TCWT: From Classical to Alternative – What Music Fuels Me?


Since I’ve never been late for a Teens Can Write, Too! post (though, I am sad to mar my record), I think we can let me off that I’m a day late on the schedule. And I’ll see what I can do with my busy bee status. And the irony is that this is one of my favourite prompts. I love the idea of links because music and writing. February’s blog chain prompt is “How does music relate to your writing?”

And, actually, the straight answer to that is extremely. Right off the bat, music relates so much to my writing, by the sheer fact that I ‘gave up’ writing music and lyrics to write books. Moving from one full-time hobby to another full-time hobby, as it were.

But how does music relate to my writing? As in – how is my writing affected by the types of music I listen to? I may be in the minority by not listening to music (with lyrics) as I write, as that throws me away from my mental prose, and I don’t tend to devise a playlist for my novels as some authors have done.* I don’t really feel that there are songs that completely accomplish what I need for writing scenes, characters, and settings; they are two different mediums, after all. We may be able to paint scene with words and with music, to depict emotions, feelings, and humanity through those, but they cannot be analogous.

Though, instead of a playlist, I think it would be quite fun to compile a hypothetical film soundtrack to a novel. But then, that’s me, and I work via visuals in my mind. To me, most of what I read and write is a film anyway.

Nevertheless, I do use music to help my writing. And that’s in editing. There’s something about having music running in the background that kick-starts my mind into writing and concentrating mode. In fact, I’m currently listening to Silent Movie by Frenchy and the Punk as I write this post. Before then, I’d been feeling in a slump, but now I feel like writing again. Of course, this wouldn’t be a post about music without me including some YouTube! This one’s the fun House of Cards ’cause there isn’t a video for Silent Movie on YouTube.

The thing is I couldn’t tell you what sort of genre of music most helps me edit. There are occasions where my music lingers into the classical – for who can resist at the call of Elgar and Vagner? Something dramatic. It’s likely I’ll be editing the fight and shouty scenes (and any other conflicts). There is nothing quite like the rousing organ and an entire or orchestral set to bring one’s writing and the exact set of what needs to be edited to mind. I don’t really have a favourite classical (as opposed to choral: Bach) composer. Anything than writing inspired goes.

Then you’ve got the atmospheric music. The alternate stuff. The tools of my trade: the steampunk** music.

This collection of steampunk songs that were my first dipping my toe into that region. Through them, I found Steam Powered Giraffe, fell in love, recovered from a broken mind, found myself, and, uh, fell in love.

It’s a long story.

There are a lot of good songs missing from this playlist, of course, but it has the ‘hits’ of the bigger bands (most of them US bands). And the original version of SPG’s Brass Goggles with soprano Upgrade. Abney Park are worth a further check out if you like the punk and heavier side of steampunk music. I have the pleasure of seeing them live next term.

**I am aware not every writer on the chain will know Steampunk, the alternative-history sub of SFF, but it wouldn’t be for me to explain it here. I’ve spoken about it before (I even have a category now!) and quoted various figures. Those of you who are Steampunks, do tell, so we can flail together.

*Except for Of Jackets and Phones, the playlist of which I created for its fifth birthday, and is embedded below.

In summary:

I don’t write to music, but I do edit to it, particularly if it’s something atmospheric like steampunk. I don’t have a favourite genre of music to do writing stuff to, and have been known to play from my speakers the craziness of alternative music, the grace of classical and jazz, and the typicalities of mainstream music.

This is such an interesting topic. It appeals to my Psychology degree, in that we can see through observation the types of behavioural and emotional changes that occur when listening to music, writing inspiration and progress (for me) being one of those behaviours. There have indeed been studies on the possible correlations between music and mood, not to mention that even listening to music can release endorphins (one of the ‘happy drugs’ or small-molecule neurotransmitters in our brains).

If you’re not a part of the blog chain, I’d say you should still read through the other days and see what other participants have said.

6th and





11th and


13th and


15th and

16th and

17th and

18th and



21st and

22nd and


24th and

25th <<you were here…yesterday>>

26th and

27th and

28th – (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

4 thoughts on “TCWT: From Classical to Alternative – What Music Fuels Me?

  1. Wow. I find it rather impressive that you actually switched your hobby; I’m not sure I could do that! Even so, the way you wrote about listening to music really intrigued me, because in some ways it resembled how I write to music, and in other ways it’s new and unique to you. I also like how you connected it to psychology—music molds the mind in interesting ways, no?

    1. Thanks. It kind of happened. I realised that I couldn’t do writing novels and writing music, so I had to choose, and, despite writing music being the one I did most of, I choose to write novels instead.
      That is intriguing. I guess we each have our own ways of taking in music and writing, so when they come together, there are so many different results!
      Oh, totally! There’s probably so much research out there about the psychology and physical effects of music. It’s amazing.

      Thanks for commenting, Heather! 🙂 I’m sorry I haven’t got around to reading many other bloggers musical posts, but February is the latter half of my 2nd academic term, so it’s sadly been filled with essays, reports, and working on campus.

  2. Funnily enough, I tend to listen to music more when I write than when I’m editing. It’s too easy to get distracted by notifications on my iPod when I’m editing. 😛 Editing is my least favorite part of the writing process, so I don’t usually try to hard to keep distractions away. I love alternative music, so I’m excited to check out these new artists!

    1. Oh, really?
      Editing is my least favourite part, too. So, whilst you try to distract yourself, I use music to try not to distract myself. If that makes sense 😛 😉
      Have fun listening! I love introducing people to Steampunk and alternative music. There’s actually a funny story in there about how I met my boyfriend: we met at a Steampunk convention when I saw someone cosplaying as The Spine from the band Steam Powered Giraffe, with which my boyfriend happened to be wandering around. As well as getting talking to the girl as I waited to take her photo, I also took his photo and started talking to him. Now he’s as addicted to the band as we are! 😀

Thoughts, comments, replies...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s