Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Sound That You Write To

Do you write with silence in the background, the London Symphony Orchestra in full glory behind you, or do you like to write with the sound of the wind, rain, and thunder bouncing off of your roof and windows? What sound do you write to? What acoustic melodies, harmonies, or eclectic sounds inspire your writing and drive it forward? That is my question to you.

Authors are sometimes asked, "What meaning are you writing between the lines?" I like to change that a bit and say, "What music are you hearing between the lines?" As writers, we look for inspiration in many places. Some of us look for inspiration in the daily news, in our family stories, in our own lives, and in the farthest realms of our imaginations. I would like to add to that list the sounds of music that touches your heart, mind, and spirit.

I offer this thought to support my addition: Behind many great movies, TV shows, plays, and even TV commercials, dwells the musical themes that enhance those scenes being viewed. In the background of my writing den, I play music as a driving force of inspiration behind the characters, scenes, and dramas unfolding on the page before me. Dare I say it--Music is my "silent character," the unseen narrator of the story in my mind.

To that end, I like to use iTunes to make my own "soundtrack to my book" playlists. As I am writing scenes, I play the corresponding music from my vast library of music to inspire the feelings and scenes of my characters. Unless your talents include the ability to write, produce, and record your own soundtracks, you may have to settle for the vast amount of music already out there in the great land of "The iTunes Continuum." On that "note," I have seen several Christian fiction books where characters created songs and music within the context of the story. Then, in the back of that book, the author has placed the sheet music for those songs. What's next, a free music download from the author's website to play as you read the story?

Whatever you're writing and working on, be it something new or something you pulled out of storage, fill your writing environment with the music you enjoy and see what unfolds. What Christian tunes fill in the gaps and set the mood behind your characters' actions, lives, and thoughts. What if George Lucas would have been able to listen to the soundtrack to Star Wars before it was written, or if the creators of Superman could have been listening to the Superman movie theme as they were creating that colossal comic book superhero.

If you write to the sound of silence, the background noise of the local coffee shop, your favorite radio station, or one of the various tracks in your collection, use that music to fuel the engine that inspires you to create the stories that the Lord has placed upon your heart to tell. That music becomes the invisible notes that permeate your writing and fill the gaps between your lines.


  1. This post had to be reposted due to some technical issues. It is now posted under the correct person.

  2. Millie Samuelson said...
    Hey Darren -- do you have a website?? You aren't in our "list" and I like to know about the writers of Hoosier Ink. You must be a musician -- this piece is so musically written. Thanks! I myself write to "silence," with just occasional sounds from nature. :-)

  3. Sharon A. Lavy said...
    I figured out the site and found this post after all. Thanks.

  4. Sharon A. Lavy said...
    I read about different sounds for different genre and I would really like to know more about this. Songs with words clutter my mind when trying to write, but background noise or music. I would really like to know more about this.

    Another post?