Even in the days before iTunes and iPod, I listened to a specific movie soundtrack while working on a book. My first novel, Princess Charming, was written to the gorgeous music from Shakespeare in Love. My little Signet Regency, Her Perfect Earl, benefited from the wonderful soundtrack to Ang Lee and Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility. For some books, instrumental music works better. For others, I need some vocals. :)

Here are some of my other pairings:

Heavens To Betsy written to the soundtrack from Love Actually
Earth To Betsy and the Bridget Jones’ Diary soundtracks, 1 and 2.
The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society and Rachel Portman’s Because of Winn-Dixie
The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love and Kindred Spirits, a score from one of the Anne of Green Gables series

For Jane Austen Ruined My Life, I latched on to the soundtrack from Becoming Jane. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart combined the score from Last Chance Harvey and P.S. I Love You.

In the early days, I was more limited to what was on a given CD. Now I use my iPod to mix and match, so I can shake things up a little more. For my current work-in-progress, I have a mash-up of mellow singles and James Horner’s score from the movie Iris.

For me, ‘scoring’ a book provides a kind of Pavlovian conditioning. When I hear the music, I get the impulse to write that book. Even now, whenever I hear a snippet of the score from Shakespeare in Love as I’m channel surfing, I still get the urge to write about Nick and Lucy and their adventures!

What about you? For the writers out there, do you use music to help you write? Any recommendations?

3 Responses to “Every book has a soundtrack…”
  1. Rae Ann Parker says:

    I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do pick songs that I think of as the theme song for each book. I always thought that might be weird and maybe I shouldn’t admit that, but now I’m announcing it to the blogosphere. :) So when I listen to these “theme songs” on my iPod, it does make me want to go back to those books and write about the characters, again. Music and writing definitely go hand in hand.

  2. Christopher Gronlund says:

    I’ve never thought about associating soundtracks for movies similar to what I’m working on.

    It seems obvious, yet it never dawned on me.

    I tend to listen to classical music, ambient techno, 20s/30s jazz, or anything else that hovers in the background when writing.

    Now, though, I’ll have to mix and match some soundtracks on the iPod.

    Thank you for the suggestion!

  3. Roxanne says:

    I’ve created several playlists on Napster that evoke different moods while I’m writing. I am also a huge fan of play and movie soundtracks. I never considered listening to a movie soundtrack similar to my WIP while writing it. Brilliant concept. Can’t wait to try it.

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