This Month’s Writing Tip: Music to a Writer’s Ears

Writing fiction inevitably involves building a whole new world or setting for your characters and story.

Vivid world building of course is critical for genres like fantasy and sci-fi, but it’s just as important for stories set in contemporary, familiar or modern settings.

You want to create a setting and characters that a reader can clearly picture in their mind and invest in.

It’s the writer’s job to give just the right amount of details and little touches that make that world real and engaging. And this starts with the writer immersing themselves in the world they are creating.

One of the ways I like to get in the mind of my characters, and the time and place my story is set in is to use music.

I ask myself several questions:

  • What kind of music would my main character like and listen to?
  • What music is specific to the time period or place the story is set?
  • Are there particular songs that give a certain feeling or relate to a theme that is relevant to my story?

For my medieval fantasy series I was drawn to folk songs and dramatic orchestral songs like the theme to Game of Thrones.

Once I know what kind of songs are relevant to my story I look for or create relevant playlists in Spotify. You’d be surprised what playlists already exist. I typed ‘fantasy’ as a search term into Spotify and found a bunch of fantasy film and novel inspired playlists.

I usually end up with about half a dozen playlists that I then listen to whenever I am working on that particular book.

I find it a super easy way to connect myself to the world I am writing about and it might just work for you too.

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