. I’ve had a few flash fiction stories based on song lyrics. Sometimes it’s quite overt and hard to miss (especially if the reader knows the song), and sometimes no one would know unless they really dove into the analysis. At the moment I’m working on the first draft of a ghost story/horror novel aimed at adults. I hadn’t planned on working on this yet, as I’m also working on revising a young adult modern fantasy story. I don’t often work on two big projects at the same time, so the plan was to revise the YA book and then tackle the first draft of the horror novel. I had a good idea what I wanted to do with it, but I still needed a good hook. It’d wait until after the revisions, and then I’d find my hook which would add that extra excitement to the project. Little did I know, that would come a bit early.
One of my favorite songs is “Rapture” by Hurt. Honestly, when I listen to songs, I don’t usually dig into the lyrics. The voice is simply another instrument in the band, and I’m happy to sing along with the catchier parts. Works for me. But occasionally I will analyze what’s being said in a song. I did this not too long ago with Rapture. And once I did, something snapped in my brain, and I knew what I wanted to do with my horror story. And I also knew I wanted to start right away–only doing one project at a time be damned!
For those of you who have never heard the song, here’s a link to it on youtube: “Rapture” by Hurt. That link has the lyrics underneath, if you’re interested. The parts that really sparked my imagination come from the 2nd verse and the outro. Once I had those in mind, I knew what my story was missing, and I was off and running. At the moment, I’m writing close to 1000 words a day (not as fast as I could go, but not bad), and also spending a couple of hours revising that YA book. I’m happy with how the work for both is going. Would my life have been easier if I’d simply decided to work on one thing at a time? Sure. Would I have felt as excited, as fulfilled? No, probably not.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this look into my writing life. I’d love to see some comments about what you like to listen to when you write and/or if any certain song has ever sparked a story. I also hope you enjoyed the song “Rapture.” If you did, check out more from Hurt. They’re an awesome band! And if you either don’t want to click on the link above, or already have and simply want to hear the song again, here you go: