Thursday, February 24, 2011

Muse-ical Muse

It's probably no surprise what form my muse takes. And that isn't to say it's all about a certain violinist, because it's really not.

It's about the music. Sometimes it's about the pretty, but pretty without talent does very little for me in the long run. Music, on the other hand, will take me down all sorts of roads. I can't say if my muse is actually fickle, or just easily distracted - my brain tends to be cluttered  (much like my house), and there are times when it becomes hard to sort through.

I have found that music can often help set a certain tone, although certain types of music are better than others at particular times. I have just over 16,000 songs in iTunes right now. It's an extremely eclectic collection - the normal sorts of music are there - the 80's pop, the hard rock, the alternative, but there's also Celtic, Gypsy, classical, country, bluegrass, trance, J-Pop, Monty name it, I probably have it. (And yes, that would also include a nice selection of Tom Jones. *ahem*)

When I'm writing, I usually just let it play random - words or whatever - it doesn't matter. When I'm editing, I find instrumentals to be better - something mellow (but not so mellow that I fall asleep). Sometimes if I'm trying to evoke a particular concept, I might try to load up a playlist of some sort - I have tracks and tracks of epic trailer music that work out well for battle scenes or love scenes or whatever.

And sometimes I need silence.

In A Brush of Darkness, there are many references to music, both in lyrics and titles, and I've got musicians as side characters. Although some songs are there purposefully, many pieces that I refer to are songs I was actually listening to when I wrote that scene. I guess I like a soundtrack to go with my story, but what's interesting is that I can listen to a particular song that I referenced and I know exactly where I was when I was writing that scene and what I was thinking when I did it.

A strange way to remember things, maybe, but I've found that most of my stronger memories revolve around it.

My muse appreciates musicians in particular because she is envious at the way they can throw themselves into their performance and how transparently that effort can take effect. And it's not that writing can't be like that to a certain extent, but it's a private sort of bliss. (At least, it is for me. I don't think there are too many writers that like an audience while they write...and even if they did, how would other people know? Most of us don't shut our eyes and bite our lips when we write, carried away on our own verbal ecstasy.)

Of course, my muse also appreciates a good 'O' face. 

Just sayin'.

It also appreciates this version of Master of Puppets.


  1. Oh yes, the Muse and Music. Playlists to evoke specific moods really help me weave in the emotion critical to climactic scenes.

    Tom Jones totally spins on multiple lists. "Iiiii, I who have nothing. I who have no one, adore you..."

  2. Mmmm. Music. But then, one cannot underestimate the - erm - motivating power of a musician who's really quite nice to look at...

  3. My muse uses music to drown out the usual noise of everyday life: TVs, conversations, etc. Of course, this can occasionally anger one's significant other, who may have been trying to get one's attention for the past five minutes while one is in the writing zone, so to speak. Or so I've been told. *cough*

  4. Wow. That was a great video. Sweet post. :)

  5. Here, here, cheers for the musical muse!

  6. Great post!

    I love compiling "soundtracks" for the story I'm working on at the moment. Funny how I can write with music in the background but not with the television on. Hnh.

  7. I loved all the references to music and musicians in Brush of Darkness. Very nice touches, all.

    I suppose this is the place where I have to confess I have never listened to Tom Jones, and that I hadn't heard of him before reading BoD, and where I realize I'm probably going to have to look him up.

  8. ~shriek~

    Kerry, oh, Kerry. Here's one of the Welshman's biggest hits:

    "I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window..."

  9. @Kerry - This frightens me. LOL. I actually suspect you probably *DO* know some of his songs - he's been around for at least 40 years - you just aren't aware that it was him, maybe.

  10. I'm amused by the idea of us writing for an audience - think we could sell tickets to staring at screens?