Everyone writes differently. Some on laptops, some on typewriters, and a few freaks even write longhand (I love you, I do – it’s envy talking, here). Some write in costume, some write upside down, and some write only when fueled by caffeine or dulled by whiskey (Hemmingway, I’m lookin’ at you, here).
Some people write to music.
Some people don’t.
Usually, my projects take a long time, and I slowly acquire music to match whatever I’m working on. A poignant lyric here, a wailing violin there, and before you know it, my repeat count has reached the double (or triple) digits.
While writing the latter half of The Queen’s Assassin, I discovered a waltz by Dvorak which simply spoke to me. It had this grand sweeping feeling to it, and the orchestra felt like it could have been playing in the castle at Amarys. It was not a happy song with lots of major moments and cheery chords. It wasn’t a dirge. It was… epic and royal and everything I needed to write some crucial scenes. Here, have a listen.
Sometimes everything seems so noisy, I have to put my headphones on and simply listen to silence while my fingers do the singing (on the keyboard, with the novel). The lack of noise gives my thoughts room to make plenty of uncontested racket.
I jumped from writing The Queen’s Assassin into working on my NaNo2016 project so quickly, I had no music. I didn’t think this was a big deal.
Boy, was I wrong.
I tried to listen to the Dvorak waltz and nearly tore my hair out. It was so wrong for everything. It didn’t suit the characters, the world, or the story. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong!
I was surprised by the vigor of my own emotion on the subject, and I scoured my iTunes library to find a playlist that wouldn’t hurt my soul.
But the thing about NaNoWriMo, the thing about writing in general, is that anything can happen. I was puttering around through my likes on Tumblr.com when I found a post I had liked and intended to listen to when I had time. It was a woman’s vocals wringing out the most profound sorrow and love in a musical rendition of Tolkien’s “Lament for Boromir,” and I’ll tell you what – the song works for my story. I found out where the woman posted it on YouTube, and I highly recommend you check it out: here. Do the words have much to do with it? No, not really. A minor application to back story, at best. Does the musical style match the afore mention playlist? No. Not really. It just seemed to really speak to my protagonist – speak about my protagonist.
Am I a crazy person? Yes, probably.
How about the rest of the writer crowd out there? Music, no music, or both?