Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Words and Music

Kelly Malloy had a great post the other day, asking what we listen to when we blog. It appealed to me because I often listen while I write, by necessity, not by choice.

Rock stars are the biggest influences on my fiction writing. I'm always trying to boil down my prose, to cut it, to hack, hack, hack, so that every remaining word is important to the story. Singers do this all the time. Songs are a hundred words each. My fiction comes in at over a hundred thousand words per book, and that's after I've ruthlessly edited.

I listen to a lot of songs while I write, but it's all research. I actually find it very difficult to write while I'm playing songs. I can either pay attention to the words on my screen, or pay attention to the words coming from my speakers, but I can't do both at the same time. Resist all Gerald Ford jokes.

Whether I'm listening for research or pleasure, however, the culprits remain the same: Springsteen, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. Sometimes, as I've previously posted, I need to reveal my inner badass. Instead of listening to hard rock, that's when I reach for outlaw country.

Since Kristofferson and Johnny Cash are both rock stars and outlaw country pioneers, I've got two right there (you can look up Johnny Cash in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if you don't believe me). Willie Nelson is too mellow, so Waylon Jennings has come up at least a dozen times during this novel. Once in a while, Hank Williams Jr. and Toby Keith make appearances.

Do you listen to anything while you're writing? Not while you're blogging-- I mean while you're working on a manuscript? If yes, what? Is there something consistent?

If you're reading this and you don't write, do you listen to music while you read? What do you listen to? I can't listen to anything while I read, but I've never been good at that kind of multi-tasking.

Some of you who check in here frequently without blogger accounts: you can post anonymously. I'm just curious about what you listen to, if you listen to anything while you're reading and writing.

Adam

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15 Comments:

Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin said...

Nothing. I try not to listen to anything. But I do listen to music in between writing or edits, while I'm taking a break, stretching, getting a snack, or a bathroom break.

10:06 PM, March 28, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

What kind of music?

Adam

9:32 AM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Kelly said...

I have music on all day long. Even at school. Currently streaming Kiss108 .... don't laugh, but I like the news breaks. I have been listening to Mike streaming but I needed a change up.
When I write I have music on the lap top but 9 times out of 10 I have to turn down the volume to concentrate.
When I'm doing my thinking (walking on the treadmill at the gym) I have whatever music motivates me to keep on walking. Sometimes it will work into the thought process, but unless I've got a specific song that has the mood, then the short answer to the long post is no.

10:17 AM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

Mike is a fun station because you never know what you're going to get.

Adam

11:19 AM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

It depends. Sometimes if I need inspiration, I'll put on music I think goes with what I'm writing. With HINDSIGHT it was all happy sixties pop kind of stuff. There's another novel when I played a lot of medieval Italian stuff. Another during which I played a lot of alternative music.

Haven't decided on stuff for the new one yet. Nothing quite seems to fit.

1:38 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

Thanks, M.G.

Cool post.

Adam

1:53 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger E. Ann Bardawill said...

Peter Gabriel, Loreena McKennitt or just classical stuff.

If the TV's on I can't write a thing. it's too damn distracting.

1:53 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

I can't do TV either, E. Ann.

I also can't do classical. I need words in the songs.

Adam

1:56 PM, March 29, 2006  
Anonymous jamie ford said...

Lately I haven't been listening to anything. Music. Dogs barking to be let out. Smoke detectors. ATF agents breaking down my door.

I've been in my quiet happy place.

Sometimes I do listen to music while I write. But it's usually just a massive mix of everything in my iTunes folder.

1:57 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

Lucky you, Jamie, for having a quiet happy place.

Adam

2:10 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Mark Pettus said...

I listen to the refrigerator hum.

I prefer quiet when I write, and since lately I seem to be writing from sun-up to midnight, I need a lot of quiet time.

Sometimes at the office, I'll listen to the police scanner... if you want to drive yourself insane, buy one of those jewels and put it next to your monitor.

2:47 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

A scanner? I think I need one of those. Reminds me of growing up, and visits to my grandparents

2:55 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Kelly said...

tv is waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too much of a distraction.

8:08 AM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

I definitely can't write with the TV on. Music is hard enough, for research purposes only.

Adam

10:05 AM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin said...

What kind of music?

Don't laugh...

Movie or Musical soundtracks. I've got Rent and Mamma Mia in computer right now.

1:28 PM, March 30, 2006  

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