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've talked to so many writers that can't listen to anything when they actually write. They don't even have a cd player in their offices.

Me? I need music. What is horrible for anyone within listening distance, it can be the same album or even the same song over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. Repeatedly. Ad infinitum.

PJ Harvey, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Tori Amos - usually dark, emotive, somewhat primal music stirs my muse to action.

I love that John Connolly included cd's with his last Charlie Parker books (Brit release only, sadly). It gives me perspective into where his mind was at. Not exactly a cheery place.

Eager to hear what others say about this. I've only met one other writer so far who listens to music as voraciously during the actual writing process.
i made an itunes soundtrack after i finished my last book. really enjoyed doing that, and might do it for every book. i tried to make the songs follow the plot from start to finish. don't think i could make a soundtrack before starting the book or while writing it. i do recall years ago writing some dark, dreamy scene while listening to something like portishead. or maybe it was spiritualized. anyway, it worked pretty well.
I use music to hypnotize myself when I'm writing. I wrote Isabella Moon while listening to The Talented Mr Ripley soundtrack (It helped that I love Highsmith--the film itself was disappointing). My daughter says she always knew when I was working because she heard those songs over and over and over. Now, whenever I hear them, my brain starts writing. Dangerous when driving. If the writing's not going well or I'm working on a particularly difficult passage, I have to go all instrumental--Chopin and more Chopin. There's also a six minute Adagio for organ and strings that I will listen to in a loop for hours at a time. It's kind of surreal to do that.

For this next novel, I have a "spooky" playlist--Music from The Gift, 12 Monkeys, Pink Floyd, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (almost too scary), Eyes Wide Shut (dopey movie, good music).

But when I'm reading--no music, no way! I want to be only in the writer's hands.

Does anyone else love itunes?! It's so easy to make playlists!
I have Yahoo Jukebox and just adore it! All sorts of music that I wouldn't commit to buying a whole cd of but still love to hear. Like, and I'll admit this here, Rush's 2112 the other day.

No music when I read, either. I like to become totally involved in the story and the narrative voice.
Fortunately, I have a human jukebox on the other side of the wall. I plug into his computer over the network. But I really should branch out on my own. Now I'm going to have to find Rush's 2112 to learn why you almost had to keep it a secret...
I always choose which music to put on when I start to write something. Based on
what kind of scene I write I pick the music. Mostly rock fits the part best, especially
Queens of the Stone Age, Stonesour, newer Metallica.
It gives me (and often the story) the right energy for my stories. Most of my stories
feature the younger (about 30) Noah Milano so the music fits him. Writing other
characters I choose blues or jazz or for my superhero character Godling I often
choose punkrock.
The story I'm working on now (that I plan to use for Amazon Shorts), one of my darkest pieces, has a soundtrack of
Deftones, Perfect Circle and Mark Lanegan. Pretty dark stuff to make sure I'm in
the right mood.
Robert Earl Keen. What a hoot he is!
That is an interesting mix!

Bag-man, do you find that the music keeps the noisy, nattering part of your brain busy when you're writing?
Please tell me you have a photo of you in this metal band....
I have to have music during the creative phase, but can't really have it on while editing. The music ends up helping to drown out the real world, helping to create tha hypnotic state.

I don't particularly create a soundtrack, because I'll add in something here or there as the process goes and elminate something else that might start interrupting my thought process (maybe it's the wrong mood for that section or something), but I do tend to play those selections over and over to the point where I don't even really "hear" them... and the selections will have run out when I'll suddenly realize I've been writing for a couple of hours.

I tend toward a pretty eclectic mix--everything from rock to blues to bluegrass to country to celtic.
The novel I recently finished definately has a sound track. I think it might be because I think cinematically. I listen to the song in the car while I'm running errans or whatever, and there's a chunk of my brain writing the scene that goes with it.
My first three book titles are taken from song titles, which should tell you that yeah, music's a big influence on me. I usually have music playing when I write. For one thing it helps drown out the noisy kids who I can hear from the other end of the freakin' house, and for another, it seems to get my mind into a more creative groove.

And my tastes are extremely eclectic: Steve Earle, Belle and Sebastian, Green Day, The Grateful Dead, Motorhead, Mozart, Springsteen, David Allan Coe, The Who, The Clash, The Pogues, Flogging Molly, Johnny Cash, ABBA, Neil Young...that's just in the last week.


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