The Soundtrack of Writing

06 Nov



The Soundtrack of Writing, by author Penny White

Like any good movie, a good book requires the proper background music. Writing with a soundtrack can help boost creativity and productivity.
What type of book are you writing?
  • Murder mystery
  • Science Fiction
  • Western
  • Romance
Each of these categories has appropriate background music. Think of the last Science Fiction or Romance movie you watched. What type of music was in the background? Was it dramatic?  Was it light-hearted? Did it enhance your movie-going experience?  Whether you paid attention to the music or not, some of it probably stayed with you.  For that reason, using background music while writing will make a book stay with a reader.
Choose the Music for Your Writing
It stands to reason that Country Music may be best suited for writing a Western novel. But don’t rule out listening to Garth Brooks or Trisha Yearwood for Romance.  Likewise, consider Classical for Science Fiction or a Murder Mystery.
Some of the music of Phillip Glass is well-suited for stories of vampires, ghosts or the darker side of human nature. Many of his instrumentals are short and concise but have a deep sense of foreboding.
The Book Chooses the Music
There are times when music fits perfectly with whatever you’re working on.  For instance, for a recently completed Trilogy, all I heard was Pat Benatar.
  • Invincible accompanied my protagonist as she rode her black steed, Galindore, to rescue her daughter
  • Le Bel Age was background for every sword fight
  • All Fired Up was instrumental in helping my protagonist face her worst fears
The strength and the wherewithal in the Benatar tunes helped to draw out the strength in my characters. My protagonist in the Trilogy lacked self-confidence in the first installment. By the final book, she was very comfortable with herself being the Queen of a Realm.
Song Lyric Interference
Afraid that song lyrics may interfere with your writing?  Give Classical compositions a try. Many movies utilize Classical music to set the tone. Those Classical pieces serve just as well when writing. A number of Classical pieces are available for free download at  The music of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, et al, are timeless pieces and capable of evoking a myriad of emotions and visualizations.
It’s About the Reader, Too
Using music to set the tone for writing doesn’t just benefit the writer. It also serves to enhance the reading experience.  Like music enhances a movie, the music you hear in your head while writing will enhance every aspect of your writing. It will attune you to dialogue, character development, emotions and descriptions. The stronger and more realistic the visualization, the better you will write it.
The reader will not be able to hear what you hear. She or he may have an altogether different soundtrack in mind while reading. Or no soundtrack at all.  Regardless of what the reader hears or doesn’t hear, use your favorite tunes to create. The important thing is that you use the music to reach your best writing potential.
Any tool a writer can use to enhance her or his writing is invaluable. Create a Playlist that will enhance your writing experience. It is sure to flow over into the reading experience as well.
Pen’s Bio
Pen has written and published six novels in the science fiction/fantasy/adventure genre in the past three years, with more to come. She has also published a number of non-fiction titles as well. Pen still lives in the Atlanta area where she is staff to two felines.
Pen suffered a heart attack on June 18th of 2013 upon completion of the Sword of Tilk Trilogy. Surviving this experience has motivated her to plan a 600-mile walk from Atlanta to Washington, DC in 2014 as a celebration of life and to gather background information for a novel in progress.
Sword of Tilk Book One: Worlds Apart

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Posted by on November 6, 2013 in Guest Blogs, Marketing, Writing


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2 responses to “The Soundtrack of Writing

  1. penspen

    November 6, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Penspen's Blog.

  2. georgiarose2013

    February 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve just published my first book and had a complete soundtrack in my head as I wrote it. For all time now if I hear any one of those tracks it will immediately take me to that exact scene in my mind which is great as I loved every moment and it will make me smile to revisit. I found the music helped get me in the right the mood for writing as well as adding an emotional depth to my words.


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