Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ask the Authors: Thursday

Welcome back to “ask the authors week.” This week we will pose five questions to our contributors, and you’ll find their varied answers to a single question each day.

If you have questions you’d like us to ask during a future “Ask the Authors” week, send it to As always, thanks for joining us!

Silence or music—which do you prefer to write by? And if music, what type?

Silence. Once in a while I've had music on but then it's instrumental, related to the story (celtic harp; German bands, etc)—Jane Kirkpatrick

Silence. I love silence. However, there are certain types of music I listen to that put me in a writing mood. Movie soundtracks, mostly— John Williams, James Horner, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman. Then there is classical. Mahler. Wow. His Resurrection symphony, No. 2; and Hero symphony, No. 6. Wow. — Jack Cavanaugh

Oh, I have to have music! Instrumental only. Classical music is too dynamic in range, so I prefer fairly mellow, moody soundtracks or Celtic music. I have an extensive list of writing music on my Web site, if you care to take a look... --Liz Curtis Higgs

I have music on all the time--except when I'm writing. I tend to get too involved in the music and let it distract me, so my office is dead-quiet. However, I do have certain kinds of music to "think by" and "plot by." Almost always movie soundtracks, classical or Celtic. -BJ Hoff

Absolute silence. My pea brain can’t handle competing noises. Music—never. I’m too into it. I’d end up humming, then singing, then seat-rocking, then getting up to dance. I’d have me a grand ol’ time, but the word count would be a mite meager. –Brandilyn Collins

For writing, absolute silence. When I edit, I listen to the CD’s currently in my player. They are titles like Healing Sanctuary and Sound Healing. I’ve listened to the Secret Garden CD’s until I wore them out. Music without lyrics. And good-smelling candles. –Patricia Hickman

I usually listen to music while I write, anything soft and instrumental, from "new age" to the classics. --Athol Dickson

Silence. I wish I wrote to music, but it distracts me most of the time. Everything distracts me, though. --Hannah Alexander

Both. Some days I'm more into the story and need concentration. Others I love to listen to classical or easy listening. –Lori Copeland

Give me music! Soundtracks or opera for writing, while anything goes for “busy work.” I love Secret Garden for writing, and Allison Kraus, Carly Simon, the Manhattan Transfer, and Renee Fleming for everything else. –Angela Hunt

Oh, music! I find I get so distracted by other things if I don't. Rock 'n Roll, baby, does the trick for me! My favorite right now, however, is a young Christian band from Baltimore called Unsearchable Riches. They are fabulous. Billy Joel always does the trick too. Also, in a different vein, I love west coast jazz. Vince Guaraldi is probably my all time favorite musical artist. –Lisa Samson

Music. Usually movie soundtracks without words. -- Robin Lee Hatcher

Music, definitely! But without lyrics. I'll often fit the music to what I'm writing. When writing Reunion, which focused on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, I played music that had wolves howling in the background. Whatever the music, it has to have some drive to it. I can't write to music that's too soothing. –Karen Ball

Since I write suspense, I love movie soundtracks that fit that mood. Such as "Road to Perdition" and the Hitchcock scores of Bernard Herrmann. I have a list of "mood tunes" that I'll listen to if I'm going to be writing a particular type of scene. For example, if I'm looking for a warmer feel, I've got the barn raising theme from "Witness" ready to go. And others like that. Oh, and to get in the mood to write I'll sometimes play the football practice theme from "Rudy" followed by the main theme to "The Magnificent Seven." –James Scott Bell

Music! I love writing to movie soundtracks (instrumental only, though, or I find myself typing lyrics instead of story!) Soundtracks seem to have just the right balance of fast-paced action/adventure rhythms and quiet, contemplative melodies. ––Deborah Raney


At 8:02 AM, Blogger Michael Ehret said...

I'm surprised at how many of you listen to music, but only instrumental. I want those lyrics pumping through my head! Especially from creative lyricists such as Sting, Bebo Norman, and Donna Summer (OK, so Donna's only for my fun, fast-opaced!)

Seriously, I have to have something going and I like words. But softly. Softly. Whispering words into my brain. Does it make my writing my lyrical? I don't know, but that wouldn't be bad.

In fact, Bebo's on right now ... but I'm at work, not at my writing desk.

Fun question. No Celtic for me, thank you very much...

At 8:20 AM, Blogger Carol Umberger said...

Closing the door to my office and turning on the CD player are part of my ritual for preparing to write. Music--insturmental only unless it's Gregorian Chant or Enya (who is difficult to understand)
--drowns out the background noise of the guy across the street and his leaf blower, or whatever else is going on in the neighbohood. Because I'm easily distracted, music gives me something to keep me focused during the quiet times when words aren't flowing but I need to daydream a scene for a few minutes. Without the music to keep me there, I would hear and answer the siren call of email. :(

I like Jim's idea of fitting music to the mood--I may have to give that a try.

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I should turn on some music. I have a tendency to hear the guy outside with the leaf blower and then write him into a scene.... ;)

Katy McKenna, who would DEFINITELY go with Celtic if she did turn on music!

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Southern-fried Fiction said...

Suspiciously missing from those soundtracks is Young Frankenstein. Now there is creativity waiting to spring on the unsuspecting!

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, silence. Wait, was that the refrigerator coming on?


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