Monday, August 12, 2013

What's Your Book's Soundtrack?

Ever pick up a book and within several minutes or so pick up on particular song or music genre that winds up playing in the background?

Or, if you're a writer (either serious or casual) find yourself working on a particular section or even doing a cover-to-cover edit, do you find yourself thinking about a particular song or even genre as you go along?

Lately, I've been finding myself thinking either about a particular song or a particular genre while I've been working on a few manuscripts. And somehow, that particular song/genres have fit super snugly within the framework of the story.

For example, I spent a few weeks finishing up the 2nd round of edits for my novella "Blackness In The White Sand". The running theme of the novella is paranormal. Not too over the top with the violence but just enough to make it part and parcel of the story.

But as I went along applying new edits, double checking old notes and making new tweaks, I kept having the hard rock genre pop up inside my head while I was writing. I also kept having the heavy metal genre crop up, but it wasn't as consistent or strong as the hard rock genre. Depending on the section I was working on, I would have strong or super strong hard rock bleed through into my reading and writing.

Every so often when I was either working on a particular section or reading a certain type of scene, a specific song would come through.

For example,I've been trying to come up with a new title for that novella because I don't think the current one works. So whenever I think about a new title, the song "Kill Your Heroes" by AWOLNATION kicks in (if you read the novella, especially the ending, then you'll understand how that song meshes perfectly). And specifically because of this song, I find myself trying to come up with a title based on that song.

Another example would be based on the female MC in the story. Whenever I would read the actions scenes either directly or indirectly involving her, the song "Enemy" by Sevendust inevitably crops up.

With my recently completely novella "Shadow's Vengeance", a whole different kind of music has been worming its way through. Because of the content, genre and tone (religious), the c.d. "Fallen" by Evanescence is becoming the music of choice. Not that it's a bad thing (the c.d. rocks, btw) but it does make hard to think of anything else that might be a tighter fit.

So how 'bout it folks, what do you hear when you pick up a book or write a story? I'm not looking for a specific song geared towards a specific scene but more of an overall musical tone for the story.


  1. When I read mysteries it always invokes Hitchcock soundtracks

  2. Once in a while I'll be listening to music and will have a story idea come to me. Or at least a story scene. It happens more often with poetry. I don't ever hear soundtracks or get ideas for that from a piece I'm working on, though. I hear the sound of the piece in my head as I'm reading it so nothing else really creeps in.

  3. At work, I often find that a certain report or other written material acquires its own soundtrack via a certain CD that I will play incessantly on my Discman until the work is done (weeks or months). The CDs vary but must be ones that I've heard so many times before that I don't have to actually focus on the words/music. Right now Dwight Yoakam's greatest hits are assisting me write a report. Bach helps out with other things. I once finished an entire project to the strains of Bruce Cockburn's greatest hits.

  4. Bearman: That's pretty cool.

    Charles: I've had that happen a few times, in which a particular song gives me the idea for a story.

    Debra: Neat.

    I often find that whenever I have to do a certain tedious task at work, I usually listen to either a children's c.d. (got a few of those) or some 60's folk music to get me through it.

  5. All of mine would end with Eye Of The Tiger:)

  6. Hmm, ones I read or ones I write? As you know, the bulk of my fiction is for kids, so I'd say probably something along the lines of Winnie-the-Pooh. Other stuff varies...I read a lot of different genres.

  7. M: Children's music is cool, classic is better though.


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