Last month I wrote to you about characters having music identities. This month I thought we’d look at the different ways writers use music. Here’s what I came up with. Do you have others?
Setting – which includes the time period as well as location. What does your character hear? Gospel music? Disco? Opera?
Sometimes music can change a character. Did you see the movie Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon? In one scene, as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, she meets a young boy and his grandmother. The boy sings Red River Valley to her. It’s his gift to her and powerfully done. Here are the lyrics:
From this valley they say you are going,
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile.
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our pathway a while.
So come sit by my side if you love me.
Do not hasten to bid me adieu.
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy that has loved you so true.
Off-duty – that’s when I listen to music. Last week I went with some friends to hear Danielle Ponder. Outdoor concerts in the summer are the best.
New ideas can come while you listen. Maybe to the vibe of the music. Wagner anyone? Or the lyrics. I had that experience when I first began thinking about my art thriller trilogy. In the play Chicago, the song My Own Best Friendhas this line, “I play in a game where I make the rules.” That stuck with me. I began thinking about what that would look like. No rules, except your own. Emma Kelly was born.
Go into a private space. Many writers listen to music while they write. I’m not one of them. I need silence or white noise. I’m writing this at Panera’s. The background noise works for me.
I’ll leave you with a fun clip to thank you for reading (and maybe replying.) Click here and enjoy!
All the best,