Batten down the hatches, amygdala!

Batten down the hatches, amygdala!

by Joe Torres

Madonna quoteMusic is one of my greatest allies in the war against lack of creativity. I have plenty of ideas, most of which are terrible, but music helps me really focus on creating. I can really shape a writing session based on the music I decide to play. It’s even reached the point that as I’m writing, if I don’t have the right music on I feel completely stuck. Heck, there are even times when I’m driving down the road and a song comes on that makes me think and start planning a chapter or a character interaction.

Music is the catalyst for so many of my favorite days as an author. I use it as a muse and a tool, a soundtrack for my life. I’m often remembering a song, replaying one in my head that has meaning and makes me feel so back in that moment. All of a sudden, that moment of elation is real … it’s palpable … I can taste it. And that, my friends, is where I really start to shed some light on what’s under the hood.

Want to learn about someone? Pay attention not just to the music they listen to, but why they listen to it. You often learn so much about a person simply by opening yourself up to hear their song or soundtrack.

music as museStruggling with expressing the way a character is feeling? Put your music collection on shuffle, and see what happens. You never know where music will take you or what it will pull out of you. Sometimes, I won’t even open my manuscript to start. I’ll play some music and just listen and feel and remember. Then, all of a sudden, before I even know it, I’m off to the races, and I can’t stop the words from flowing right out of me.

You really want to blow your own mind? Start to plan the music your characters listen to. Beware, though, because this could really crack open the can of crazy on your multiple personality disorder. You may hypothesize on who you think you are as a person, and then prove yourself completely wrong. Engage in that little exercise: decide what the soundtracks to your characters’ lives would be and why. You may really see how far down the rabbit hole actually goes. Hmmm … then again, maybe that’s just me.


__________Joe Torres
Joe Torres writes sci-fi adventure with heart. He is currently working on his first novel, Force of
Nature. Joe lives in Gilbert, Ariz., with his wife and either the most amazing child on the planet or a demon from the depths of hell, depending on which side of nap time you find yourself. 
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1 Response to Batten down the hatches, amygdala!

  1. bchatzkel says:

    Great idea. Do you think it will work for nonfiction?


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