It’s probably not news to anyone that music is inspirational. It stirs memory and emotion in a way nothing else can. As an author I find it immerses me into the scenes of a story line and energizes my creative thinking. Music is another one of those things that I’m in awe of, particularly since I haven’t any talent in it myself. Yeah, I can play a little “Heart and Soul” on the piano and I can sing on key (Don’t look for me to appear on “The Voice” or “American Idol”. I have a firm grip on the extent of my singing abilities), but that’s about it.
The odd thing about me though, and I don’t know if others share this, is that the music needs to have decent lyrics for me to really enjoy it (if it has vocals). Musical lyrics, like poetry, are the most abbreviated version of a story out there in my opinion. They have little space to communicate emotional impact so every word counts. You’ve heard a song with tons of filler or one that tells a story in a way you’ve heard a thousand times. It lessens the piece. It seems writing, in any form, is hard.
Hearing a song with music and lyrics that feel like a soundtrack to a story I’m writing is like getting hit by a lightning bolt. It doesn’t even have to be a new song. It can be one I’ve heard before that suddenly takes on a new meaning. I’ll easily surpass two thousand words in a day when this happens. I know, I know, a lot of authors out there write double or triple that (Lindsay Buroker is renowned for her writing speed), but I don’t usually go that fast. Three kids and a full time job will do that.
As I’ve been writing the installments of my short story series Insurrection I came across a few songs that zapped me in the inspiration department. Since it’s in the Sci-Fi/Dystopian genre, it has themes centered around rebellion and redemption.
Muse’s song “Uprising” is a track I’ve replayed quite a few times while writing. Their videos are pretty radical. Raging teddy bears, etc.:
Then there’s the new version of “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed. I found a fan video that paired it to images from Mass Effect (love that game!) and it’s pretty awesome. Since part of my story line involves a past where humanity was almost destroyed by an alien force, it felt like watching a piece of my own story. Of course the details are completely different, but the music and the visual accompaniment of a world on the brink of annihilation is exactly what I’d envisioned.
How has music inspired you creatively? Are you like me in that the song has to have good lyrics in order to really capture your attention, even if there’s a good beat?