Monday, September 5, 2011

Music to Edit By….

Music nurtures creativity and many writers incorporate music into their writing routines.  I know some who listen to show tunes, classical music or just their favorite mix while they write. I know a certain crime writer who listens to opera, and a chick lit author who states her best writing happens when she blasts ear-shattering acid rock through her headphones.  Everyone is different.   

I don’t listen to music while I write, preferring the sound of fingers to keyboard.  However, I do typically listen to music of the specific time period I am visiting before writing to get me in the mood.  Most recently my selections have been from the 1930’s and I have discovered a new appreciation for Eddie Cantor, Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith.  But modern music, or even music from the past thirty years, hasn’t played much of a role in my writing process.  Until recently.


I am now in the editing process of my novel, Ragtown, which is set during the 1930’s.  I am to the point where I have certain scenes that I am trying to get ‘just right’.  Last week while in the car, I was thinking of a specific scene that didn’t build the way I wanted it to.  Then Michael Jackson and KKLZ 96.3 saved me. As I sang along to “Will You Be There” I realized that was exactly the beat I wanted my scene to take: the crescendo leading to an amazing climax.  I went home, dug out my old Dangerous CD, and sat down to edit. It was just the example, and in this particular song the inspiration, I needed.  The scene is now just as it should be.   

Lucky for me, I am a lover of all types of music, which has played well into my latest editing technique.  I now have scenes that I have edited while listening to Martina McBride’s “Independence Day,” Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia” and Guns & Roses “Welcome to the Jungle.” (Yep, that’s how I roll)

I DARE you not to feel it at the 2:35 mark

I doubt that I will ever change my routine during the writing process for fear of using anachronistic phrases that the lyrics might inspire.  I don’t want my 1930’s ragdoll referring to her love interest as ‘her boo’ nor do I want my protagonist referring to himself as the ‘real slim shady.’

But for editing, anything is game: as long as it has the right beat.   

What do you listen to while writing/editing?

13 comments:

Ciara Ballintyne said...

I had never come across this idea until I joined Twitter. I don't listen to music when I write. I used to listen to music when I did my high school homework, but I can't logically construct a sentence while listening to music. I write the lyrics by accident. Or I sing the song and forget to write all together. It just doesn't work.

Math was different. I can sing the lyrics word perfect while performing complex trigonometric proofs, no problems. But not writing. Not essays, not a logical argument, not creative writing. No can do.

The closest I get is sometimes I will be listening to a song in the car and it will inspire a scene. I have an unwritten scene for a WIP I am not currently working on, but I don't need to write it down - I know if I pull out that song it's all there just waiting for me.

allie said...

Great post. I'm rewriting at the moment. I listen to Simon and Garfunkel and not much else. As soon as the music stops or something different comes on, I stop writing. It becomes almost reflexive.

Loree Huebner said...

I listen as I'm creating. I must have silence while I'm editing or revising. Then I'm reading out loud.


I love to listen to movie soundtracks. It gets me in the writing mood.

regectedriter said...

It's so funny, I often don't listen to music when I write, either. I find myself not being able to hear the character's voices when music gets in the way- I listen first is how my process goes.

But then there are those times the perfect song hits and BAM magic happens. It's just so true.

I love your blog, love your voice. Officially linked you to mine.

As always, thanks for writing, can't wait for the next post.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Thank you for your comments! Music is such a great part of our lives, it makes sense we should incorporate it, in some way, into the thing we love to do--write.

Guilie said...

100% agreed!! Yep, music will do the trick every time. It sets the mood for you, the writer, and therefore it sets up the scenes and the narrative -- even the dialogue! -- just right. I, too, am an eclectic music lover. Mozart is one of my favorites, as is Snow Patrol and Muse, or Adele... Or Joaquin Sabina, when I need unrequited-love thirst-for-life stuff. The Laya Project is probably one of my favorite CDs too. Yep, eclectic; I warned you :)

Thanks for the post, Kelly!

Anonymous said...

It soothes the beast, that's for sure. I prefer it (opera first/jazz second) to the creative process, but editing time is more quiet time for me (first thing in the early am for me is to edit what I wrote the day(s) before). Then pump up the volume and starting rifting ...

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

I need to teach my family the word eclectic, they just call me weird :) I may have been referring to you in the post, Anonymous. :)

Ondine said...

I find it best helps the flow of my thoughts to have some kind of music playing around me, even if it's as little as humming whatever song pops into my head at the moment (most recently, ELO's Evil Woman while plotting a scene). Usually, to avoid the confusion of the lyrics intruding on my words, I listen to classical music and movie/ TV scores while writing. Sometimes, if a song has given me a particular idea, I'll listen to that one over and over while writing out the scene.

I also find that sometimes, my characters begin to demand playlists and soundtracks for themselves, which can be fun.

regectedriter said...

Miss Kelly I awarded you the liebster over on my blog! Check it out

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Ondine, I have a character that has begun demanding her own playlist, too! That's funny.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

AG, thank you! You sure know how to give a compliment, girl.
http://regectedriter.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/it-happened-again/

Amberr Meadows said...

I don't know all about that "Free Willy" theme, but I know about Bessie Smith!