As a writer I find inspiration in everything; places, people, conversations…the list is endless! As a music lover it’s no surprise that I take a great deal of inspiration from music and in more ways than one! I’d like to share with you four different ways of finding inspiration in music that I hope will help get those words flowing in no time!
1. Stories in Lyrics
I would go as far as to say that all songs tell stories, in some way or an other. They are, at the very least, fragments of stories and of course when we listen to a song it’s always open to our own interpretation. That’s why there have been many times when I’ve listened to a song and come away from it with the idea for a novel or short story. Has this even happened to you?
The song below, and infact the whole album it features on, became the inspiration for a children’s fantasy story that I wrote. It started from the example below and with every song grew and grew. It’s completely out of context, I’m sure, to the true meaning of the songs and the album, but the point is you can find lyrics and turn them into the story that YOU want to tell.
The Song: Warriors – Jim Lockey and the Solemn Son
The Lyric: Our children play down by the waterside, while my wife softly sings to herself,
I will be riding for hours to the battleground, where all these warriors fight,
for their pockets of gold and their lives.
The Idea: A children’s fantasy story where a young boy leads himself and his friends into a battle that their King is too afraid to fight.
2. Atmosphere in Music
Consider what kind of story you’re writing and play music that suits it, in the background. I find that this works best with film scores, but you only need to go on YouTube to find tonnes of atmospheric pieces to get you in the mood for writing. For fantasy scores Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are an obvious choice, but there are some truly magnificent pieces in those soundtracks. For me, it’s Lily’s Theme. Dramatic and emotional. A great reason to choose film scores is that you aren’t distracted by words and so you can truly sink into mood of the music.
3. Your Character’s Favourite Songs
Music taste can be a huge part of a character’s personality. Does music mean everything to them or do they just casually have a few favourite hits? Either way, when writing about certain characters, listening to the music they love can really bring them alive. Perhaps your protagonist lives for angry punk records, or angst filled rock, or hearty pop tunes. Whatever their preference, pop on a song or even a whole album – you’ll begin to feel really close to them! My main girl doesn’t really get to listen to music anymore, but the Indie Rock of her teenage years will always make her nostalgic.
4. Songs that Tell Your Story
Have you ever listened to a song and just thought, “Wow…that matches my story perfectly!” It’s happened to me a few times and I’m always in awe at how I can picture my plot and my characters when I hear those songs. If you have these, pop them into a playlist and have a listen whenever your inspiration is lacking. It’ll soon pick you back up.
A few songs that took my breath away when I realised they matched my story.
Youth – Daughter
Well I’ve lost it all, I’m just a silouhette,
A lifeless face that you’ll soon forget,
My eyes are damp from the words you left,
Ringing in my head, when you broke my chest
Newborn – Will Varley
And the coat she bought is bound to keep me warm
The buttons are hanging off, the sleeves are torn
And the wind outside howls like a newborn
My London – Crowns
London, you never undertstood
Staying with you never done me good
I wouldn’t leave you for the world it seems
This city put the colour back in my dreams
I hope you’ll have found something useful here, and don’t forget I’d love to hear any music inspiration of yours, so please comment below if you have any!
Until next week,