Music and Characters

Many writers listen to music while writing. Although I never have, some songs do remind me of my stories and characters. This one, in particular, always made me think of one of my heroines.
Do you have a certain song that characterizes your WIP? Which artists do you find the most inspiring?

My dear friend Anita has a wonderful, heartwarming story up at Pix 'N Pens. If you have time, a comment on her story counts as a vote to be entered to win a box of books. (sorry, had the details wrong when I first posted)


I never listen to music while writing as I find it distracting. I usually work best in total quiet. Can't say that any one song inspires my stories. Boy, I sound pretty boring!!! LOL!!!
YOu don't sound boring at all. :-) I don't listen to music either, but when I hear this on the radio it always makes me think of my one manuscript. I work best in total quiet too. :-)
Jennifer Shirk said…
Yeah, I don't work to music either.
But I was listening to a lot of country songs before I wrote to get me in the mood of my last wip. It was set in a small town and I just wanted that "feel". :)

Your song for your heroine sounds kind of emotional and sad. Is she? Has she recently lost someone she loves?
Tabitha Bird said…
I am the quiet type too. Sometimes I can listen to classical, but never music with words. Somehow all those words get mingled in my head and I can't write!
Kristen Painter said…
Once in a while I listen to music, but only if I need to drown out other sounds.
Terri Tiffany said…
nope! never turn on the music to write--only to work out!
Terri, my iPod is my best friend at the gym! Music is awesome for upping our energy.

Kristen, drowning out the cat sounds? LOL

Tabitha, that's funny! I do that too, accidentally write words I'm hearing. You listen to classical, huh? I'm always a little awed by people who like "smart" music. LOL

Jennifer, yeah, her son died but she also lives with a lot of guilt and has lost other people too. So the song reminds me of my heroine at the beginning of the story, before her character arc.
Country music...yep, definitely a small town mood there. LOL
Linda Kage said…
I always thought of the song "Crazy" by Gnarles Barkley when I was writing the hero in one of my books. He was just so unique and fun, he was crazy.
Unknown said…
I just can't do it. I can't listen to music and concentrate! Sigh....and I really like listening to music.

(hahaha Linda...Gnrales Barkely! That is HIlarious!)
Linda, I've never heard of that song but will have to check it out. :-)

Marybeth, I don't know how some writers do it either.
Okay, LOL, I do know that song and like it.
Your hero must be pretty unique for that to be his theme song. Cool!
Tamika: said…
I don't normally write with music. I have wanted to give it a whirl and see how it works for me.

I love Christian music in general, some slow songs would probably be nice.
I listen to soundtracks when I write, so certain soundtracks remind me of my stories or where I was at a particular moment. I have to listen to music without words when I write, but I definitely have to listen to something.
Jessica, how great you posted this today! Yesterday, after my post about a soul's age and my 82yo MC, I had an inherent thought that I should find some music she would like a lot. Listen to it, get into her mood a little. I guess this means I have to! :)
Dara said…
I have LOTS of theme songs for my book :P It's kind of an obsession I have...

"Missing" by Evanescence is Miyuki's theme--well, one of them :P It always reminds me of the story behind why she became the snow woman:

Also, Pillar's song "Secrets and Regrets" is another song that really captures her and the overall book:

I also listen to soundtracks a lot when I'm writing. I have a hard time getting into the story without music :)
Arlee Bird said…
Like others have mentioned I don't like wriing along to music that has singing because I get too distracted. Most of the time I play chamber music my Schubert as it is the most relaxing to me and Schubert is one of my favorite composers. Sometimes when I'm writing I'll just play the same disc repeatedly, softly, so it's in the background.
Sarah Forgrave said…
Like many others here, I can't concentrate on my writing when there's noise of any kind in the background. Sometimes I like to listen to a worship song called "Be the Centre" before I start writing. It helps ground my focus.
Tamika, the cba song that I love for this same manuscript is Held by Natalie Grant. I don't write with music though, this is just a song that makes me think of my heroine. Are you planning to try to write with slower songs?
Kristen, I don't know how you do that! Amazing.

LOL Janna. So would that be forties type music? (or is my math really, really bad??? lol)

Dara, I remember that about you. So you listen to music too. I can see how it would get you in the mood, I just don't know how you keep yourself from transcribing the lyrics. LOL!
Arlee, that does sound relaxing.

Sarah, I'm not familiar with that title. I wonder if I've heard it before? Hmm...
Cindy R. Wilson said…
Yes, I love music to inspire my writing. Sometimes I even have different songs for different scenes, but always an overall playlist. The theme song for my current manuscript (in edit mode) is Show Me What I'm Looking For by Carolina Liar. Oh's so perfect for my story. I love it! And I've listened to it so many times that even my little 2-year-old knows most of the words :-D
Dara said…
Sometimes I do transcribe the lyrics :P But it doesn't happen as often any more--I think my brain got used to it.
Jessie: If I listen to music while I write, I will think the song, sing the song, get up and dance to the song, and then we won't have a book or an article to read, we will only have Jeanette singing and dancing in her office. So, I try to keep things quiet.

On my way to Pix n Pens. Thanks for the Heads up!
Unknown said…
I love that song! They are a great band. Blue October inspires me with a lot of their stuff. I just discovered Hammock and they don't have lyrics but their music creates intense emotions. Great for writing :)
Nancy said…
Music would probably distrast me when I write. I've never tried it, but I don't care to do "thinking tasts" with music. I guess I have a one track mind.
Elana Johnson said…
I love Evanescence.

I have several music stations at Pandora that I like. Jesse McCartney. (Hey, don't dis it. It's very teen angst.) And Glee Cast. I love the Glee cast one because it gives me musicals like Rent, Wicked and Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Oh! And Disney songs too. I love those.
Nancy J. Parra said…
Hi Jessica,

I don't always listen to music when I write. It can be too distracting. :)

But I wrote a creepy book once to Dave Matthews "Grave Digger." Very inspirational for creepy books.

jdsanc said…
I so cannot listen to music either. Can't have the TV or even people talking in the library or bookstore. I have to be listening when I am writing. But Love your music choice and clips.
Julie Dao said…
I like that song, I think her voice is lovely :) I absolutely need music when I write. Trying to do so in silence is torture!
Karen Hossink said…
Oh. I cannot listen to music when I write. Get too lost in the song and can't focus. Hmmmm, wonder where my boys get their ADD/ADHD...*sigh*
Anonymous said…
I like instrumental when I'm writing. Jim Brickman especially.
Katie Salidas said…
That's a great song! I find I am inspired by a band, not just a song. Many songs from Incubus have helped me find my muse through bad cases of writers block. I just love their music.
Deb Shucka said…
My muse is not a musical one. She likes silence. I envy people who can listen to music and be inspired while they write.

Off to check out Anita's story.
Jennifer said…
I listen to all sorts of music while writing. Sometimes it's my story-specific playlists, sometimes it's just what happens to come on my iPod. But I do love the music thing.
anita said…
when I first started writing, I couldn't listen to anything. Then gradually, I went to classical / elemental / instrumental. Maybe it was just while my voice was developing, becuase now, I always listen to music when I write. And it can be anything from vocals to instrumentals. It all depends on the mood I want to create for the scene.

There's a scene I wrote recently that my agent really liked, and the song that I listened to while writing it was a piano piece. Even when I went back to revise it, I had that same song playing. Unfortunately, I'm terrible at remembering the name of songs, so when she asked me what song inspired it, I couldn't remember. Snort.

BTW, Thanks to everyone who read my story and commented today!
Hi Jess -

I'm listening to a Christmas song I have to learn for a sign language special. It's not working unless my subconscious is getting it. LOL!

When I write, I need quiet.

Susan :)
I have trouble concentrating on blogging with music even in the background, so I never write with background music. I can't think of any songs that remind me of my characters or the stories, though. That would be great though, if I did.
Angie Muresan said…
Jessica, this is the weirdest thing ever! I am sure I commented on this yesterday, yet can't find it anywhere. I don't do music when I write. I need solitude, a never-ending mug of coffee, and chocolate.
And to tell you the truth, I haven't really written all that long to have any of my characters remind me of songs.
Tamika: said…
I left a little something for you over at my place:)
Tana said…
I have to tell you there has been no stronger propellant to my stories than music. In fact I don't think it's a bad idea to draw inspiration even at the editing stage of the game. Plus I love to lose myself in the lyrics, I'm such a lyrics girl (not to be confused with the lyric police) That I am not ;)
Jill Kemerer said…
This is a bit off topic, but I recently studied the Romanov family--the last Tsar of Russia and his kids--and I listened to Rachmaninov (spelling?) at the time. It really brought me a sense of time and place since they were contemporaries.

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