Imagine you’re listening to a song and suddenly, right before your eyes, some of your original characters begin singing it or dancing to it. Sort of like a musical. Well, this is what happens in my head every time I hear a song appropriate for my own novel characters (and sometimes my roleplay characters too!) It’s one of those very strange things about me. Free music videos in my head, yay!
But why is music so enticing for me and various other writers as well? Well, it can express the personality of a character through song. You can also potentially hear the voice of your character through music, though singing voices are typically different than speaking. Still, hearing a song and saying, “Hey, that’s what my character sounds like!” is tons of fun.
I’m someone that tends to have multiple songs for characters or ships. In fact, I have a playlist for my story, which I’ve seen other writers have as well. Of course, people wouldn’t know the context of some songs, and I’d have to explain in depth. Perhaps I’ll do so with some of my themesongs in another blog post, but that’d be more for the benefit of my readerbase, which I still have to build.
Sometimes, a song actually inspires the creation or backstory of a character for me. Not even the original, either! Chase Holfelder for example does tons of “minor key” covers of songs that I enjoy (highly recommend checking out his music by the way). One of his covers, House of the Rising Sun, inspired my character Ernest from my Cobratongue University series. Not just the lyrics, but the sound of the song itself–its haunting, sad melody ended up forming a backstory for him in my mind. In addition, his cover of Kiss the Girl inspired a major scene in the second book of my Vampire Wars series.
Sometimes there’s songs that fit for my character but are sung by someone of a different gender. Which still fits, of course! But I like imagining my character singing it, so at least having somewhat of a voice match makes me ecstatic. I found a woman that does amazing covers of various songs, and her name is J.Fla. A great example of her work is her cover of Natural by Imagine Dragons. I’ve been able to expand my playlist like crazy by finding some of these covers, and it makes me so happy.
I write to music sometimes, as well. It helps my muse for sure, especially during some heavy action scenes. Sadly I falter and delay a bit when I write “slice of life stuff”, even though in a paranormal situation I actually kind of like reading it, depending on how well a writer can do it. For some reason those slower scenes make me take much longer. Music can sometimes help with that, of course.
One day, if I ever actually make it with my series, I want to potentially purchase the services of an animator and create a music video for my story. It sounds crazy ambitious, about as crazy as an animated web series or something, but hey, it’s a dream! A dream’s a dream no matter how unreachable, eh?
I highly recommend writers at least consider making a playlist if they haven’t already. It could spark some inspiration or help you write, after all. Expanding past the usual genre you listen to can also help–and I’m not saying to force yourself to listen to songs you dislike. But I, for example, have found some music that isn’t mainstream in my travels, like “Killer Inside of Me” which has a great sound and fits one of my characters (Goliath) perfectly.
You never know what you can find on your search for a song!