Music to live your life (and write) by.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.

If your WIP had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it? Do you write with some sort of background noise or do you prefer silence? (We may have touched on this before, but it’s a great way to discover new music).

There was a time when I never had a period of quiet. Music was on every minute when I wasn’t at work, either blasting out of some speakers or through headphones. The advent of music storage on my phone meant that I could even listen while waiting for a taxi before or after a job, it was a game changer.

Now, I find myself unable to concentrate on writing if there’s any outside noise. I still listen to music when I’m driving but at other times, I’ve got out of the habit. And that’s sad, in a way.

But I like to think that my choice of music has parallels with my style of writing, as I’ll explain a bit later.

With the odd exception, my appreciation of most new music stopped in the mid-nineteen-eighties. I now listen mostly to music made before that time.

Incidentally, the first song I remember being popular when I was growing up was Return to Sender, by Elvis Presley, which was on the radio when I was on holiday in 1962. It was the summer before I went to school. That kind of dates me.

As well as the incredible music of the 1960s, my preference is for heavy metal or psychedelia, featuring the bands of my younger years, the ones I was lucky enough to see live in their pomp. I couldn’t name them all, this post would be too long. And it would be straying too far off-topic – even for me.

I think the lyrics, particularly those of Pink Floyd and Genesis, influenced the type of worlds I saw in my head and gave me a vision of the sort of thing I would later write.

Here are a couple of my favourite songs, as found on YouTube. Some are the pure originals, others are updated or enhanced versions.

As you can tell, I like something that has a progression, a song that starts off slow, builds and ends up fast. The kind of music that makes you speed up if you’re listening while driving. But it has to have structure and create emotion, not just be a collection of noises.  

Thinking about it, that sort of thing suits my style of writing in some ways. In place of the slow beginning, I prefer a fast start to my stories, a piece of action that often ends in a left-field shock. Once we are underway, I like to build up the layers for a while to pull you into the story, hopefully making you want to read more. Like the progression in the songs, I try to make the pace of my narrative accelerate as I get closer to the end, before the big finale.

How about you? Do you prefer silence or a thumping rhythm? Please comment below, then head on over to see what the other contributors to this bloghop have to say on the subject.

Until next time.

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8 Responses

  1. Darlene Dale Foster

    I love all the songs you featured here. I like to have some music on at all times, modern, old, classical, pop, folk, rock and roll. I have eclectic tastes. We didn’t have a TV growing up so I much prefer the radio over TV. I don’t like total silence actually.

    • Richard Dee

      I’ll listen to anything, even some modern stuff – but my heart in stuck around 1975.

  2. Stevie Turner

    I’m exactly the same in that I need to have silence to write. I also appreciate the same rock/prog rock bands as you do when I’m driving. I guess we must be about the same age.

    • Richard Dee

      I’m very much a child of the fifties, when people talk of the 1970s, I still think of it as only ten or twenty years ago.

  3. Leon Stevens

    I agree, there are similarities in how songs and stories are written, and both need to evoke an emotional response.

    • Richard Dee

      There’s a lot of truth in that, in both, you only have a short time to grab the readers/listeners attention.

  4. P.J. MacLayne

    I have discovered the world of ‘reactions’ on YouTube, and its fun to see how a younger generation reacts to all great music I listened to as a teenager.

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