The Soundtrack To Your Novel

There are two types of music that I categorize when I write a novel – music that inspires me and music that I envision in the story.

For example, I use Bear’s Den music to inspire me for Paradisa, but I don’t imagine any of their songs played in the background during scenes. On the other hand, 80’s classic rock has nothing to do with my story, but I imagine Connor jogging to some of it in the opening scene of my Paradisa sequel.

More simply?  The inspiration playlist is about lyrics, and the soundtrack is about tone.

As I wrap up the outline for my NaNoWriMo novel, I’ve been futzing around with the soundscape. I’m basing my main character on someone I sort of know, and that someone was a big fan of Tom McRae, so I’ve been including a lot of Tom McRae in my thought process. But then a Beastie Boys song came on my shuffle yesterday, and I’m like “oh yes, this song would be so triumphant and defiant over the antagonist, it would be such a great turning point. It just makes you feel like such a BAMF.” Of course, Tom McRae’s folky droning doesn’t exactly match up with the Beastie Boys’ defiant punk in the sense of tone, nor does it make much sense that my main character would like both (due to the nature of the story, my main character has control over the music she can hear at any given time. So her preferences do sort of matter).

So, Tom McRae goes on the inspiration playlist. The Beastie Boys go on the soundtrack. And in case you’re curious, the song I’m talking about is So Whatcha Want :P

Does music sway or inspire your writing? I rarely listen to music when I’m actually typing because it’s too distracting. But the inspiration playlist usually results in some sort of mental montage while the soundtrack playlist makes me think of scenes in their entirety. Weird, I know. But we’re all a little weird when it comes to creativity.