How I use music and lyrics in my writing…

chords sheet on piano tiles

This post may go off on a tangent, but I’ll try to stay on topic. Music helps me write, a lot of writers use music to help their mood. Sometimes I’ll even pick out a specific song or playlist depending on the scene I’m writing. Somber and serious music, or upbeat and funny, music gets my creativity more focused in the moment.

Songs can help me write scenes, tune out distractions, and channel a given emotion. Scenes are the backbone of modern storytelling, and music can elicit the tone I want to set in any given scene. I have a lot of quiet time to write, but sometimes life gets in way. Music (especially loud classical music) can drown out some disturbances.

Emotions a character may feel come through with more clarity if I match the right music while I write. Whether its adventure and excitement, fear and loathing, or dramatic internal conflict, music can help. Theme songs are good for matching the vibe (unfortunately they don’t usually last as long as other music).

As for lyrics, I use them for all sorts of things. I enjoy making lyrics (songs or poetry) into chapter titles. I also slide snippets of lyrics into my text from time to time. My favorite use of lyrics is to tie several chapters together through lyrics from the same song or poem.

In my debut novel, Fantastic America, I used the poem, “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats. It’s a perfect fit, both in subject matter, and its antique phrases. The chapter titles tie each other together, beginning, middle, and end. Each one echoes events in the chapter and hints at what is to come. Most of my chapter titles hint at something.

If you’ve never read Yeats’ poem(s), I highly recommend it (or them if you’re into it)!

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