Apr 20, 2011

Inspirations and Muses

I listen to music a lot. All ranges of music and usually I set up playlists for various parts of my book after I create an outline. Crazy? Probably. One playlist for each chapter to help me stay focused on a certain mood. Sometimes there aren’t a lot of songs on the list which can make me impatient to finish and move to the next playlist, but that is what editing is for, too. I’ll rewrite this thing about 3 or 4 times before I’m done. I just tell myself, get the story down, and the mood will hold itself when I return to edit, its worked in the past for me. It’s like a movie playing in my head and the soundtrack to go with it. Sometimes I’ll even find a gem of a song that just fits all the way through my book. Usually it is the one song that just makes me think of the protagonist and sometimes the antagonist. In the case of my current WIP, it’s a song by Shinedown, which they wrote for Sylvester Stallone called Diamond Eyes. What a beautiful tribute to every action film ever made. It's like it speaks to me when I write the hero, like a muse, especially since my Protagonist would fit right into these guys the Expendables.

What kinds of things inspire you, as you do whatever you do, be it writing, art or exercising?


  1. I wouldn't call that crazy. It helps. I generally stick to one song per plot point or chapter, when I go that route, and it's fantastic when I can find a "theme song" for a book. I've managed to train myself to start thinking about a particular story when I hear that song, which helps speed up the "Now, where was I?" process.

    I have one planned series, currently sidelined, that will have a relationship arc over several books. I actually have a playlist for that overall relationship arch.

    Generally, though, I just encounter songs that remind me of a story while I'm drafting it, then I rearrange and remove songs as I'm revising the story to produce a final playlist.

    However, this is more likely to happen with a historical, fairy tale, or urban fantasy work. My other-world fantasy tends to be difficult enough to find songs for that I don't bother too much.

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  3. Had to redo that last comment, was typing with 2 kids fighting over a toy. Hard to focus.

    It really does help with keeping your place. I do the same with rearranging my playlist for the story too. That Diamond Eyes song just came on my Slacker Radio one day while I was at the day job typing an e-mail. Images of my protagonist just starting popping in my head so I went and downloaded it and added it to every scene he's in.