Music, and when it blows your mind

I’ve already discussed briefly how important music is to me when I’m writing. I have folders of about 500 songs on iTunes from an assortment of sources – movies, video games, tv shows – that suit me well when I’m writing particular scenes. They’re orchestral, for the most part, scores and soundtracks, and only a few have vocals. It’s the music that makes your hair stand on end while watching a tense scene in a movie, or the peaceful melody you hear while wandering the countryside in your favourite video game.


On the left, you can see how my folders are laid out, according to the mood of the scene I’m writing. I also have a folder for Purity alone, which is filled with darker industrial music, like the Queen of the Damned worst movie ever but amazing music soundtrack and Marilyn Manson. Things that suit vampire stories.

But then there’s the other music. The ones you hear that are completely unrelated to how you write and yet mean everything when you relate it to your stories and characters. Maybe not everyone has experienced this yet, but I have, and I will say that it is an incredible feeling.

I had this just the other day, when I finally figured out how to put music on my phone after my iPod was stolen. Belting out in my car for the first time in ages felt amazing, so I put on Barton Hollow, the album by the Civil Wars, and just went hard.

One song in particular on the album really struck a chord with me this time around. I’ve listened to this album countless times and this has never jumped out at me until now. Maybe it’s because I’m currently so immersed in the world of Changeling, because I’m creating Aisling’s necklace, or whatever  – maybe I just hadn’t really paid enough attention before.

Poison & Wine perfectly describes the relationship between Aisling and Alistair.

Their relationship is complicated, but beautiful. They try their hardest to keep away from each other, when they know they’re just fighting what they truly want.

And the chorus describes it best: I don’t love you, but I always will.

It blew me away.

Similar to this is the way Momma Sed by Puscifer drastically effected the ending of Purity. This last rewrite completely changed the way the story ended in comparison to the last rewrites, and in the penultimate chapter, in the last 1000 words, I still didn’t know how I wanted it to end.

Momma Sed changed that, in a few simple words: This too shall pass.


Sometimes, it isn’t the music you expect that forces you to open your eyes. Momma Sed influenced how I finished a story; Poison & Wine perfectly described the relationship between my two favourite characters.

Has this happened to anyone else? I can’t possibly be unique in this respect.

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