Writing with Music
Music has the power to transport the mind and move the soul. There is a singular joy in the hearing the right song at the perfect moment. Your favorite driving song just as the road opens into a long straightaway before you, the fight song at your alma mater, your guilty pleasure jam on laundry day. For me, it’s not summer if I haven’t heard Will Smith’s Summertime, Garth Brooks’ The Dance will always make me cry, and every time I hear Procol Hocum’s Whiter Shade of Pale, I think of my sister.
Nothing evokes memory as strongly as music. Soundtracks in movies direct our emotions, carrying us through the visual story. While many writers I have spoken with find music distracting while they are working, or only listen to instrumentals, etc., I have found it almost impossible to write without music. My headphones are almost as integral to the set-up as the coffee.
Before I write any story, I create a soundtrack. They’re eclectic mixes—songs for particular characters, for moods, for seasons. In writing my last novel, Hell or High Water, I created a playlist named after my hero, Voodoo. This particular badass biker originally hailed from New Orleans, a city with a rich musical culture. As I researched, creating my soundtrack allowed me to travel to another part of the country and get a feel for what my characters might experience there.
I explored everything from jazz throughout the decades, to swamp funk, to songs about the city. A friend of mine suggested a song for the playlist which quickly became my favorite—Jeff Tuohy’s Bourbon Street. These songs set a mood, creating a mental ambience which helps me stay immersed in the fictional world.
What about you? What songs have a powerful impact on your emotions?
About the Author
Sara Rayne is the co-author of the Amazon best-selling Four Horsemen MC series along with her sister, best friend, and partner-in-crime, Cynthia Rayne. Born and bred in the rust belt of Ohio, Sara embraced her Dixie roots with as much enthusiasm as she digs into her daddy's buttermilk biscuits and from-scratch gravy. When she’s not writing or over-working her coffeepot, she’s getting into crazy crafting adventures with her husband and a truly spoiled Siamese kitty.