The Music Inside and Outside Me

Music is a big inspiration for most of my stories, a lot more than people would think. In fact, for certain stories, I make a musical playlist for the story. At first it’s unintentianal. I’m just listening to music to block out the outside world and stimulate my creative juices(I have a short attention span). But as I continue to write and brainstorm a story, the same songs are usually playing in the background.
Eventually, these songs become a part of the story. If I listen to the songs when I’m not writing the story, like if i’m walking down the street, my mind immediately thinks of the story of which I listen to the song to.
It’s a great tool for breaking through writer’s block or getting the motivation to write.
When I listen to Balance & Composure, my mind immediately goes to a story about a teenager who is fighting against soul stealing demons.
Using music for framing a way of mind can suck from time to time. Because sometimes if a story i’m writing doesn’t have a musical playlist yet it can be jarring when I’m listening to music while writing.
I have my extensive collection of music on shuffle on in the background when writing and when a certain song comes on, my mind immediately shifts to the story that song is classified for. It can ruin my flow.
But when my minds flows with the music it flows. There have been entire scenes and chapters in some of my books that have been inspired from the songs I listen too.
One of the biggest example of music literally shaping my stories is a section in my first book, Skyeater.
The chapters are called Yes, Even the Stars and Goodbye London.
It’s a section following a disgraced scientist.
When I originally outlined the story, I wasn’t going to give that character his own chapters. But then I listen to ‘Goodbye London’ by Money. The song has nothing to do with aliens or invasions or anything about my story. But when I listened to it, it inspired me to create a few brooding chapters following the back story of one of my books characters.
Whenever I’m writing a fight scene, I listen to something fast pace,
When I’m writing a brooding scene, I listen to something slow and usually classic. And sometimes when writing a challenging scene I write in silence.
With all the musical choices in the world, I can usually blast past a mental block by putting up a tune and it helped me shape everything.
Without music, I wouldn’t be the person I am now and my stories would be very different.

J Alex McCarthy

J Alex McCarthy

Why do I write?
J Alex McCarthy

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