Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Writing to Music by Author Libby Heily


Writing to Music by Author Libby Heily

I went to a very tiny college in Farmville, Virginia, which is exactly the thriving metropolis it’s name indicates. One day, while walking around my less than picturesque campus, I played classical music through my walkman (bare with me, I’m old.) It changed the way I viewed my familiar surroundings, making them seem more charming and grandiose in a way they definitely were not. I often think of that experience when someone asks me about what I listen to while I write.

Music has the power to transform our perceptions of the world around us and, I’m mostly guessing here, the worlds which we create while we clack away on our keyboards. In real life–aka, when I’m not writing–I listen to a lot of indie music and classic rock. My favorite station is the NC State college radio station because they play all varieties of music and a huge selection of lesser known bands. I love David Byrne and the Talking Heads, St Vincent, Simon and Garfunkel, The Strokes, Queen, Tom Waits is a recent love, The Rosebuds, IAmDynamite, Tow3rs, and many many others. But I rarely listen to any of that while I’m writing.

Lyrics tend to distract me. Anything that pulls me from the story has to be destroyed. Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but distractions should at least be avoided. For “Welcome to Sortilege Falls” I mostly depended on contemporary composers. Any soundscape that could be used as a soundtrack for dreams was my best friend. Right now, for instance, I’m listening to  “Thursday Afternoon” by Brian Eno. Philip Glass and John Luther Adams have also cycled through the system recently as have multiple classical composers.

An exception to this has been a playlist I found on Amazon Prime called “Coffee Shop Indie”. It features Foxygen, Feist, Neon Indian, Phantogram and more. There’s an eerie, dreamlike quality to most of the music that allows my brain to relax and fall into the story. There are lyrics, of course, but they all live safely in the “I’ve heard them over and over again but never bothered to memorize them” space in my head. I can’t really sing along but I can definitely tell you I’ve heard these songs a million times. Well, maybe not a million.


About The BookSixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather has just moved to Sortilege Falls and already she knows something isn't right. A small pack of teenage models, too beautiful for words, holds the town in their sway. The models have no plans on making Grape's life easy. But no matter how cruel they are to Grape and the other “Normals”, no one can stay angry with them for long.

Grape's life changes for the better, or so she thinks, when Mandy, the only “nice” model, befriends her. But that’s when the trouble truly begins. Mandy's friendship places Grape smack in the middle of a medical mystery that has the entire town on edge. One by one, the models fall ill from an incurable disease. Grape quickly realizes that the models' parents are hiding a secret, even as they watch their children die. To save her only friend, Grape will have to find the truth–and that means putting her life in danger.



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14 comments:

Cleo Bannister said...

Isn't funny how music taps into our lives in such different ways - the Coffee Shop Indie list sounds great.

Erika Sorocco said...

I love reading about the music that puts people in the zone to write. I once read that Meg Cabot listens to The Donnas on full-blast when she writes. Isn't that cray?!

xx

Libby Heily Author said...

Thanks for having me over!!!

Tracy Terry said...

Amazing the impact music can have on people. It always surprises me how well those with varying forms of dementia respond.

Great post, thank you.

Kindlemom said...

I do love how music has such impact on so many people and so many other artists in their own way.

Midnight Cowgirl said...

I love listening to movie soundtracks when I'm writing or just needing to relax :)

The Bibliophile Babe said...

Music has an amazing impact!

Joyous Reads said...

I have written short stories based on a song's lyrics, so I can relate. :)

Naomi Hop said...

My husband often tries to pull me from a good story, so at times I think he needs to be destroyed! lol Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Karen Alderman said...

I'm kind of add in that I find classical music distracting. I read with music in the background a lot. It's just background noise to me.

I keep getting those Amazon Prime reading playlists in my email but I haven't given them a try yet. Sounds like I would love the Coffee Shop one though.

Karen @For What It's Worth

Medeia Sharif said...

It's great to see Libby here. I also listen to indie and classic rock.

Jennifer Humphries said...

A walkman! I remember those :) Music is so very powerful. Nice to meet you Libby! Thanks for sharing your book here on Lauren's site. She always introduces me to something new I need to read!

Adriana Garcia said...

I think using music as inspiration can really help in the writing process but not when you are writing! I don't understand when writers can listen to music during their writing. It's a whole different story trying to pull you in. I do like the idea of listening to music without singing in it. Even if I listened to songs over and over if it has lyrics I'll be too drawn in. Good luck with you book!

kimbacaffeinate said...

Fantastic post and music is such a powerful and inspirational tool.