Sunday, August 21, 2016

Writing post of the day. . .

Do you listen to music while you write? Or does music in some way inform your writing?

I generally can't listen to music while I'm writing a story for the newspaper I work for. I have done quite a bit of freelance music writing. When I'm writing about a performer or a band, I punctuate my writing spells with listening to the music, but still, I have to have silence sometimes while I cook up my words.

I can listen to music when I'm in the zone, writing  a scene in a screenplay where the rhythm and tone of the song help inform the scene. Other times, I'm not writing, just listening to music, and inspiration strikes.

I'm writing a screenplay where, among many other developments, my protagonist goes back to his hometown. He's charismatic, nervy, and nervous about being reunited with his family and friends in the hometown he fled.

All week, I've had Alkaline Trio's "I Wanna Be a Warhol" going through my mind. Suddenly, voila. I realized that whether it ends up in the movie or not, he's listening to the song as he speeds toward his hometown.

Now he's got more momentum. He's aggressive, smoking, chewing sunflower seeds and spitting them out the window. And guess what? The whole screenplay needs a touch more edge and risk. The character's dad, who I've given a personality that is mild, upstanding and somewhat disappointed in life, let me try making him an alcoholic.

I can do that with my own stories, you know, and so can you. It's kind of an "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To" scenario.

How does music affect your writing?

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