I’ve been away for a while. I wish I could say that I’ve spent the summer writing, but, alas, no. Life, innit. My MA Creative Writing course is now in full swing, so I really have to give myself a good kick up the bum. I’ve had lots of ideas, lots of thoughts, lots of story concepts flowing out of my exhausted brain onto my giant Trello board and I’m ready to go.
I’m moving away from short horror stories to ‘dystopian and strange’ short stories. I mean, there’s certainly no shortage of inspiration in our current climate. Many of you may be feeling, like me, anxious. The world seems to be going to pot, and we’ve got the unknowns of Brexit coming soon (maybe). My MA will be my cathartic outlet, my therapy, for addressing the state of the world. I’m not sure what will come out of me yet, and it may take me to some dark places, but I can’t wait to get there.
I’m also listening to ‘Ghosteen’ – a lot. WOW. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds will get us through this. What a beautiful piece of art; devastating, haunting and inspirational. I am sure it will be the soundtrack to my MA.
What music or sounds do you write to? Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer credits Muse as a huge inspiration to her whilst she was writing her four-book saga, and Fiona Apple, The Clash, Sia and Queens of the Stone Age all feature on this list.
I personally prefer the sound of silence, with added chirp. I live in a village in Staffordshire, so bird song is my usual, natural soundtrack. I sometimes even get a tawny owl at night which is a rather lovely sound. I have to absorb myself in my story, the structure, the voices of my characters so to me, anything else is a distraction. And when it comes back to editing my work, it REALLY has to be quiet. As much as I’d love to catch up on my favourite artistes and new albums, I’d probably just block it out anyway. And I have a three year old…I write when she has gone to bed so I always have one ear out for her too.
Once again, it’s all about whatever works best for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. You may find you write best listening to Iron Maiden. Jazz. Classical. If you’re in a particular genre, plot or theme, your soundtrack may be your research; I’m sure Taylor Jenkins Reid’s recent triumph of Daisy Jones & The Six meant she was listening to some awesome Fleetwood Mac. Crank it up to eleven, or dial it down to a wood pigeon like me.