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Robinne Weiss

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May 19, 2015
New Zealand
I was listening to Radio New Zealand yesterday on my way to town, and they were reviewing a book for which the author had published a playlist--music meant to accompany the book and evoke the book's world. I was curious if anyone here had created playlists for your books...Do you hear or listen to music as you write? Are your scenes or stories inspired by music?
Nope. :)
For me, it gets in the way of writing -- I need sensory deprivation. And although I love music, it doesn't inspire or feed into the writing side. The two things seem to come from different places.
I'm with you, Marc. If I'm working in a public space and need to block out the sound of, say, toddler time at the library, I'll put some well-loved classical music on, but otherwise I can't have music on while writing. Music and writing seem to inhabit two different planes in my brain. Once, I heard a song on the radio that somehow made a character's personality click for me--but it wasn't something that would have gone with the book, it was just some teenage angsty thing that happened to match the character's thoughts.
I've become so used to writing with music on, in order to block out everyone else, that I don't even hear it any longer. It has to be dead quiet or I need my music anyway, so unless I'm up in the middle of the night writing, the music is on. :)
As I've mentioned before, I live in what may be the noisiest place in Cornwall, a petrol station with a car repair workshop and carwash, set on a main road and with the descent flight path to Newquay Airport 500 yards away. I couldn't work without playing music into my bonce through earbuds; knowing what musical sound happens next beats being shocked by an unexpected bang, beep or boom!

I also see to it that the protagonists of my short stories, novellas and novels listen to music. You can indicate a lot about a person's character by their choice of music.

The detective in my series of crime novels specifically chooses albums that he knows will loosen helpful thought patterns as he ponders a case. I like introducing people to new artists, of all types, through my fiction.
I have known of a few novelists who have produced playlists for books that I have read. Among them are The Prey novels by John Sandford where characters actually discuss the tracks selected, also Ian Rankin. Interestingly they both produced lists that are essentially classic rock - being guys of a particular age who see Jack Daniels, Levi jeans and stubble as 'cool'.

As a life long lover of all forms of music but most especially classical music I would lean towards a classical list, but it has been done to death elsewhere unfortunately so hardly new.
I need relative silence (silence from my relatives). Attention span of a butterfly if too much going on. Love the idea though.
In order to focus the part of my brain that houses the stories, character voices, descriptions and such, I need to occupy the other part which tends to go off and worry whether I paid utility bills, what I should make for dinner, if I fed the dogs, if I need to pick up Mrs. Boopadoo somewhere... Music keeps that wanderlust in check. I can't write without it.

And yes, different projects have different playlists depending on genre, whether it's a novel or short story, or whether I'm just writing because I need to write, but don't have a set destination. In those cases, putting the entire collection on shuffle can sometimes inadvertently push me down the path to a set direction.
I do have a playlist for my WIP I like to use as inspiration. There is even 1 song in particular I can pretty much say is the number one inspiration for my novel. There are several specific songs that help me create scenes, but I listen to them before writing and not during the process because my brain can´t process singing and writing at the same time.
If I use music when writing it has to be wordless music. I find soundtracks seem to work well. I like to use Murry Gold. ( In other words, Doctor Who). But most of the time it´s silence or white noise for me.
It would have to be John Cage's 'Four thirty three' on infinite loop.

I must have silence. There's enough going on in my head without extraneous noise. Even the soft padding of the cat circling and looking for laproom is annoying. As for the central heating coming on...
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