Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Music For Writers #3: Mary J. Nichols

So, this is going well.

The two Music For Writers guest-pieces so far have been some of the most popular things of things I've posted on this blog. And this week is another great selection of tunes from writer Mary J. Nichols. The previous two entries from Andrew Hook and Iain Rowan (here & here) featured lots of music I knew; this is the first one where it's all new to me. So I'm looking forward to diving in; I'm listen to each piece of music I post as part of this series, in the hope of discovering good stuff.

Take it away Mary:

Thank you for this opportunity to share a hint of the playlist I listen to while working on my novels. Over the past few years, I have been immersed in a fantasy/medieval world, so classical music has been the soundtrack for my setting. I will warn you that I am a movie soundtrack lover, so most of what I have on my playlist are scores from several movies, but also video games. My list is normally shuffled, yet when I am heading into a particular scene, and I wish for a piece fitting for the energy of the settings, characters, and actions, I will seek out certain tracks. My emotions are easily drawn into the direction the symphony lures them, so for these three examples, I have selected my favorite tunes.

I am a huge fan of Hans Zimmer, so for battle scenes, I love to include two pieces from the Gladiator soundtrack: 'The Battle' and 'Barbarian Horde'. Fight scenes should be epic, and these two pieces are certainly that. They are long, aggressive, and encourage a battle to the death feel. 

For a dark scene, still pulling from the Gladiator soundtrack, is 'Am I Not Merciful?' It begins with a powerfully heavy feeling that weighs upon my shoulders, yet it is elegant. It gives me a sense of impending doom. Even the chorus gives me chills. 

Another dark piece I enjoy is 'Bloodborn' by Ryan Amon, from the video game, Bloodborne. I find the music powerful and the woman’s voice almost haunting. I envision this music perfect in several dark settings, whether on sea, land, or air – from the approach of a large beast, a possessed armada, a demoness, or Death. I love the way I am eased into and out of this track. 

To select an emotional score is difficult because I have so many from which to choose. I settled on 'The Key to Lallybroch' by Bear McCreary from The Outlander soundtrack (Season One, Volume 2). It is a beautiful piece of music I tend to include in my list while writing romantic scenes and those that are meant to coax emotional reaction. The strings are simply beautiful and tug on me, even in the midst of writing. 

Like a tune can pull on the emotions during scenes in a movie, it can do the same while reading or writing. I was sixteen when I first experienced such an event while reading a nightmare scene as a dark symphony played on the radio. It was amazing. Since then, music has been a part of my reading, and became part of my writing routine in later years.

More Music For Writers next week...

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