Musical Inspiration in Writing


Music can have a grand affect on your mood and your emotions and can elicit feelings across the spectrum from sorrow and fear to joy. I often wonder if a scary movie would be as scary if it didn’t have the spooky soundtrack playing in the background and I secretly don’t think it would be. But maybe it’s just my own heart that pounds in time with the music.

The affect of music on the act of creation is also an interesting topic. I know one writer who loves to listen to music, but he cannot listen to anything that has words or it would interfere with his word creation process. I know an artist who created a whole world and then created a playlist for his friends to listen to as they wandered through the show.

For me, music must play a distant role in writing because if I listen to it while I am writing, the lyrics would mess with my head. That being said, the novel I have just finished my rewrite draft of, The Green Lady, has a number of musical influences. These songs helped me to get into the proper writing mood or they inspired or reminded me of the characters about whom I am writing even when I wasn’t sitting down in front of the keyboard.

Today I thought I would share with you the list of songs that inspired The Green Lady and hopefully you will then be inspired to check out the book and read it for yourself when I make it to publication!

1. Fever – Peggy Lee

This song influenced the way in which I describe the anger and the yearning for revenge that you see in one of my characters. She is constantly described as burning and seeking something that will quench this burning she feels inside of her.

2. Luck Be a Lady – Frank Sinatra

This song influenced the way that John Edgar, the main character of the story, views the world. He is plagued by bad luck and he describes such mythological entities as luck and the fates as being female. This aspect of the story is also influenced by my background in Classical literature. I’ve always loved mythology and when I’m feeling particularly lofty, it will find its way into my writing.

3. Honeymoon – Lana Del Ray

My cousin posted a link to this song recently and it was all I could do but to want to make edits to my story. The song completely fits Eleanor Westfall. The line “We both know that it’s not fashionable to love me/ But you don’t go cause truly there’s nobody for you but me,” just made my brain tingle! It depicts the relationship between John and Eleanor in a really great way.

4. Chains – Nick Jonas

I was driving down the road one day, just thinking about my story and what I wanted to do with it when this song came on. At first, I didn’t register that the radio was even on. But then as I came out of my reverie, I caught the lyrics of this song and realized that it perfectly describes the way I envision one of my main characters, Eleanor Westfall and it characterizes what I was going for with the dynamic between Eleanor and the other main character, John Edgar.

5. Dark Horse – Katy Perry

In May of last year I had abandoned my story as a lost cause. I didn’t know what to do about the plot. But in late August I was driving to work in the early morning and  this song was playing in the background and, for some reason, a whole new first scene and starting point revealed itself to me. It’s darker and decidedly more scandalous involving a brothel.

How does music influence or affect your writing?

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