Being for the benefit of Mister Kite, there will be a show tonight on trampoline

Music is important to me.  I wrote my first novel to the music of Harry Connick Jr.

It feels odd saying that for oh so many reasons.  First up – saying ‘my first novel’.  I think many people assume and I perpetuate the idea that Sam Kane: Into The Fire is my first novel.  In some ways it is but in factual ways it really is not.  I wrote a lot in the 90’s but my first completed novel was The Queen of Shadows.  Then I wrote a bunch of ‘stories’ that weren’t short stories but weren’t novels either – they were just stories.  Then I wrote some more.  Then I started rewriting Queen of Shadows, which became the Chronicles of Darius, then more stories, then some ideas, then eventually Evermist, then the 1st draft of Sam Kane, plus Tabor/Mark of the Wild, some scifi stuff (Odyssey), more fantasy stuff, so on and etc.  After that there were a couple of mis-starts with other versions/drafts of Sam Kane, a flirtation with the beginnings of a space opera before landing on Into The Fire – the latest, greatest, rewrite/draft of Sam Kane.

So.  Yeah.

I have written to a lot of background stuff.  Sometimes it’s white noise, sometimes it’s not.  Mostly it’s music but I admit I have also put entire seasons of tv shows in and run them in the background, or movies, sometimes podcasts.  The only thing that truly distracts me from writing are the podcasts.  They’re simply too engaging.  Everything else acts as a buffer between my brain’s tendency to be easily distracted and my imagination/creative center.  My brain sort of focuses on the background noise of whatever it is I have going while the rest of me writes.

I’m probably odd that way.

I read a lot about authors who use music as a sort of soundtrack to what they’re writing.  Someone said something once about The Lord of the Rings being an Opera and that you could play a certain opera and the story just fell into the rhythm of that music.  That’s cool, but not exactly what I have ever sought or considered for my own writing.

But I still think music is important.  If loud, death metal is what you need in order to write epic battle scenes, more power to you.  If big band, romantic ballads gets you through the love scenes – good on you.  I don’t really write it that way.

I think my mood better determines the words going on the page rather than the music driving me towards a specific kind of scene or tone.  If I am in a bad mood, the stuff I’m writing can get pretty dark.  But I can also write a dark scene if I’m feeling good, so maybe I’m smoking crack here.

I do know that I will put off dark/bad scenes that I know are coming, because they can impact my mood rather than the other way around.  The death of a character, for example, can have me brooding for hours afterword.

In Into the Fire, my main character is dealing with a lot of emotional turmoil that keeps blindsiding her – that takes its toll on me as well.  I think that’s why I take breaks from it from time to time.

I also think it’s worth it because the reader is going to get so invested in her as a character, and that’s sort of the point – right?



  • Paul (@princejvstin) Posted April 26, 2011 5:19 am

    Music IS important–that was part of the point the guests on an interview with the local public radio station made yesterday. Music opens the mind in ways that we are still exploring.

    I find I write better with music on, too.

  • Mike Reid Posted April 26, 2011 10:15 am

    I write to music as well, but it has to be instrumental. If there are any other words in the air it messes with my own.

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