Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Music To Make Write To

Many of you often email me or throw bricks through my window with notes asking, "Chris, how do you pick people for MTMWT?"  There is actually a sliding scale based on looks that I use to pick all of my guest posts.  I have a basement full of computers dedicated to matching your profile picture against those of hollywood's elite.  That is why Tracy got to go first.  I will continue this complicated process (that in no way resembles blindfolding myself and pointing at my list of blogs I follow) until people contact me and ask to do it.  This week the computers have selected E.J. Wesley.  After rebooting the computers several times they were still picking him, so what the hey?  Take er' away, E.J.

1. Concerning Hobbits - Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack

Cinema is a big inspiration for my writing.  I really get  swept up in the emotion of the scenes, and the best movies really spur my creativity.  Not surprisingly, I love to write while listening to movie scores.  I can hear just a few notes of the great scores and immediately go to the scene in my mind.  Wether it be the thrill of an epic battle, or the peace of simple times in a beautiful place, being able to conjure that emotion with only a song is really key for me being able to write daily.  Even when I'm not feeling inspired.

I think it's for that reason I love the Lord of the Rings soundtracks.  (For all 3 movies.)  There is a theme for every scene and character, and it was such a sweeping/epic set of films that there is truly something for every writing mood.  I chose Concerning Hobbits specifically because it makes my mind relax and forces me to reflect on my own basic human happiness, something I can use to create believable characters in my own writing.

2.  The Funeral - Band of Horses


I personally find that one of the most difficult emotions to accurately convey in words is sadness or grief.  As writers, I think we often try to express it through tears, which can be overly simplistic in my opinion.  Perhaps it's so hard because it's such a unique concept?  No two people express loss the same way.  Some internalize and shut down.  Some lash out.  I'm not necessarily meaning just the kind grief that comes with death, either.  It could be the end of a relationship, the loss of some deeply ingrained belief, or maybe just the void that often comes with change.  

That's the beauty of this song.  I think it captures the essence of what it means to lose.  From the haunting lyrics, to the driving guitar, it really makes you feel it all.  (In a tidy 5:22 seconds to boot!)  Challenge: Play this song to any sad scene in your story and see if it moves you to further explore.  I bet it will.

3. June Hymn - The Decemberists


From a creative standpoint, I'm incredibly influenced by weather and seasons.  Snow, rain, and warm sunshine really make my mind sing, and all in very different ways.  That's probably why I love the change of the seasons so much; it means my mood, and thus my writing, is going to experience a sort of metamorphosis as well.  Incidentally, South Texas (where I now live) isn't the ideal place for a person of my persuasion.  We have two seasons: hot and freaking hot.  At any rate, I've learned to use music to kind of force a seasonal change in my mind when I can't get it the old fashioned way.  This song really takes me to that subtle shift from spring to summer.  So much of the Decemberists' music is evocative in that way.

19 comments:

  1. This may be the best one yet. Andrew Smith keeps talking about how cool the Decemberists are, but I wasn't familiar with them until now. Also anything that mentions LOTR is FTW in my book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Darn you for being married and living in the middle of a corn field somewhere! I'm a sucker for all sorts of flattery, joking or not.

    Now, off to listen to EJ's music.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great choices, EJ! I especially love the LOTR score music. I'm going to have to go buy all three movie scores on iTunes. Every song that takes place in the Shire makes me happy. I think I lived there in a previous fictional life.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @ Matthew: You can't go wrong with their (Decemberists) latest album. Not a bad track on it. LOTR is def FTW! :-)

    @ Tracy: No shame in living in a corn field ... unless you're stealing from Farmer Maggot! There is even an 'extended' version of the soundtracks that have loads of music that never made it into the film. They are hard to find, though. I'm with you; I'm pretty sure I have distant relatives who lived in Southfarthing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I should try to write to instrumental. But if I used the LOTR one an elf would somehow end up in my story and I'm writing realistic fiction :).

    ReplyDelete
  6. @ Kelly: It's a tried and true writing formula to insert an elf with a gun when a story drags. Livens things up every time ... :0)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love what you say about sorrow and loss. SO many ways to react, but we go to tears first. Definitely food for thought. Very interesting picks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOTR has a great soundtrack.
    And your computer must have a virus if I was one of the first!

    ReplyDelete
  9. some great vids - love the music to LOTR as well

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great fun to get inside E.J.'s head!! Always. Need a change of season, stop by here, we're all in our long johns.

    Stopped by this morning to pass on a styling award to Chris, for his fun style.
    So... pick up your styling award as it's hanging out at my blog with your name on it.
    http://tanyareimer.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the change of seasons too. And after a very snowy winter, I'm ready for one right about now! (:

    I've never listened to the LOTR soundtrack (shame on me!), but loved the movies, so I'll definitely pick them up. I usually write in silence, but hey, like the change of seasons, trying something new is a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @ Tanya: I'll warn you, it's easy to get lost in there! ;-)

    @ EC: I'm with you, I'm always looking for new ways to add to the writing experience.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love this series! It's neat seeing everyone's different tastes. Haven't listened to it in a while, but I bet the LOTR soundtrack would be great to write to.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What an interesting post!!!! I get inspiration from music all the time. I have a whole collection for one wip in particular :)

    And LOTR is fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Awesome pics. I love Band of Horses. I listen to this one a lot on my iPod when I need to get to a certain place for a scene. Love it. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Very interesting post. I was intrigued by the bit about expressing sadness or grief. Coming from a long line of stoic New Englanders preceded by stiff-upper-lip English ancestors, I find myself at a loss expressing most emotion, but the tears=sadness gets very old, very quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Awesome! Two of my all time favorite songs are June Hymn and The Funeral (Although the Great Salt Lake is the best Band of Horses song and January Hymn is the better Decemberists tune.) I can't wait for my turn at this!

    ReplyDelete