Music to Write By…

It’s Wednesday, you lucky people, and that means it’s time for Wednesday Ramblings. This week, the gang (Bronwyn Green, Kris Norris, Jess JarmanJenny Trout, Gwendolyn Cease, and Kelly St. James) and I take a look at the music that we write by.

Music is a big inspiration for me. It’s almost Pavlovian…turn on the tunes and out come theWhat I need to write... words (a lot faster than when I have nothing but silence, that’s for sure). I will admit that, on occasion, the music flavors the words (in one memorable instance, an angry song on a playlist gave me a very angry protagonist), so I have learned that my soundtracks need to be fluid. If the songs I chose the first time around don’t work, I’ve learned to move ’em out and try again.

My current WIP deals with a boy, a deadly virus, and a very nasty military man who would like to have said virus for his very own. With the home stretch in view (final ten chapters or so), I’m in the process of tweaking my musical inspiration just this week. Sometimes a single line can make or break a song’s spot on the list. Without further ado, I give you the current Reservoir playlist. The songs below are not listed by preference. It’s more of a historical timeline.

First up, the Jake Lonergan theme from Cowboys & Aliens. Nicely Western with some fine electric guitar, this theme matches my setting, which is the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana.

Extreme Ways by Moby is in the #2 slot. Its other name is the Bourne Theme, and you’d know it immediately if you heard it. It plays at the end of each of the four Jason Bourne movies (Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, Bourne Ultimatum, and Bourne Legacy). It’s catchy.

Nickelback puts in two appearances with If Today Was Your Last Day and This is How You Remind Me. When I say deadly virus, think Lassa Fever. Hence, If Today Was Your Last Day.

Weathered by Creed is next. ‘Cause we are rusted and weathered, barely holding together. That line and a little guitar work brings this one into play.

U2 shows up with Red Hill Mining Town. One spoiler of a line puts this song on the list. Ask me after Reservoir is published what it is. 🙂

Ed Sheeran is a big winner in musical inspiration this time around. Both Lego House and I See Fire from the second Hobbit soundtrack shape this manuscript. The theme from the first Hobbit (Song of the Lonely Mountain) also makes the list. It’s the whole mountain/fire theme that speaks to the plot of this WIP.

I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme) from Treasure Planet shows up. Slacker teen makes good? I’m so there.

Burn it Down by Linkin Park. Heat destroys viruses, folks. Easy peasy.

My ’80s is showing…Cry Little Sister by G Tom Mac and Africa by Toto come in toward the end of the list. What can I say? They just speak to me.

Light Up the Sky by the Afters is contemporary Christian. After you read Reservoir, listen to the song. One whole chapter is inspired by this song alone.

That’s about it for this playlist. There used to be 16 songs, but the current tweaked list comes in at a fighting weight of 13. When the computer comes out, these are the songs that come on. I listen to lots of other music that I find helpful (Skillet, Luminate and One Republic come to mind), but when actually writing, this is the soundtrack.

I will admit to this one guilty pleasure, however. It doesn’t show up on the playlist, but it’s close enough at hand that I can get when I need it for dance breaks with the girls. Weird Al…Party in the CIA. Just. Because.

What music is your inspiration? and for what kind of projects?








11 thoughts on “Music to Write By…

    1. Tess Grant says:

      A lot of times I’ll be listening to random stuff and it inspires a scene or a plot twist (that’s what happened with the Toto song). When that happens, it goes on the playlist!

  1. dksalerni says:

    It’s odd. I can’t write to music. I need silence most of the time, but late at night I can also write with the TV on in the background, as long as I’m only mildly interested in the show. Weird, huh?

  2. J.Q. Rose says:

    Interesting song choices and to know how they mold the story. Gotta get that spoiler one for sure!! I can NOT write if music with lyrics is playing because I want to sing along with it! I usually write the stry in silence and Facebook/blog post/ edit with Chris Botti and John Tesh and Jim Brinkman in the background.

  3. Kris says:

    So impressed that you know the titles, artists, and can actually understand the lyrics to so many songs. I’m usually clueless and only like music for mindless, physical labor!!

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