Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Setting it to music

I know some people like to write while their favourite music is playing, and others prefer silence. I'm a silence person myself but there are special cases.

For example, if the kids are home and making a racket, music through headphones is a great way to isolate myself for an hour or two. I don't mean I wander round the house 24/7 in a musical daze, but if I need a couple of quiet hours of writing time to finish off my word count this is the way to get it.

Second, if I'm writing an important scene I find the right music can really help to set my own mood, and therefore the mood of the piece I'm writing.

And that's really the reason for this blog post.

You see, although you might listen to music while writing, how carefully do you select the pieces? I use my own yPlay software which allows 100 named playlists, but anything else with similar features should do. And here's what you need: a playlist for each mood and style of writing. Have a Romance playlist with gentle love songs, an Action playlist with heavy drumming and wild electric guitars, perhaps a Classical playlist for a bit of culture - something to listen to while you're writing about a visit to a posh hotel or restaurant, for example.

What you don't want to do is have one playlist with all your faves mixed up. It's very hard to write a touching romantic scene when heavy metal is hammering your ears one minute and Cliff Richard is going on about his walking talking doll the next.

Does anyone else use specialised writing playlists? If so, what categories do you use?

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


yobeeone said...

I prefer it quiet, but if I need to stay in a ridiculous mood I listen to songs I downloaded off Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants site.

If I'm having a hard time keeping something light hearted, but not ridiculous, I switch to jazz by Disney's Firehouse Five Plus Two.

Spacejock software plug from an addict: Yplay beats i-tunes! Loads faster and you have faster access to your play lists. :]

Simon Haynes said...

People thought I was nuts when I told them I was writing an MP3 player, and I thought I was nuts to release it to the public. (After all, it's easier to be nuts in private.)

It's still my player of choice, though. And whenever I need a new feature or tweak I just add it.

Anonymous said...

Hello...I label and populate my playlists in accordance with the mood or atmosphere I'm targeting: Indignance, Lust, Injustice, that sort of thing. Oh, and I avoid music with lyrics, as I'm wary of unwittingly lifting someone else's symbols or imagery.

Also, I will populate the playlist with the same song over and over, punctuated by a few different songs (atmospheric pieces, all), and then another series of a different song, repeated over and over. Then I'll instruct my software to repeat the playlist. This is more convenient and effective than simply repeating one song. It allows you to wallow in a mood for a bit, and also allows variations of the mood, or progression to another mood.

Good luck, and happy writing!