Music is very important to my writing process. I find that I get much more smoothly into the writing process if I have music playing, and some kinds of music is better than others: instrumental, or words not in English, movie scores (or artists like Moby and E.S. Posthumous that sound like movie scores even when they are not), classical, less-energetic technopop and New Wave. I have a number of playlists, but more and more I find that I'm choosing to listen to albums when I write. (I know, albums: how retro!) I love the way a good album blends, one song into the next, more predictably than a playlist on random, and it's helpful to go for 45 minutes to an hour without having to think about what music I'm going to pick next.
1. Moby, "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters"
Like many of my mood writing pieces, this song has an elegiac quality to it: hopeful and sad at the same time, the song that plays over the closing credits of the movie as the hero walks away, a chapter of her life ending but looking forward to whatever might come next. It's good for melancholy moments as well as for sex scenes that are more about emotional connection than porn. Another advantage: it's long. This is the third-most listened to song on my iTunes right now.
Other songs and albums that fit in this category: many other pieces by Moby, the last three Coldplay albums, "Trapeze Singer" by Iron & Wine, "Fear" (and everything off Afterglow) by Sarah McLachlin, "See the Sun" by Dido, "Where Do You Think You're Going" by Dire Straits, "ONE" by U2, "Fortress Around Your Heart" by Sting, almost the entire Paine/Nooj playlist.
2. Neuroticfish, "The Bomb"
Neuroticfish is currently my top battle music band. The beat is driving, the key is minor, and it gets my fingers moving. It works for emotional battles as well: fights, arguments, general character unhappiness. Other battle music: "Pompeii" and "Odenall Pi" by E.S. Posthumous, anything by The Black Mages (of course), "Airship Pirate" by Abney Park (discovered on my very favorite FFIX FMV ever), The Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks.
3. Depeche Mode, "Nothing's Impossible"
For me, nothing is better than Depeche Mode for writing the sexyfuntimes. It hangs out somewhere between the melancholy stuff and the driving beats of Neuroticfish et. al., which is just the zone I want for most sex scenes. Other good artists for this purpose: New Order, Tori Amos. Coldplay too, sometimes. The Peter Gabrial album "Us".
4. Brahms' Requiem
One of the most beautiful works for chorus ever written, it is my Auron music. I listened to it obesssively while I was writing A Guardian's Legacy, particularly the chapters relating to Braska's pilgrimage, and I can no longer hear it without thinking of Auron, trudging to Zanarkand. These days I listen to it mostly when I'm writing Auron, or need to tug the heartstrings, or both.
5. Bobby McFerrin, "Circlesong 1"
I had a hard time thinking of what music I listen to when I'm writing a cheerful story. Perhaps this is telling. But when I remembered Circlesongs, I knew I was right; it's upbeat without being too peppy, covering a nice range of moods, no distracting lyrics. Good for humor, too. And for editing. Other artists in this category: Adiemus, R.E.M., Maddy Prior, Blackmore's Night, Barenaked Ladies
I feel like I could keep listing songs and artists all night, but I'll stop here, for now. If I run out of topics, you may get an overflow post...
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