Friday, January 7, 2011

Said Euterpe To Calliope

Wow, so I guess a lot of you spent some time thinking about Twitter, based on the response to my last post.  Thank you for all your thoughtful comments.  I'm not giving up on Twitter--I think I'll let it simmer on the back burner until I'm ready to exploit its full potential.  I'm thinking maybe after the next big writer's conference?  I'm not going to SCBWI this month, but I'll be there next summer when it's in my city, and I hope to see some of you there as well.

I've been listening to music this morning while I'm futzing around on the Internet.  I'm one of those people who has to write in absolute silence, but I like listening to music before I write to wind myself up, Eye Of The Tiger-style.  I'm not a super-hip, in-the-know musicophile--I haven't been since Kurt Cobain died--so I tend to go with what's playing on the radio.  Right now I'm digging the My Chemical Romance song, Sing.  I'm probably a fool to confess this, but it kind of reminds me of ~1999 Robbie Williams, and I don't think that's a bad thing.  There, I've done it, now you all know what a dork I am.

I like hearing about the different things that trigger a story idea for writers--dreams, ideas, conversation snippets.  I sometimes get triggered by a story in the news or an anecdote told by a friend, but often it's another medium in the arts--a photo or video or song.  There's a very brief scene in The Pacific that left an emotional impact that's really stuck with me and is currently coiling and expanding into a shiny new idea in the back of my head.

I think my biggest trigger, though, is music.  Here is a weird fact about me: loud music makes me cry.  I have zero control over this and often, when trying to talk to someone over a song, have to try to cover up the fact that I am choking up.  Beautiful lyrics are nice and all, but it's the emotional power of the music itself that takes me over, and for certain songs that will lead to a feeling and a scene and suddenly it's blossoming all over the place into a story.  My current WIP has a few songs that "belong" to it, and I listen to them over and over until I've pretty much drained them dry.

I wonder, does anyone else operate like this?  What are your story triggers?  And if you listen to music while writing, how in the world is that possible?


  1. I work the same way! Music is a trigger. It helps me form scenes and story lines. But I can't really listen to it while I write. It's more for brain storming and ideas. A great tool.

    And I'm not so sure about Twitter either. It's hard to kind of get started and there's so much going on, I get kind of overwhelmed. I'm trying to ease into it but it may not be for me!

  2. I'm not going to SCBWI this year, but am planning to go next year. Maybe we can meet up in 2012!

  3. Lisa - easing into it is definitely the way to go with Twitter, but I think it has huge potential as a networking tool...eventually :)

    Logan - Sounds great! I went last summer and *really* enjoyed it, so worthwhile. I am really looking forward to going again and knowing more than zero people next time!

  4. I love Sing! Or anything by MCR. I am a fangirl. But I really like the line where he says "girl you've got to be what tomorrow needs."

  5. Nice! I can see why you'd like that one ;) My biggest wind-up song is Butterflies and Hurricanes by Muse, but i think every writer loves Muse.

  6. Futzing! That's the best word I heard all day! I think music can shape who we are as writers. How many authors were inspired by music? I can name at least 6 best sellers. :P

  7. 6? The only one I can think of offhand is Stephenie Meyer and her Muse obsession.