I thought I’d try something a little different and talk about what music is required listening when writing fiction. Every writer has their own ritual, but mine involves dimming the lights, opening up iTunes or YouTube, pouring a scotch
and water (if it’s a weekend), and then bashing my head on the wall until I come up with an idea.
(Note: That last part doesn’t always happen.)
The music is important, though. I’m weird in a way that I listen to different types of music based on which genre I’m writing at the moment. Maybe that’s not so weird. Music inspires and influences us in so many different ways, so writing shouldn’t be any different, right?
So without further ado, here’s my typical writing playlist sorted by fiction genre:
Usually New Age is the best thing to listen to when you write horror. Nothing freaks you out like the eerie instrumental sounds of Mike Oldfield (the guy behind the music to The Exorcist). And The Private Music of Tangerine Dream is a must. Classical music is also okay when you’re writing horror, as long as it’s a little…darker. That might not be the right word, but I means stuff like Bach or some Beethoven. Mozart is way too soft for horror. Some classic rock is acceptable, as long as it instrument heavy or Prog, but don’t overdo it. Alan Parsons Project: Tales of Mystery and Imagination is a great listen when you’re writing horror, obviously. And I’ll throw AC/DC a bone here as well, but that’s mostly the Stephen King fan inside me talking.
You can’t go wrong with classic Classic Rock. Best bet is any band from the soundtrack of Heavy Metal, including Blue Oyster Cult, Journey, Grand Funk Railroad, Cheap Trick, Donald Fagen…Oh screw it. Only listen to the Blue Oyster Cult when you write sci-fi. All of those other bands suck. Although I would forgive you if you listen to a little Van Halen when you’re writing science fiction as well. As for more current stuff? A little fusion every now and then never hurt anybody. And there’s always Daft Punk.
Other than a couple of more fantasy-themed albums like Yngwie Malmsteen’s Fire and Ice or the Alan Parson Project’s Turn of a Friendly Card, I usually prefer instrumental stuff. If it’s a little lighter fantasy, I’ll usually pick a random Post Rock mix on youtube. With epic fantasy, I’ll pick a random “epic fantasy” mix on youtube. I don’t put too much thought into it, and when all else fails, just listen to anything that features a sitar.
By this, I mean action/adventure or young adult. Basically stuff you hope to make money off of. It’s essential that you listen pop music for this. I know, I know… But success is contagious, so you should listen to trendy people being successful. I recommend Taylor Swift, Adele, Kelly Clarkson, and Pink. Also Fun and Paramore just because they rule.
Oh, and Pitbull. It’s always okay to listen to Pitbull. No matter what you’re doing.
So there you have it. If you follow this advice and use these master playlists, you should easily be able to get yourself in the proper mood to write and kick writers block to the curb.
On the off-chance you’re not listening to the same stuff I am, what music gets you in the right mood to write fiction? Leave a comment and let us know!