1. Bradisrad
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    Bradisrad New Member

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    Wierd question-listening to music when writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Bradisrad, Jul 21, 2015.

    Have you ever listened to music while you're writing and imagined that your characters are listening to it, too? Whenever I write, I listen to classic rock, like Credence Clearwater Revival, and think that my characters are rambling down a dusty highway in some beat up, rusty old pickup.
     
  2. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I often listen to music while writing, but I often do it to get myself into the perfect writing mood. I don't think I've ever imagined my characters listening to the same kind of music. You see, for scenes like sitting in a plane that's falling from the sky, walking through a city completely destroyed decades ago, or crying oneself to sleep, music doesn't exactly fit. ;)

    ETA: We have quite a few threads already about music and writing (though the "imagine the characters listen to it" twist is a new one. :))
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Nope, never happened to me. But my characters don't live in worlds where they would come into contact with Zero 7 or Thievery Corporation. ;)
     
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  4. AsherianCommand
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    AsherianCommand Active Member

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    I just write with white noise going on in the background otherwise I can't work at all. I need noise to study. If I don't then I can't work it is too quiet and too silent and I start to get distracted.

    I think my characters don't listen to my music, but I think they do listen to some kind of music.
     
  5. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Different music genres work for different things I'm writing about.
    I listened to Eminem's "Survival" while writing the biggest chunk of the first book I ever wrote. It kind of fit and it kept me motivated to keep writing. I started off with music like Deadmau5, went to Survival, then ended in Hard techno music (like by D-block and S-te-fan). Now that I think about it, my writing and what I was writing shifted with the music. Hmm. lol

    I'm still trying to find an artist or a genre to fit what I'm writing now. So for now, just writing whilst listening to the background noises of my house. *Sighs*

    --- And to answer your question, no I've never really imagined that. It's a great idea though. Ha. :D
     
  6. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sometimes I listen to "silence 10 hours" while working (writing or otherwise), because at times I need complete silence and that video seems to make everything more quiet. :wtf:
     
  7. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do that all the time - although I usually listen to music when I'm brainstorming and write in silence.

    I have one character in my near future who used to be a Taylor Swift superfan - and trust me, you have not listened to Taylor Swift until you've looped it for three hours trying desperately to get inside the head of a 37 year-old alcoholic woman in the year 2034 who is pining for her lost youth. And yes, I actually did that...I also only did it once...but it certainly worked for the resulting scene.
     
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  8. Clover
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    Clover Member

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    I never imagine my characters listening to it. When I listen to music, it's usually because it gets me in a zone where I find it easier to concentrate. But I think it's great if it could help with understanding/developing characters.
     
  9. Song
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    Song Active Member

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    I can't stand silence, especially when I'm trying to work. So for me it's netflix or LeTv and sometimes music.
    As for imagining the characters listening to the music. It's not something I've thought of as they all have there own little problems and would be far too distracted with the breakdown of society as they know it.
    I do like music when reading and I can't listen to the division bell album by pink floyd without thinking about the book Imagica.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I generally prefer quiet when I write. I don't like to be distracted. But, having a spouse whose main form of entertainment is television, that's often not possible (or at least it wasn't until last month, when I retired), so I do sometimes listen to music (via noise-cancelling headphones) when I write or edit. When I do, I usually try to make it something abstract (like Bach), unobtrusive (maybe Strauss), light (Mozart or Respighi, although there are pieces by either that make me stop whatever I'm doing and listen) or mindless (electronica). Although, when I was in the late stages of Rosa's Secret, I did listen to a lot of Los Van Van, Juan Formell and BVSC,
     
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  11. dreamersky1212
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    dreamersky1212 Active Member

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    Yes, sometimes I write in a song that I have been listening to over and over. For example, I had a scene where my hero and heroine had a big falling out and the heroine was listening to "Fix You" by Coldplay. I didn't pick the song because it fit the scene, I actually had been listening to the song so much that I wrote the scene to fit the song.
     
  12. Samson Michael
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    Samson Michael Member

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    I almost always listen to music when I'm writing. In terms of what I listen to, it depends upon whats going on in the story. I've listened to everything from Nine Inch Nails to 1920's swing music. Even now, as I'm writing this comment, I'm actually listening to music. Music is incredibly important to me especially when I'm actively writing. I also find myself thinking about the ideal "soundtrack" to the story sometimes. On a rare occasions I do reference the music my characters might listen to, though this is infrequent as I generally like to keep pop culture references out of my writing. With this said, I do my best revision and editing in silence.
     
  13. tanstaafl74
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    tanstaafl74 Member

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    I used to listen to music when I wrote a lot. Now that I am fresh back to writing though, I find that it just distracts me. Perhaps once I get used to writing again I'll be able to put on some understated music and listen while I write.
     
  14. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    i listen to music a lot while I am writing, sadly though, the music i listen to, doesn't really fit into the realms of "my characters listen to this" as heavy metal can't exactly be made in the fantasy world i made!
     
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  15. Ketlan
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    Ketlan New Member

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    I can't listen to anything while writing - I'm too easily distracted.
     
  16. C. W. Evon
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    C. W. Evon Member

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    For every new story I'm working on, I create a playlist of songs that just remind me of the story or characters in some way, and listen to it in the background while I write. It's also helpful when I get stuck--just kind of gets me inspired again.
     
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  17. C. W. Evon
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    C. W. Evon Member

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    Oh, and I write historical fiction, so none of my characters would be listening to the kind of music I listen to--didn't exist.
     
  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I have been known to listen to traditional fiddle/banjo/guitar music and imagine my character (s) are playing it! However, that's just in the brainstorming phase, where I'm imagining my characters in a particular setting. When I write I prefer silence. If I can't get it, due to outside interference (like constantly circling ice cream vans...grrrr....) I will play some very low-key instrumental music just to drown out the unwanted noise. It has to be background music, though. I love classical guitar music for this kind of thing, or chamber music (Borodin is a favourite.) Something that doesn't have a lot of stops, starts, or change of pace. Otherwise I find myself listening, rather than writing.
     
  19. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I don't know if they would or not. I listen to music constantly: Metal, EDM, Industrial, Orchestral Hybrid, Dark Minimal, and what ever crazy concoction some evil genius has put together with a good sound to it. So maybe some of it they would. That is to say that it would be considered outdated in their time line though. Never know unless by some weird coincidence I ever actually make it to the future and it is exactly the way I portray it characters and so forth. Ah to reach for the stars, and be obtusely thwarted by stature. Neat idea you got though, very thought provoking. :p
     
  20. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only music I've ever tried to listen to while writing is Baroque. It's peaceful and (apparently) stimulates those creative neurons. But I still found it distracting, so I stopped.

    Whenever this kind of question comes up, it reminds me of Milt Kahl's response to Richard Williams when Williams asked him if he ever listened to music while animating. Leaving out the expletives, it amounted to, "I'm not smart enough to think of more than one thing at a time!"
    :)
     
  21. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    I listened to some hard core banging hip-hop while writing prison and war books. It got me in a violent and dangerous state of mind.
     
  22. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is an odd one, but I've just discovered while listening to a completely random collection of songs on my memory stick; classical, pop, film scores, etc, that the type of music which I found most inspiring for the novel I'm writing, couldn't be less relative to the plot and setting.

    I'm writing (hopefully) a dark, gritty futuristic road novel (no, not Mad Max). And the type of music that felt 'right' to me was this kind of stuff. Funny how the brain works, innit? :meh:



    Not even Freud could explain this one!
     
  23. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    The only music I can listen to while writing is classical. If I get into any other type of music -- I find that soon, the story is set aside and I'm on youtube going down memory lane.
     
  24. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I sometimes stop to listen to a song that captures the mood of a scene I'm trying to write. For example if my characters are going to try and hurt each other I might listen to Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills by Pantera which, for me, captures that feeling perfectly. Or if they've going to confess their feelings it might be Unthinkable by Alicia Keys. I find this especially helpful when I'm sitting down to a crucial scene. Once I've started writing I can genuinely switch moods through through the story.

    I can't have music on in the background and write, though.
     
  25. John Franklin Dandridge
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    John Franklin Dandridge Member

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    Listening to music while writing, to me, is like listening to music while driving. I often listen to the same albums while on a specific piece of work. During writing of my favorite screenplay, I'd listen to Darkside of the Moon and Wish You Were Here back to back, trying to match pace.
     

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