Friday, June 15, 2012

Music, Writing, and Emotions

The strength in your writing will come from the strength in your emotions.

If you feel happy, or excited, it's too hard write a death scene. If you feel sad, you can't write a happy scene. (Which is why I treat my depression moments as gold for sad scenes.) Your emotions will seep into every word you write, so your emotions should match your scene. The best writing comes from passion (you'll see me harp about this a lot).

So, to get your emotions in line, listen to music!

This is my personal way, and if it doesn't work for you, x out that Youtube tab with as much force you can muster. Or rip out those headphones and yell at me. But try it out. Music is known to invoke emotions easily and powerfully. I listen to music before I draft, but not during. The emotions still stay with me and my writing turns out MUCH better.

Which songs match up with which scenes? Here comes something I like to call:

The Musical Chart for Emotional Writing

(Keep in mind, this is only what has worked for me. So find your own songs that you love and add them in.)

Emotion Desired Music to Listen to

Anger ----------------- Any kind of screamo (that you like. Not that hurts your ears).
                                  Personally, I've never listened to screamo, but it might work!

Pain, heartbreak------- Adele. Anything but Rolling in the Deep. (And yes, I am a guy.
                                    But I love Adele. If there is any singer that can sing more
                                    powerfully than her, I'd like to see it. She is so raw in her voice.)
                                    Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song--ping pongs are used for
                                    special sound effects) by Enrique Iglesias. EDIT: From Steph's
                                    comment below, Hymn to the Sea (Titanic soundtrack). I don't
                                    know how I forgot this one!!

Depression------------ Paramore (When it Rains), and Adele (Someone Like You, One
                                   and Only).

Longing--------------- Adele (Hometown Glory). She's just full of all kinds of emotions!

Breaking free -------- Greenday (21 Guns, but it is bittersweet. Still sadness). Adele
                                   (Rolling in the Deep. Rumor Has it. These are happy :) ).

Happiness------------- I don't know.... happiness doesn't move me, unless it's
                                   bittersweet. I don't use it much. F is for Friends by
                                   Spongebob? Or the Campfire song? Yea, that works.

Bittersweet----------- Greenday (21 Guns), Adele (Hometown Glory. I love this one!!!
                                  All about her home (not a guy... or that's what I tell myself.
                                  Cuz all she sings is about that guy. This one mighht pass for her
                                  hometown.). EDIT: From Steph's comment below, Hymn to the
                                  Sea (Titanic soundtrack)

Phew! Yup, that's pretty much it! The songs I allwayssss come back to are Hometown Glory, One and Only, Someone like You, 21 Guns, and When it Rains. They are haunting. And please, I am a guy. I just need to be moved before I write. So there comes Adele!!! I AM STILL A GUY! But I still love her.

JK Rowling burst into tears after she wrote the forest scene in the last Harry Potter book. That kind of emotional investment is something every writer needs.

What do you think about my little list? Any categories you would like to add? Any songs you find yourself coming back to over and over?


  1. Hometown Glory is my absolute favorite Adele song! I first heard it about 5 years back on an episode of So You Think You Can Dance and its been love ever since.

    Personally for me, writing to scores from movies is my go-to for emotional connection. I usually just toss on Pandora and put on one of my movie composer stations. Typically I just need inspiration to write the same scenes as you, the depressing, heart wrenching, sad stuff.

    A few of my favorite pieces include Time from Inception by Hans Zimmer, Hand Covers Bruise from The Social Network by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and absolutely anything by the genius Michael Giacchino that he scored for Lost.

    1. OOoh, the Lost soundtrack. Shoot! I totally forgot, and you reminded me! Scores from movies are actually awesome for writing, because it's pure emotion. Mainly, that one Titanic one (the famous one). What's it called... Hymn to the Sea?

    2. Yes! I love the Titanic score, and Hymn To The Sea is a good one. My favorite is Rose.

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  3. I find myself using E.S. Posthumus for a lot of my writing. They're an instrumental group--chances are, you've heard their music in several movies and movie trailers and never realized it. ;) Look them up on YouTube. They have the most powerful, moving music.

    Otherwise, I listen to a lot of Snow Patrol, My Chemical Romance, Adele (yes!), among many, many other things.

    1. I just checked out Posthumus and holy dang, their Pompeii one sounds just like a James Bond movie or Mission Impossible! That's perfect for an action scene. Which songs of theirs do you listen to mostly? And yay, Adele :) I can't stop watching her Royal Albert Hall concert videos.

    2. OH, HOLY CRAP. You are of YAtopia? I just checked your profile! I LOVVEEE that blog!!! I've stalked it for a while, and I finally started commenting on it when you wrote the simplicity post. I love passion and simplicity in writing--sincerity above all.

    3. Haha, yep! I'm of YAtopia. :) I visited your blog because you commented on that post!

      For ES Posthumus, Pompeii is one of their most popular tracks. If you look at their wiki page, you can see all the movies and trailers their stuff has been used in:
      Stuff like The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, etc.

      Some of my faves are Pompeii, Antissa, and Oraanu Pi--which is my ABSOLUTE FAVE. I hope you like them!

    4. Holy crap, that's a lot of awesome credentials. I'm going to listen to them from now on; I've always wondered what bands were used for trailer music. Hehe, I have a feeling that they might turn into one of my bookmarked music tabs :)