by Trish Milburn
As writers, we're always trying to evoke emotions from our readers. Love, heartbreak, fear, longing -- you name it, there's some piece of music out there that can evoke it too. Though I'm not one of those writers who typically listens to music when I write, there are artists and music that inspire my storytelling. I'm a great collector of movie soundtracks because I think they do such a wonderful job of evoking emotion -- that's their job. My current favorite is Avatar. Love it! Here's a medley of several of the songs someone put together.
The music that inspires us doesn't have to be something we listen to while writing. Sometimes an artist's lyrics or the type of music they create over many songs can speak to the type of story we want to tell. I found this to be true while writing Winter Longing, my second young adult novel due out in August. The heroine of this book, Winter Craig, has to go through some really heart-wrenching things, and I found myself listening to a lot of Breaking Benjamin, particularly songs like "Breath" from their Phobia album. It was lyrics like "You took the breath right out of me, You left a hole where my heart should be" that really summed up the feelings I was trying to evoke. Several songs from that album really worked, so much so that I worked it into the story that Winter listens to the album a lot.
I decided to check in with the rest of the Banditas to see if and how music relates to their writing. Here's what they had to say. See if you see any favorite songs/artists among their inspiration.
I find that songs set the mood for particular moments in my books, not necessarily the entire book--a couple I'm listening to now for a seduction book are "Only When I Sleep" (The Corrs), "Take My Breath Away" (Berlin), and "Sexy Back" (Justin Timberlake). My hero thinks he's such hot stuff!"
"For me, it's . Specifically, right now, it's the Trouble in Shangri-la album. I was listening to it on the interstate while I thought about one of the manuscripts I was working on and BAM. There it was. It was perfect. It encompassed the dark, murky, elusive sense that I want for this book. I got ideas for several scenes as I was thinking about it. As it turned out, that CD was right for the entire series I was working on."
"Peter Paul & Mary. Love them. Gordon Lightfoot, vintage BeeGees, heck, the Monkees ballads. I listen to them all while I write, mixed in with Pink, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears (yes, I admit it – but wait, it gets worse), and The Spice Girls. The mainstays, though, are Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Guns & Roses, Savage Garden, etc..."
"I can't write to music that has lyrics. I write my spy books to the theme from Alias -- so that's already a soundtrack--and the historicals to period music. It's okay if the lyrics are in Italian or Latin since that's just so much noise to me. I have to focus to do any kind of Latin translation anymore and have lost most of my vocabulary there. Soundtracks like the Fellowship of the Ring or Pirates of the Caribbean or other orchestral pieces work because they're mostly
"A band whose lyrics speak to me is Chicago. Each song tells a story. Tim McGraw also has songs that tell a good story and some of the older Billy Ray Cyrus. Then again, with some songs, it’s just the feel of the music."
"For me and my work I would choose . You can tell they're Southern, for one thing, and their music is infused with passion, longing, angst, the joy of youth and a hefty dose of melancholia. They perfectly encapsulate how I felt when I was a 20-something, and I want to get all that into my books. I wish they had been around when I was their age."
If you're a writer, tell us what type of music or particular artists inspire you. If you're not a writer, is there an artist whose music really speaks to you?