Music & Writing

It’s a fact that writers hardly talk about writing. I mean yes, sure, we sometimes discuss stuff like those famous rules one apparently needs to adhere to if one wants to become a famous, best-selling author, you know, those rumors about the use of adverbs and speech tags and whatnot. But when it comes right down to it, writing is the last thing on our list. Instead, we’ll talk about peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, our sanity, the results of the latest facebook quiz, and who insulted whom on the forum. It’s probably much the same with any given profession.

There’s one topic, though, that will constantly crop up. Music. Do you listen to music while writing? Which song inspired your novel/main character? Whom would you want to write the soundtrack if your novel was ever turned into a movie?

I don’t listen to music while writing. For me, music is hopelessly entwined with the lyrics that go with it. Since I’m more often than not writing in a language not my own, I require a certain level of peace and quiet to concentrate. Distractions, even of the most beautiful kind, are unwelcome. I love music, love love love love music, and if there were a stronger word than love, I’d use it, but still. Music, for me, is not an inspiration.

But the lyrics are.

Faulty grammar notwithstanding, Mr. Mark Knopfler put it very well:

But the music make her wanna be the story
And the story was whatever was the song what it was

Because it works both ways. Sometimes, I’ll listen to a song and the lyrics will strike a chord within my soul and there’ll be a story. Sometimes, while writing, something a character says or does will remind me of a song, and I’ll jump to my feet, search my CD rack (my very, very considerable CD rack) and I’ll play the song on repeat till my husband threatens to go back to his mom.

Hence, most of my characters come with a tracklist. One of these days, I’ll compile them and introduce them to you.

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About angelikarust

My name is Angelika Rust. I was born in Vienna in 1977. These days, I live in Germany, with my husband, two children, a despotic couple of cats and a hyperactive dog. After having tried almost every possible job from pizza delivery girl to HR consultant, I now make a living knowing English. No, I haven’t yet figured out what I want to be when I grow up, whenever that may be. In the meantime, I write the occasional book.
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