Music is a big part of my process. It’s pretty much the first thing I do after the birth of a bouncing baby plot bunny baby, often it comes even before I make any notes. I start compiling a playlist soon after the plot bunny emerges; it may consist of a song, maybe two, but as I brainstorm, outline and write, it grows, gets reordered.
Sometimes the plot bunny comes directly from a song.
These songs set the tone—of the story as a whole, of particular scenes. They help me get my head in the story. Music affects my mood hugely, and I listen to this music while the story is ‘percolating’, while I’m outlining, and eventually while I write.
Before I start writing, I listen to the playlist while I’m doing my housework. This is when I usually ‘break’ my stories. That spark of inspiration that takes a character and a situation into a proper plot—or it gives me scene ideas.
And when I sit down to write, I often have a playlist that takes me from opening scene to close of curtain. So with the press of a button I can be fully immersed in my story.
Music while I’m writing also helps to shut out distractions.
In the same way that a certain song takes you right back to high school, a song can take me right into my story. It really is a brilliant tool, and I’d be pretty damn lost without it.
If you’re interested in what kind of music I tend to have on my playlists, they pretty much always feature at least one song by Linkin Park. Normally more than one ;) Evanescence tends to pop up quite regularly, too. I think that mostly speaks of my personal musical tastes. I’m not in the habit of sharing my playlists because I really don’t think anyone cares :) Writing music and the playlist that goes with a particular story is rarely going to mean anything to a reader. But for me it is very important.
Next time: Planning the beginning, middle, and end of my NaNo.