Music and the Art of Writing

Jars of Clay at Toronto, Canada.

Jars of Clay at Toronto, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Steven Curtis Chapman, American Christian musician

Steven Curtis Chapman, American Christian musician (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t posted much on this blog lately because I’ve been working on another blog, “Delight Thyself in the Lord.”

To keep THE PRINCE IN THE TOWER blog going, I thought of something that inspires me to write romance: namely, music.

Whether you’re writing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or simply blogging, music can help create an atmosphere conducive to writing. When I was penning THE PRINCE IN THE TOWER, I listened to whatever music complemented the chapter I happened to be working on.

For example, Steven Curtis Chapman‘s “Prologue,” which is the first song on his album THE GREAT ADVENTURE, fit the beginning of Chapter I. The story begins with the heroine, “Effie Belle Butler,” riding a train from Columbus, Georgia, to Alexandria, Virginia.  As you listen to the song, you can picture a fast-moving train in the background.

When I was writing about “Rev. Gideon Baldwin,” my fictional character with whom “Effie” (and I) fell in love, I would listen to “The Shadow of Your Smile,” “Call Me Irresponsible,” and “Moonlight” (by Sting), which are on the SABRINA (movie starring Harrison Ford) soundtrack. But when I wrote the passage about “Gideon” touring the Town of St. Georges in Bermuda (Chapter 31), I listened to “Blind” by Jars of Clay.  The lyrics and the tune fit the preacher’s mood as he wrestled with his doubting Thomas attitude.

Chapter 21 describes a sailing trip from Annapolis, Maryland, to the Rhode River. Christopher Cross’ “Sailing” put me in the mood to write about the cruise.  It’s a song I never tire of hearing.

Chapter 17 is the centerpiece of the novel. “I Go Crazy” [when I look in your eyes], by Paul Davis, not only inspired the chapter but summarizes it.

"Fortress Around Your Heart"

“Fortress Around Your Heart” (Photo credit: ★СΔĐЄИСЭ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ کTΔЯЯ★)

Although I probably have nothing in common with Sting except a bent for castles and English manors, I confess that a few of his songs highly influenced me, particularly “Fortress Around Your Heart.”  The title of the song alone complements the title of my novel.  So do the lyrics.

Two songs on the album STRONG TOWER, released  in 1994, set the tone for the last chapter.  It’s a Christian album, but my favorite song is instrumental, and I don’t recall the name of it.  Oddly enough, it sounds romantic. and I must have played it non-stop as I wrote the final scenes.  The album is hard to find (and there’s more than one CD with the same title but a different artist), but I found a few used copies on Amazon.com.

I owe much to a group called 4 Him and their album BASICS OF LIFE.  The song that set the pace for my novel is called “Head Over Heels.”  In regard to THE PRINCE IN THE TOWER, “Head Over Heels” has a double meaning.

Best of all, I was blessed to meet one of the musicians who inspired my book.  I don’t recall his name, but I think he is the lead singer for Jars of Clay.  I met him after a concert at George Mason University.  I told him that he inspired my writing.  The chance to speak with one of my muses was exciting, to say the least.

I have not met Steven Curtis Chapman, but I had the privilege of seeing him at an outdoor concert in Washington DC years ago.  Imagine my excitement at hearing “Prologue” performed live.

THE PRINCE IN THE TOWER is not exactly a book that I chose to write.  I was driven to write it, and the music provided the fuel.

I would love to hear from other bloggers to find out what type of music–if any–inspires them to write.

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