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.