This quote from Aaron Sorkin has had me thinking over the past few days about my own writing. Looking back, a lot of write I write is just a mishmash of things I’ve snagged from some of my favourite writers, for both film and books.
Nothing is new under the sun, and we as writers may struggle to come up with “something new”. Chances are that’s not happening. There hasn’t been a totally original story in hundreds of years–all of them are in one form or another something that we’ve either heard or read elsewhere. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I encourge you to “steal” from your favorite writers. For the script I’m working on, I’ve been pulling through movies and shows like Supernatural, Constantine, Hellboy, and the Blade Trilogy . For my novel I’ve been re-reading all of my high fantasy books such as Eragon, Fool’s Gold, and The Nightangel Trilogy. I’ll take the things that I really like from those books and either alter them a little bit, or pull from other resources that may bnot even be related to my novel and make it my own.
That there should be the focus of writers. Let’s not focus so much on “writing something new”, but more so, “writing the story that we want to read”.
I’m always listening to something, almost no matter where Igo, especially if I’m walking log distances. Whether it be music or podcasts, having something in my ears helps my messy mind stay on track, otherwise, it floats away like the kid who lost their balloon at the carnival.
So, it’s no surprise that I listen to music when I write. Music does three things for me when I sit down to spin stories.
1.) Music Sets the Stage
I have MONTHS worth of music on my Spotify account–my longest and favourite being a whopping 240+ hours of music. Having such a vast library allows me to pick and chose a music playlist that best sets the mood of my story. For example! I’ve been writing short pieces for a YA novel I’ll write one day, and the natural overdrive I hear from groups like Skillet and Five Finger Death Punch, and the melodic and symbolic lyrics from Nightwish and Epica set the tone perfectly for this universe. The feeling of love, loss, and desperation rambles around in my head and channels what I feel from the music to fuel the emotion and mood of the story.
For the urban fantasy I’m writing–my biggest and most important project–I have a playlist of swing, electro-swing and modern swing. The slick, sexy sounds of an almost alternate 1920’s universe set the stage for the slick, sexy and upbeat universe of an urban fantasy.
2.) Music Inspires
I don’t have to be in front of a notebook or laptop to be fueled by music. Like I said, I’m messy-minded, and music molds my messy mind of mine (oh, look! An alliteration!) into something workable. Music inspires me. Be it classical, dubstep, melodic metal or gangster rap, music has the power to spark a new story in mind. I may have a small spark of an idea floating around somewhere, and a certain style of music clicks with that inkling of an idea, and a song can take it from there, giving the story life.
What about you? Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind of music do you listen to?
“She is the beginning of new life, baby flower in the spring
The symphonic tune of summer that makes the world sing
She is autumn leaves dancing, illuminated by evening light
All assuring warmth, through a harsh winter’s night
The beauty in changing seasons is what I think of
When I stare up at the sky and ponder the woman that I love”
One of the most fulfilling and beautiful things about being a writer, is perhaps our ability to craft the most amazing tales of poems from the strange and wonderful world around us.
The above poem, dear readr was inpsired by a woman that I love very much. In fact, it is her that inspired poetry writing in me, but that is another tale for another occasion.
She is the well of life in which that poem spring from. She is the source. She is, my muse.
Many of us creative types are inspired by the amazing people around us. Throughout history, they have breathed creative life into our lungs, that would drive us to create our best work.
Patti Smith was muse to Robert Mapplethorpe–but oddly enough his photography was her muse as well.
Camille Claudel–sculptor and mistress of sculptor Auguste Rodin–a “revolt against nature; a woman genius”.
And let us not forget “youthquaker” and “it” girl Edie Sedgick–muse to oddball extrordinaire Andy Warhol–filmed shopping for clothes or smoking cigarettes.
We all are inspired by the wonderful, amazing and beautiful people that surrounds our day today lives. Whether total strangers, friends or lovers. There is–there CAN–be someone in your life that inspires you to create amazing, fantastich art. All because they are in your life. Thus dear writer, value your friendships and relationships. Build bonds with amazing and strange and wonderful people. You never know who will inspire a great work within you…