Darcy Town Discusses Music and Writing

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It’s my pleasure to have Darcy Town on the blog today. Darcy describes herself as a Sci-Fi Fantasy Geek. She’s a consultant, by profession and an indie author who enjoys dark humor. Darcy will share with us how music impacts her writing, a subject most of us can relate to, so without further ado…

Music and Writing – The Importance of Having a Soundtrack

Darcy Town, Author
You think soundtrack and you might think movies, but I think soundtrack and I think books.  Music has been a large part of my writing since…well, I can’t even remember when I started selecting songs for scene creation.  I collect (and like) songs that I can picture going to a scene, whether in my current novel or some half-baked idea that I haven’t started to take notes for.  I’m always building, editing, and listening to book music.  It’s the only thing on my Zune.

I also select music for characters and their themes.  I like to have three to five songs that describe some aspect of a character, or a relationship between two or more characters.  I use these songs to remind myself that yeah, this is what this character is all about.  If I’m feeling uninspired or stuck on a scene, I’ll turn my music on, sit back, and see where the song takes me.  My wildest and most offbeat tangents have come due to some melodies.  Without the music, my stories and characters might be completely different than they are today.

So, long and short of it, I listen to book music on the bus, during lunch, while I workout, zone out, etc.  There’s only one time I do not listen to music.  And that’s while writing.  I know some writers listen to music while they write to get them in the right mood…but music is a brain altering drug and I know my readers won’t be listening to a song (or at least not to my song) at the point that they read, so I cannot write under the influence.  I have to know that my scenes, characters, and dialogue can stand on their own and give the emotional impact that I desire, without the bolstering of notes and lyrics.

I’ve been asked if I have music that I enjoy separately from my book music.  The answer to that is no, they are intertwined.  If I cannot picture it with a scene, then I don’t like it.  That both broadens and shrinks my musical tastes in interesting ways.  I’ll always give something a try when it’s suggested to me; after all I may find the next best song for my new character and that can absolutely make my day.

I felt like I should end this by listing a few of the songs that I utilized for my series. A larger list is on my blog, but here’s a shortlist.

Click to go to Blurb
Wastes Series:
Slam by Pendulum
9 Crimes by Damien Rice
Becoming Insane by Infected Mushroom
Space Dementia by Muse
Apply by Glasser
A Sight to Behold by Devendra Banhart  and
Howl by Florence and the Machine.

Click to go to Blurb

Morningstar Trilogy:
The Way You Are by Ingrid Michaelson
The Operation by Charlotte Gainsbourg
You Did a Good Thing by Sleepthief
Lust by The Raveonettes
Fallen by Delerium
Intervention by Arcade Fire
 The Con by Tegan and Sara

You can find more information about my writing and musical choices over on: http://navigatorsanddemons.wordpress.com/

See a listing of Darcy’s books on Goodreads


  1. Darcy, thanks for being here today. I know that certain songs help create a great atmosphere for our stories, but like you I find music very distracting while writing. For me, way more singing goes on than writing. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing, Darcy.

    I've never thought about shaping any of my characters with a song, but I've listened to songs to shape the atmosphere in my writing.

  3. Very interesting. I never listen to music when I write, but I Iove to fill the house with it when I'm doing anything else. It's inspiring and calming and exciting. It can create any atmosphere I need--just not when I'm actually inside my head and imagining a different world, then trying to put that into words. We are all so different, and that's what's fascinating about reading how others create their stories. Thanks for the interview.

  4. Hi Darcy! I love music while writing and even reading also! Great source of inspiration!

  5. You're welcome! I really enjoyed the chance to write about this topic. :)

  6. I only really listen to music when I edit. When I'm writing, it's too much of a distraction.

  7. HOw cooL! I do listen to some particular instrumental music when I'm writing. I find that it gets me in the mood:)

  8. Sometimes I listen, sometimes not. I get what you mean about music forming images and feelings of characters and story. That happens to me, but so far not in a usable way. It's instantaneous and fleeting. I've never been able to capture it.

  9. I love music but not when I'm writing. I like it to be nice and quiet. But I like to think of selections to go with scenes when they're written.


  10. I don't listen to music when I'm editing, but will when I'm drafting and revising. I'm drafting two WIPs this month and one is dark and one is light-hearted. I switch the tunes to fit the tone of the novel.

  11. I started listening to music to drown out my family so I could write. With three boys, a dog, two cats, and a husband it became a necessity.

  12. I will listen to music when I'm proofing, but not doing re-write type stuff.
    @Ciara, I can understand that. I happen to have a pretty noiseless environment at the moment (the noisy dogs are kept upstairs and I write downstairs at the opposite end of the house :) ).

  13. I’ve always enjoyed using music to help set or alter the mood as I write. It can make such a difference, often sending my thoughts tripping down a creative road I hadn’t expected. Music helps me to imagine the visuals of characters or scenes, like a movie inside my head. While there are vocals I love and use for inspiration, I can’t listen to them as I write. If I have music on while writing it must be instrumental only. Even then, it sometimes gets too distracting because I get caught up in singing or humming along and pull myself right out of the story.

  14. I listen to music often when writing. I;ve learned to write in silence and with lots of noise. I often have YouTube playing live performances while writing.

  15. @Susan, I know what you mean. I'll start daydreaming the scenes instead of writing them down. Plus I'll tend to rush to get the pacing of the story to go with the music and that isn't always a good thing. ;)

  16. I'm a huge fan of listening to music while I write, and I like the music to fit what I'm writing. I know some people find it distracting, but not me. =D

  17. I use music as a writing tool, as well. But I am the opposite. I create a soundtrack for a novel, but only listen to it when I'm writing, editing, proofing, revising. Sometimes I have to stop and sing along, but that's one of the "pitfalls" of the occupation :-)

  18. Thanks to everybody for dropping in and commenting and thanks to Darcy for sharing her writing process and how music impacts her writing.


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