It’s no secret that I get stuck in my writing sometimes. In fact I wrote about how I was stuck just a few weeks ago. Since getting out of that slump, I’ve returned to some of my older writing and in my reflections uncovered a few techniques I had long abandoned. One of these has been the helpfulness of cinematic music.
For me this typically means music from this youtube channel. I have compilations of soundtracks on my phone for 8 hours of uninterrupted soundtrack music. I have found this technique works a lot better for fantasy writing, but I have found some uses for it in more ‘realistic’ fiction.
I find listening to these soundtracks when I’m having a hard time writing incredibly helpful. It doesn’t always unstuck me for my current project, but it gives me the push and inspiration I need to write something—anything.
How do I do this exactly?
I start with a song. Preferably one of which I don’t know the name or source. It’s a lot easier to come up with ideas when there aren’t associations already attached to the music.
Then I listen. And I let the music form images in my head. I loosen my grip on my emotions and allow myself to feel what the composer was trying to get me to feel.
Sometimes I can just picture the scene laid out in front of me, and I can see it through a cinematic lens. I picture the camera moving, panning, racing over the landscape I see in my head. When the music crescendos, something has changed about the music and therefore about the scene in my head. It could be a castle that suddenly comes into view, or a cliff that drops off into a hidden oasis. Whatever I see, that’s what I write about.
Sometimes I don’t see a landscape, but rather I’m put into a characters shoes and view an event through their eyes. These kinds of scenes are typically highly emotional and help me to slow down and see what it is exactly about each moment in that scene that causes the emotional response I’m looking for.
There are three simple steps to finding your muse through music.
Step 1: Get rid of all distractions. Find somewhere where one is, close the door, turn off the lights, whatever it is, get alone and undistracted.
Step 2: Listen. Let the music take the wheel and allow whatever comes to mind come to mind. Let the music guide what you see, hear, and feel.
Step 3: Write it down. This can take any form you wish. It might be a scene, it might be a poem, it might be a description. Whatever it is, translate what you just heard into words.
Bonus Step 4: Ride that creative muse back into your project and keep going. Repeat Steps 1-3 when needed.
I find that this moment of letting go and combining so many of my senses is the creative push I need to continue writing. I’m essentially using words to describe what I hear in image form. I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty cool.
Tried this technique? Let me know how it went for you in the comments!
Tomorrow I will be releasing a tour of one of my favourite cinematic songs that helped me write my first book! Stay tuned!