Inspired by Melody

25 Oct

Something you’ll learn about me quickly if you spend more than about an hour with me: I adore music. It’s more than that even: I can’t exist without music. It’s a function of my existence as natural and necessary as breathing in and out, and I end up in one hell of a mess if I don’t have a constant stream of tunes running from my iPod to my ears.

Logic therefore dictates that when it comes to writing, the music I choose becomes part of the story for me. I weave the words around the music, find myself inspired with the simplest melody. I’ve had entire novels, entire worlds come into being based around a single artist, a single album, a single song.

Don’t think I’m joking either. My webcomic, Thursday’s Child, is inspired primarily by the music of The Hold Steady. In college my friend and I worked on a story together based on the concepts in Korn’s album See You On the Other Side. The entirety of the second book of the Undertaker series I’m working on now materialized in my head while I was listening to Nine Inch Nails’ The Collector off of the With Teeth album.

Sometimes it inspires a moment. Other times it brings a character to life. My main character Ali was closed off and unwilling to so much as peep at me (not good for a book written in the 1st person) until I discovered the song Loves Me Not by t.A.T.u. Her brother Mark comes from the song Take a Bow by Muse. Sometimes a song inspires nothing or no one in particular but it speaks to me in some other way relevant to the story. In this way a lot of songs about zombies have crept into my playlists lately.

Thus, I decided I’d write out my current playlist for The Undertaker Chronicles. All of the songs should be easily hunted down via youtube/grooveshark/spotify/iTunes, and I use a combo of all four while writing. I will most likely add things during the course of the writing process, but this is where it is now:

1. Puscifer – ‘Tiny Monsters’
2. A Perfect Circle – ‘The Outsider’
3. A Perfect Circle – ‘Passive’
4. Puscifer – ‘Sour Grapes’
5. Zeromancer – ‘Doctor Online’
6. Rob Zombie – ‘Living Dead Girl’
7. Puscifer – ‘Conditions of My Parole’
8. Nine Inch Nails – ‘The Collector’
9. Marilyn Manson – ‘Tainted Love’
10. Nine Inch Nails – ‘Somewhat Damaged’
11. AFI – ‘Miseria Cantata: The Beginning’
12. Nine Inch Nails – ‘Deep’
13. Kamelot – ‘Ghost Opera’
14. Puscifer – ‘Toma’
15. Muse – ‘Take a Bow’
16. Nine Inch Nails – ‘The Perfect Drug’
17. Depeche Mode – ‘A Pain that I’m Used To’
18. Puscifer – ‘The Undertaker (Renholder Mix)
19. t.A.T.u. – ‘Loves Me Not’
20. Blaqk Audio – ‘Stiff Kittens’
21. Natalia Kills – ‘Zombie’
22. t.A.T.u. and Rammstein – ‘Odno I To Zhe’
23. AFI – ‘Medicate’


In defense of my lack of variety, Puscifer’s most recent album released last week and it buried itself in my brain.


What music do you listen to when you write, if any? Anything inspire an upcoming novel? Feel free to share in the comments.



3 Responses to “Inspired by Melody”

  1. aarongraham October 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    I typically will have a scene and associate that with either a song, or a part of a song. Reciently I have used the soundtrack to Romeo and Juliet (1996) and the tracks of O Verona and “Kissing You” as inspiration while I’m writing.

  2. craig October 26, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    Thank you. I use to believe what I thought of others thoughts was not original thought and unworthy of recording. How fuzzy is the line between inspiration and theft? Again, thank you. You are inspiring.

    • theinsomniakid October 27, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

      I definitely agree it’s a fuzzy line, but in a world where it’s hard to find anything ‘original’ the line between inspiration and theft is simply credit. If you’re directly using the lyrics of a song in a book, you must credit it. I don’t know if it extends so far as needing permission to use the lyrics in a book, but as for inspiration credit is unnecessary from what I’ve seen. Some authors mention their musical inspirations in their acknowledgement pages. This is what I do for my comic. Also, my comic is not-for-profit, which is another huge part of this issue.

      So in brief :p , the line is a matter of credit where credit is due, and inspiration from music is no more theft than any other inspiration out there.


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