Saturday, July 7, 2012

Emotional Creature, Kevin Hearne talks music and writing

As emotional creatures (unlike, say, the Weeping Angels), we are influenced by music and, to some extent, driven by it. The argument that a single artist or song can make a person commit bunnycide or something else terrible is ridiculous—the capacity to commit bunnycide is a preexisting condition—but it’s probably not so ridiculous to state that some songs might put you “in the mood” to pursue certain behaviors over others. If you are inclined to bang your head, Pantera is far more likely to spark such behavior than the musical stylings of James Taylor.
Looking at it the other way, there are some behaviors I simply cannot consider if certain songs are playing in the background. I cannot wash dishes while listening to “Let’s Get It On,” for example. It would ruin both dishwashing and getting it on for me.
Likewise, my writing is influenced, for good or ill, by whatever music might be playing in the background.
Typically I’m fond of instrumentals because the words of lyrics can and do impinge on my subconsciousness, replacing my normal word choice with those of a wee skinny lad with obscenely tight pants. But once in a while I rock the hell out because I need the aggression to write fight scenes and make all the inside bits go ’splody and become red chunky outside bits.
The best example I can provide is what I do when I need to write a fight scene. I’m not much of a fighter. Like, I can wrestle a marshmallow into submission. Scrambled eggs don’t stand a chance with me. But real dudes? I don’t want to think about it. Unless, of course, I’ve got some heavy metal playing. Speed metal stuff. Megadeth, DragonForce, that kind of thing. Play enough of that with the knob turned up to 11 and you’ll pull out your hand-and-a-half bastard sword and get medieval on someone. And if you don’t have any medieval weapons handy, you’ll find yourself surfing the net looking for double-bladed axes and drinking horns and maybe a nice set of boiled leather armor.
Music helps me tap the emotions I need my characters to feel—and so I play it.

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