Every writer has different techniques that inspires them to write their stories. I have realized that I’m soundtrack-driven. That means that when I listen to a particularly interesting song I imagine a scene of a story playing out as the music plays, just like a soundtrack in a movie. Then I feel compelled to put that scene to paper and to work out what happened before to bring that scene about and what happened after.
I wrote “The Left Hand of Light” this way. It started with a single song, called “Sweet Lullaby (Ambient Mix)” by Deep Forest.
I listened to this song–literally–over and over again for hours as the climatic battle scene played out in my mind. I recall a trip I drove to Las Vegas and this was the only song I played the entire way home. Sweet Lullaby inspired not only the epic battle between the Light and the Darkness but also the song that the blind shaman Afunakwa sings to Michael through the silver string that connects Jaylina to her soul during his darkest hour. There’s just something about this song that makes me feel we are all connected, those of us here alive in the universe and those that have already crossed to the other side.
Another great song, Crayon Dreams, by Stian Stark, was the inspiration for the scene where Jaylina meets her never-born son for the first time in Otherworld. Its hard for me not to get emotional (damn it!) when I read that scene while this music plays. Crayon Dreams is a free download by the way, and I suggest everyone add it to their playlist.
Lastly, from the same soundtrack on the Crayon Physics Deluxe game, I found Lullaby, by _ghost. This is another free download that inspired the scenes where Jaylina explores the astral plane with Michael and Martin Clayhous Martin for the first time, and really almost every scene in the astral plane.
Good writers use whatever inspires them to create. Music works for me. I especially love ethereal music without words, or in languages I can’t understand. It keeps my mind open and the ideas moving. What works for you?