My Pilot Light Has Gone Out

Just a few minutes ago, I was writing a different post than this one.  The title sounded good and I thought the idea was sound, but as I wrote and wrote, I realized that I just didn’t have zest and gusto to continue writing it.  So, maybe another day.

This is one of those days when I don’t want to do anything except watch movies and read books.  It was a beautiful Spring day outside and I spent a little time outside enjoying it and even mowing part of my back yard.  But try as I might, I just couldn’t find any words to write.  That is, any words that I wanted to write.

Oh, ideas came to me.  Lots of ideas.  But I couldn’t follow through on them.  Maybe my subject matter was too big and my canvas (my computer screen) too small.  Whatever the  reason, I decided to trash the last blog.

Then, as I decided to sit and complain to my few readers, the thought came to me, “You’re probably not listening to the right kind of music.”  I thought, “What does that matter?  I always listen to soft jazz or something soft and classical so that when write I don’t let my words run away from me.”   But the thought persisted.  It said, “Try something else.  How about something by composer John Williams, like, say the music from the ‘Desert Chase’ in Raiders of the Lost Ark?”  And here I am, listening to Indiana Jones trying to recapture the Lost of Ark of the Covenant while writing my blog and watching my fingers burn through my keyboard and the words blaze across my screen!

So the music does matter.

I have an eclectic taste in music.  I like and enjoy practically all of it.  I like movie soundtracks the most.  I listen to Marco Beltrami’s soundtracks: World War Z, The Hurt Locker, Fantastic 4 (the more recent film version), The Hurt Locker, Soul Surfer, The Woman in Black: I, Robot, and much more.  I also listen to Junkie XL: Divergent and The 300: Rise of an Empire.  I have dozens, if not hundred of different film composers and selected works of theirs on my Itunes.  And classical composers, such Chopin, Saint-Saens, Elgar, Wagner, Puccini, Brahms, et cetera.  I also enjoy rock.  Elvis, Little Richard,  The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, so many groups and so little time.

And that’s only a tiny start.  Naming all the groups, all the musicians, all the singers (I gotta mention Frank Sinatra) would take thousands upon thousands of lines.  Each and everyone of them provide just the right background music for the right scene.

For instance, James Newton Howard’s score to “The Happening” was just eerie enough for me to listen to it while I wrote a recently publish ebook of mine entitled, CHAOS COMPANY (you can find it on Amazon) where two of my characters were wandering around a deserted and demolished city, trying to find their way back home while surrounded by aliens who wanted to kill them.  This particular soundtrack set the mood for me.  It was soft and quiet and creepy.  Did I mention it was creepy?  Or eerie?

Their weapons were knives, while the aliens sported weapons that could vaporize them.  How do you defend yourself against something that wants to kill you just because you exist?  (And as a writer, how do you create the mood for yourself, as well as your readers?)

Well, you have to find whatever makes that mood more real to you.  You could write in a dark room, in the black of night.  You could drink cold drinks until you have to pee and then keep writing until you really have to pee and then write some more until can’t you can’t wait any longer.  You could put a bug down your back.  You could watch horror movies before writing, so that you’re properly creeped-out.  You could put ice down your back.  You could listen to sound effects of doors creaking open or listen to recordings of people screaming.

All of those have worked for various authors, but not for me.  It’s the music that matters.

Well, the music has gone from exciting to creepy and so, since I want to eat my dinner and watch a recording of The Flash, I’m ending here.

What sets the mood for you when you’re writing?

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