There are so many books inspired by music, I cannot even start to list them. But, because I’m very fond of lists, I’m going to set out some of the ways that inspiration can be channelled into writing. Ready?
1. A genre of music – What do you like to unwind to? Rock? Gospel? Pop? Classical? ‘The Great Gatsby’ is set in the jazz age, and the recently released ‘The Last Days of Disco’ by David F. Ross is about… Well, I’m sure you can work that one out.
2. A particular ‘tune’ – There’s that memory that smashes into your brain when a song you haven’t heard in years comes on. It’s linked to a different time, emotions, friendships etc. Go to Spotify and pick an old playlist. Better yet, revisit defunct technology: turn on your iPod, dust off your old CDs, scan your mini-Discs or excavate your mix tapes.
3. Lyrics – Actually listen to (or read off) the lyrics of an old favourite. You may be surprised (see, for example, http://mashable.com/2014/01/25/dark-90s-songs/ ). Channel that surprise. Alternatively, take today’s no.1 hit and jot down the refrain. Now set a story to it.
4. Titles – Song titles have been used as book titles, chapter headings, character names and setting locations. If it worked for Grey’s Anatomy…
5. Video clips – Most music from the last few decades (including some classical), have a video attached. The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ has stuck with me over the years. Where is he going? And will he ever get there?
6. Radio presenters – There are some very sexy voices out there. And some annoying and high-pitched screeches. And people that think they’re funny when they’re not. Stuck for a new character? The possibilities are endless.
7. Documentaries – If you want to go deeper, there’s always the stories behind the music. Reginald D. Hunter’s Songs of the South come to mind. Become immersed in a foreign or familiar culture. And use it.
There. That’s enough to get you started. And if inspiration still fails to strike, you still would have enjoyed some music along the way. Waste not, want not…