Welcome to Liz Johnson!!! She is one of the new members of the thoughtsonplot team. Follow with us this week and meet each of the new team members. Comment and be ready to answer questions about this week’s launch posts for your chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
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As I sat down to write this blog post over my lunch break at work, I plugged in my earbuds, turned on the soundtrack for Pacific Rim, and began typing. All of a sudden, one of my coworkers in the next cubicle row over came to my desk and said, “Is that you? Are you the one making all the noise?”
I pulled out my earbuds, and my face turned beet red.
It turns out my music was blaring across the entire office floor, and I only thought it was coming through my earbuds. I hadn’t plugged them in all the way, and my little laptop speakers were doing their best to serenade the whole building. Oops!
I tell you that story, not only because it’s indicative of my life in general, but also because I think it’s a good illustration of our personal reactions to music. To me, the haunting strings and techno-orchestra from the movie Pacific Rim are beautiful and tension building. As the tension in this soundtrack builds, my insides wind tighter and tighter. I feel it deep within, and I love it.
To my coworker, Kay, it’s nothing more than noise.
That’s why I’ve begun taking recommendations for the music I listen to while writing with a grain of salt (and not being offended when someone doesn’t like a recommendation I may offer). The response to writing music is as varied as the writers themselves. For many, the music can’t have lyrics. For others, words don’t matter. For some, the words are the most important part.
I’ve discovered that the music in the background has to put me in the right mood for the scene I’m working on. Pacific Rim is my go-to for the tension-filled scenes in my Love Inspired Suspense books. In fact, I got a little carried away by the explosive clash of metal while writing my December release, Navy SEAL Noel, and I ended up with a climactic scene that had one reader telling me she almost had to put the book down. But I think that’s one of the points in a suspense novel—to have your reader so nervous for your characters that they feel that tension deep inside themselves. And the music helped me do just that.
But as a romance author, not every scene I write has that same fear-of-death suspense. Some scenes have a more subtle tension. And I have go-tos for that, too. Like the group Needtobreathe. Their Southern charm and soothing harmonies leave me feeling whimsical and like anything is possible. So inevitably, my characters discover that with God all things are possible.
I really have only two rules for choosing my writing music.
- Choose a piece of music that makes me feel something.
- Match that feeling with what needs to show up on the page.
But I suppose that every author has their own rules for writing music. And I suppose there are even authors out there who don’t write with the aid of some background tunes. But to me that silence would just be too noisy.
What’s your favorite piece of music and how does it make you feel?
P.S. I’m so happy to be joining some of my very favorite writers on this blogging adventure. Michelle, Patricia, Jessica, and Jill are incredible women and amazing authors. What a joy it is to share a few minutes with them and you!