Daddy, I want one of those.

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Everybody wishes they had one.

Many devote time to thinking about one.

It’s impossible to get one.

Unless you’re fictional!

What is it?

A soundtrack to life.


Yes, many of us have certain favorite songs that we wish would play during certain events or situations or circumstances, whether good, bad, ugly, or just neutral. Some have one song or a handful of songs that even sum up their entire existence. Music is an important element to everyone’s lives, and one doesn’t have to be a musician to enjoy or appreciate it. We can’t actually have one, and an iPod hanging from your ears does not count, but why not give one to your most prominent characters?


Listen more, write better:

While you’re sitting there, trying to think of decent words, listen to the kind of music that best fits the book or scene you’re writing.
Start with the genre of music that feels right with the genre of your story. I use classical for ye olde fantasy, and various modern rock groups for my sci-fi adventure. Think of what would most likely be playing in the background if your book were a movie. Narrow that down to the particular style/era, and find groups you like that play it. If your story is historical fiction, pick music from the decade in which it takes place. To go further into it, pick specific songs by those groups that may describe events or feelings pertaining to your writing. I have a playlist of about 50 songs with lyrics that actually sum up the entire plot of my book, and I did it on accident, or at least, subconsciously.

The music you choose could help shape your story, give you lots of ideas from cool phrases that stand out or lines you never paid much attention to before. The least it can do is help you get in the mood for what you’re about to write. Music is full of rhythm and flow and interesting transitions—exactly what a good book needs to be a great book.

This is what I do; it’s an essential part of my writing process that gives me excellent results. It could work for you.

However, if you are among the rare persons who need absolute silence while writing, then why did you read this post?

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  1. I love listening to music while I write. Usually I stay within my certain range, Augustana, a lot of the Beatles, Mumford & Sons, etc. but there are a few artists, like Taylor Swift, that I find useful for certain scenes. xD I need a better example. I hate pop.

  2. I read it because I couldn’t stop myself! Maybe that’s what I need to inspire me for this week’s prompt, the “right” one hasn’t spoken to me yet.

  3. Never thought about taking music into the story with me. How interesting. I’ll do this oversize, and see how it changes my thinking processes. Yes, it sounds like it will help me to reach for words not normally in my vocabulary. Very good, and thank you for sharing this great tip with us!

  4. Great, I’m glad I can inspire you to try new things.

  5. I gotta say, this has always been an essential for me. I have problems writing WITHOUT music. When I wrote NO HOPE, which was set in 1981, I sorted my music so I listened to nothing past that year. And it really helped. In fact, there was a point when I was trying to understand the mind-set of one of my characters, just as Blue Oyster Cult sang, “Is it any wonder that my mind is on fire, imprisoned at the thoughts of what to do” from Flaming Telepaths.

    Worked like a charm.

  6. I often worry about how much music influences my writing, and whether or not what I feel, with the music playing translates to the page or not. I have often wished I could attach the music to the work itself, but then that could easily backfire.

  7. True, but I can’t even write bad songs…

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