I normally avoid listening to songs with lyrics as I write as I get distracted – however, a few pop songs have been perfect for inspiring the feeling I need. For example, recently I was writing a story about obsessive love, and put Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Addicted’ and Darren Hayes ‘Insatiable’ on a loop as I wrote. They did the job – the scene came out obsessive and crazed and a bit sexy. And a lot of my Stargate fanfic was inspired by MeatLoaf songs.
But normally I use classical music, so I’m not tempted to sing along. ‘One Fine Day’ from Madame Butterfly for those heartbreaking moments. ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Turandot (NOT sung by Pavarotti – the Jose Carreras version) for something darker. The finale of Mozart’s Don Giovanni for moments of inescapable and destructive destiny – Mozart’s requiem for death scenes, naturally. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for sadness, Tales of Hoffman for seduction, and Ravel’s Bolero for sex. And practically the whole of Carmen for passion. As for love – any of the great duets by Verdi or Puccini.
Once the music is on – just in the background, so I’m only really picking it up on a subliminal level, I sit down and start to write, with no real clear plan, letting the music guide me. If I get stuck, I lie back, turn the music on and let my mind wander and I’ll get the answer.
Classical music is a closed book to many people, and in that case use something you know moves you. But whatever you like music can be a really helpful way to get the creative juices flowing.
(By the way – in case you were interested – I did write last weekend, and yes I felt the tingle – and yes, I think this one may be good enough to try and sell – if I can find the right place.)