One of the biggest influences on my writing is music. Number one, I’m a lyrics girl. I appreciate good music, of course. But great lyrics can make up for so-so music. When a singer/songwriter writes and sings with emotion and feeling, it comes through. On the flip side, if the music is incredible, but the lyrics are crap, I’m out. Sorry. Maybe this is a reflection of my tastes in general. I’m a realist. I like reading about real people, imperfect people, living in the real world. That’s not to say I don’t like vampires and the like on occasion, but only when done well. A la Anne Rice. And in all honesty, Steven King is one of my all-time favorite writers. But when a band starts singing about vampires, and I mean cheesy, Stephenie Meyer vampires, I’m out. Hands down.
Number two. When I fall in love with a band, I fall hard. I mean I’ll listen to it exclusively until I totally wear myself out on it. The length of time depends on the band. When I run across a perfect storm of fantastic lyrics and great music, watch out. I’m all in. Obsession is probably a good word. I’ve listened to albums so much that my daughter (three and a half) will start singing along. It’s that bad.
Anyway, point is, good music that’s dripping with emotion, pain, betrayal, well, it’s infectious. Sometimes I form my characters based on a song, base their actions around it, and when I hear a song that’s a perfect fit for what I’m writing, I note it in the margins. Because surely my novels will be made into movies. And one of the conditions is that I get to do the soundtrack. Because my taste in music is enviable. I know bands you’ve never heard of, obscure bands that will blow your mind. I’m that guy. Pardon me while I drag myself around back and kick my own ass.
And sometimes the flow of my writing is influenced by the tone and rhythm of an entire album. It influences my style. It crawls into my head and haunts me so much that it shows up in everything.
I guess everyone’s writing is influenced by something. Music is a big part of my life, always has been. It’s my source of comfort. So it’s inevitable, I suppose.
I’d love to hear about what influences other writers.