I'm thinking I can pose this question to both writers and readers...

Do you think in terms of soundtracks for the books you read, or write? Do you take an extra step and actually create them?

I made a soundtrack for the novel I'm currently working on. Rain Dog (husband) has done them for both short stories he wrote last year. (And then expects me to burn CDs for him. The nerve of that techo-challenged man...) He does his to listen to while you read, but I do mine for inspiration if I hit a snag with the writing.

Anyone else? If so, who/what are your influences... or do you tend towards a pretty eclectic mix?

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I use music for inspiration and to help me focus on a story. The upside is that I can use it as a sort of shorthand to get back into a project that I've been away from for a few days or longer. The song reminds me of what I'm trying to do with it.

On the downside I end up listening to the same dozen songs over and over again. for weeks or months at a time.

But I can't listen to it while I'm writing, especially if it has words. Just screws me up completely.
Yes. I've used: Sin City, 25th Hour, Vertigo, and many others depending on the work. Which reminds me I have to go and buy The Departed’s track. … I make mixes out of them with Media Player, and then arrange them. Sometimes making the mix can be a distraction however.

CKing
NPR affliate KQED has a podcast called the Writers Block, wherein they produced a reading of the first chapter of my latest CANDY FROM STRANGERS, which involves a jazz gig at a bar. And while they couldn't get the rights to the tunes mentioned in the text, they did score it with some original tunes from the Kurt Ribak Trio, including a great one called "Prelude to a B Movie."

You can check it out here:

http://www.kqed.org/arts/writersblock/episode.jsp?id=13480

More on the voice actor who read the piece here:

http://riordansdesk.blogspot.com/2007/02/candy-on-national-public-r...
I really don't bother with music when I'm reading anymore. When I was in high school I would sit on my bed in my room with a tape playing and read, but I would get so involved in the book that when the tape would shut off I would literally jump because I had completely stopped noticing that it was even playing.

I can understand why music would become involved for the writer, but I guess for me once I start reading and my imagination takes over there's just no space for music to work itself in.
I can't read carefully when there's music in the background. I don't think I write very carefully with music playing, either. I definitely cannot outline, revise, or edit. I only have about fifteen brain cells left, and I need every one for the task at hand.

HOWEVER...I do use music to help me think through parts of my work while I'm driving. Did RGB say that already? Then, what he said.
Took me a while, but now it's a must. At first, i couldn't listen to anything with lyrics. I was (and still am) not the greatest typist, and lyrics distracted me.

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