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Dark Puss

I'll give it some thought, however for entertainment here is NASA's view of gamma-ray bursts from colliding neutron stars.

You are never far from astro-cat.


I can't write with music, the music just distracts me!


I suspect you're not alone!


Thankyou for the link (though the music's not as good as Muse's!).


Oh dear, my younger son will be devastated to learn that his favourite band inspired Twilight.


Sue, it might make your son feel better if you tell him that according to a story I read, the band's comment on their involvement was something along the lines of "we've sold our soul ..." - not re. their part in inspiring the books, but in terms of having their music used in the film!

Ruth M.

Charles de Lint, Canadian writer of reliably good contemporary fantasy, includes a list of the music he listened to while writing each of his books. Folk music mostly, lots of fiddle tunes, harps, but alternative and rock and indie as well.


I don't listen to music while I write, though I'll sometimes have daytime TV on in the background. When I asked about this on twitter lately, someone told me that Jodi Picoult's latest book comes with a soundtrack CD - one track that you're supposed to listen to as you read each chapter.


So interesting - thankyou, Ruth.


Don't you find the words (from the television) intrude, Ros?
Many thanks for the information re. Jodi Picoult.


Novelist Marika Cobbold kindly responded via Twitter and here's what she said:
"Mostly classical and some country and a lot of Irish Folk - nothing with unfamiliar lyrics as they compete with my words:-)
Opera - not Wagner, sung by Jussi Bjorling in preference, Irish folk, Tommy Fleming, anything Mozart, Brahms violin concerto."


Harriet Smart also tweeted her response to my question:
"My last book has mostly been Handel opera plus 18th century piano concertos, but sometimes only a big slushy soundtrack full of emotional cues will do."


Slightly to the side of the subject in hand, but still with writers and music, I was thrilled to discover, just last night, an archive recording of Barbara Pym on Desert Island Discs from 1978. Wonderful. Here's the link, but it can also be found on iTunes under Desert Island Disc Archives.


Thankyou so much, Cindy. Can't wait to listen!


I've listened now - lovely to hear her! I especially enjoyed three of her choices, the waltz from Der Rosenkavalier, the Chopin, and Philip Larkin.

Linda Gillard

Author Roz Morris runs an interview every week on her blog called "The Undercover Soundtrack" in which an author talks about the musical inspiration/soundtrack for their novel. See

Music plays a big part in most of my novels and in some cases has helped me structure a book. (I tend to see books as patterns rather than plots, so listening to patterns in music helps me somehow.) I was pretty stuck with UNTYING THE KNOT in the early creative stage until I heard the 2nd movement of Philip Glass's Violin Concerto. That proved to be a Damascus moment for me in which I suddenly saw how I could bring together the various themes of the novel and have them counterpointing each other, as they do in the music.

The music also supplied the anguished mood, a sense of conflict and underlying tension, all of which helped me "tap in" to the dark themes of the novel. I heard the music and I knew I now had my book. I saw what I had to do and it all just rushed into my head. It was almost overwhelming. But I was very relieved to have found a musical "template" for the book that I thought would get me through the writing of it.

I often wonder how that novel would have turned out if I'd never heard that piece of music. Would I have finished writing it? And if I had, would it have been a very different book?...


That is amazing, Linda! Thankyou, and thanks for the link, too.


Another contribution via Twitter, Jane Rusbridge says "Usually I write in silence. ROOK was the exception! Have written about the cello music here "


Thank you Cindy for the link. I, too, have now listened to Barbara Pym. Lovely to hear her own voice and her choices of music.


It was great to hear her, wasn't it? I must see who else is in that archive.

Dark Puss

Craftygreenpoet I agree 100% with you. Doing other things detroys the experience of listening to the music too.

Linda Gillard

I'm supposed to be writing about this soon for Roz's blog but I'm battling chemo #5 at the moment. :-( If I do get the article written I'll come back and post the link.


If I'm really in the flow, I don't hear anything. But when I'm procrastinating, I like having other people talking so I don't feel isolated. Radio 4 also works.


Please do, Linda, and all good wishes to you, as ever.


Whatever works - but amazing that different writers need such different 'conditions'.

Mr Cornflower

On a related topic, what about studying to music? Does anyone out there find it helps? (Or perhaps you have teenage children who claim it helps!)


Thanks to Cindy for the link, have just listened and much enjoyed hearing both Barbara Pym and the short Philip Larkin reading. I too will be trawling through the archive .

Dark Puss

Yes to the second part of your question and given his good results last week I cannot easily argue! To be more personal absolutely not. This is perhaps less to do with any negative effects on my thought processes (such as they are these days) and everything to do with my hatred of music "in the background" to anything. If music is there then I'm listening to it with as few distractions as possible (or trying to play it myself of course).


Here's another author response via Twitter: Suzy Joinson says that publisher Scott Pack recently made her an excellent playlist of songs to write to. "Wafting Scando girls."

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