I often find with my writing that mood dictates everything. Whether it’s any good, whether it develops the story or if it’s just nonsensical rubbish that drips down the page.
I realised that what music I was listening to when writing affected my mood also, I always write whilst listening to music; just to shut the outside world off. In the beginning I never really thought about mood or types of music but the reality is I built up playlists on my iTunes specifically for writing.
For the Government Rain Mysteries I compiled a list of meaningful and sombre music that really helped me engaged with the dire situation of my characters - yes Dire Straits classic Sultans of Swing was in there.
Other great names like The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix to name but a few. By the time I got to about 80,000 words of the book I had a playlist of about 40 songs that I listened to religiously throughout the process.
A bit repetitive I know, and boring too I know, but it really helped me plug back into the characters. That whole memory muscle kicking in, ‘Oh last time I listened to that, I was writing about Reinhardt or Isaac.’ And then bang, straight back into the mood the characters were putting me in.
Throughout Government Rain I almost exclusively listened through headphones. Beats do an amazing job at cancelling out annoyingly loud train goers! I did this because it really helped me zone out from reality and zone into the world that I was creating for Government Rain.
Rather aptly, or stating the bleeding obvious, from my point of view several of the songs on the playlist have a real connection to the world I was building, at least in a lyrical sense if not more.
Gimme Shelter, by The Rolling Stones, is my favourite ever song, I mean ever and rather conveniently resonates directly with the content I was working on.
Another, Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix actually helped me build Isaac’s character. In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins helped with the overall feeling that something really was on the cusp throughout the entirety of the book, right up until it all explodes into life, kind of like the song.
Anyways, my long drawn out point is that music can help you build characters, worlds and ideas alike. Embrace it, think about what works for you. If you want to be in a good mood to write your comedy, then whack on some cheese. If you need upbeat and fast, get the dance music out. The options are limitless and there is no right or wrong answer.
In case it’s of interest, or of use, here’s my list for Government Rain: