Monday, 27 January 2014

If You Could Read My Mind

If you could read my mind, you'd probably want to find the nearest exit as fast as possible. Dark fiction authors tend to have macabre and twisted minds. But in the short time you dared to stay, you'd find out that the biggest creative influence in my life is music. Songs or television/movie sundtracks have a powerful way of drawing me in and refueling my creativity when I'm at a low ebb. Many songs have inspired stories.

There are songs that have an almost poetic quality to them. Take Gordon Lightfoot's If You Could Read Mind. How many stories could his most memorable song inspire? How many has it inspired?


Others songs have induced a morbid fascination, such as David Bowie's cover of Jacques Brel's My Death. His performance inspired the title story of my dark fiction short story collection, Passing Time.


There are soundtracks that equally inspire. When I'm deep in my writing cave, I have the Cinemix channel or a YouTube video playing in the background. So many to choose from. One of my favourites is music from one of the greatest television series ever made, Battlestar Galactica. Listening to any part of its five-season soundtrack gets me writing.


I could go on listing songs or music. Instead, I'll let you escape my mind; I know how busy you all are. However if you're interested in learning how music and writing can collaborate to create something truly unique, visit Samantha Redstreake Geary's blog and The Tree of Life project.

Does music inspire you? Have you written any stories inspired by song lyrics? Do your stories or books have soundtracks? As always, I'd love to know your answers.

28 comments:

  1. Battlestar Galacticia - nice!
    A lot of what I write is inspired by music, and certainly shaped by it. The manuscript I am writing now was inspired by one song with a story so clear - and I took it and made it my own. (At the moment it's a mess, but it's all mine!)

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    1. I can't wait for to read it, Alex. It sounds like you're at the same stage of writing as me. I have the first draft. Now I need to mold it into a novel.

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  2. Actually I'm full of dark and twisted humor.

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  3. Unfortunately, I'm unable to write (creatively) with music playing. Just can't do it. I've tried and tried.

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    1. I'm the same with the television or people talking. Although, strangely I can write in coffee shops.

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  4. I tend to have the same piece of instrumental music on repeat so it becomes white noise. More to block out the world than to inspire me. I live in a very noisy house.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. I can see how that would work. The road my flat is in can get noisy as well.

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  5. I'm also inspired by music usually Keane's first album, Dido, Cold play and Travis. I have them on when I write but about 30seconds in I'm so gripped by what's pouring out of my head I can no longer hear it!

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    1. It's amazing how we're able to phase out such things, but yet find them comforting or inspirational.

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  6. I like putting my headphones on and blasting what I call "writing music" ala my youtube account! I find I get inspired - but of course once I turn off the music and read my rough draft, well - somehow the power (or what I thought exuded potency) of the words disappear! LOL! Take care
    x

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    1. I suffer from something similar myself, Old Kitty. The first draft never lives up to expectations. At least we have the magic power of re-writes and more music.

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  7. You silly. I saw your post on FB, last night, teasing us to read this post. lol I'm a music lover, too!

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    1. I told you it wasn't what you thought it was about! And I say I've got a twisted mind. Oh. Alright. Maybe a little twisted.

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  8. Does music inspire me... All I have to do is hear the right music mood and I'm on fire. Music is in my blood. No seriously. I've got the audio hypersensitivity to go with it, and the constant orchestra playing in my head. Music makes me happy.

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    1. What an eloquent way of describing the inspiration of music. We sound like kindred spirits, Crystal.

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  9. Hi Ellie, I love the way different art forms all inspire each other. Music does it for me too, as does a painting or a photograph. My main character in the novel I'm writing at the moment, is a painter. The one before (still, ahem, lurking in a drawer) was a musician. Love your blog - never been here before, but will be back for more!

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    1. Thank you, Jenny. I hope you take out the one lurking in the drawer one day!

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  10. Oh yes. The music seeps into the writing for sure. Sometimes I pick music to suit what I'm writing, but often it's the other way round and what I happen to hear affects what I write. I quite like that.

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    1. I hadn't thought of doing that, Simon. Interesting.

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  11. I do tend to associate songs and soundtracks with my writing. Art imitating art, I hope.

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  12. I'm glad you mentioned audiomachine. I was thinking of them as I was thinking of music that has inspired me. The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack is another I found to be especially inspiring as well.

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    1. I can understand why, Angela. Am I right in thinking the composer Yo Yo Ma Tan Dan won an Oscar for the score?

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  13. Watching people gives me inspiration. A couple joking together in a brittle kind of way in a hospital waiting room. What is their story and what private tragedy makes them like that? A man just missed a bus how has that affected his future? Why does that woman pushing the shopping trolley look so sad? All sorts of things trigger my imagination. I compose stories for them in my head. Unfortunately many of these inspirations stay in my head.

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    1. People watching is one of my favourite past-times. I hope we don't look too crazy!

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  14. Hi Ellie .. I wish I knew more about music .. it was something that I couldn't pick up - though I love it .. the tracks you've mentioned are just delightful despite their morbid bent ...

    Thankfully I live in a very quiet place, when any noise occurs - I get irritated!! And occasionally I do put on tracks to listen to ... but I think I need to bring myself into the 21st century technically .... cheers and hope you're safe in this extreme weather we're having - Hilary

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    1. Your home sounds the exact opposite of mine. I live near the town centre, and often listen to music to drown out the sound. I would love to live somewhere more peaceful.

      Yes. You should always listen to more music. There's so much out there.

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