Monday, July 7, 2014

10 Songs to Listen to While Writing Action Scenes

When I write, I often enjoy listening to music. It helps me get in the mood. However, there’s nothing worse than trying to write a funny scene while listening to The Imperial March. And it’s rather difficult trying to write an action scene with classical music playing in the background. It just kills it. Anyone else here know what I’m talking about?

Because listening to the wrong kind of music at the wrong time has destroyed many a paragraph and even leveled entire chapters, I came up with a list of songs to listen to while writing action scenes. I tend to write quite a bit of these since I write Fantasy and I assume a lot of authors do too, so I thought this would be a good place to start.

Before you take a look, I need to warn you that my list is composed of only film scores. Why? Well, I don’t happen to be one of those crazy awesome people who can write while listening to music with lyrics. I always end up losing focus or transcribing the lyrics into my stories. I don’t understand how other people are able to keep from doing this. I’m starting to think that they have some kind of superpower…a superpower I don’t possess. So I listen to film scores and try to pretend that I don’t envy people who can listen to ‘real’ music while they write.  

As much as I was tempted to use only songs from Lord of the Rings and The Bourne Trilogy, I decided to broaden my scope a bit, just in case some of you don’t happen to like these two soundtracks. Though if that is the case, chances are we won’t ever be able to be friends. Anyhow, here is the list of my top ten songs to listen to while writing action scenes:
  1. Why Do We Fall from The Dark Knight Rises
  2. He’s a Pirate from The Pirates of the Caribbean
  3. Taking a Stand from The Winter Soldier
  4. Final Test from Ender’s Game
  5. Berlin Foot Chase from The Bourne Supremacy
  6. Dual of Fates from Star Wars
  7. The Bridge of Kazah Dum from The Fellowship of the Ring
  8. Terraforming from The Man of Steel
  9. Dream is Collapsing from Inception
  10. Discombobulate from Sherlock Holmes 
This will give you exactly 42 minutes of writing time, which bugs me because it didn’t end up as 40 minutes or 45 minutes. Oh well. I’ll just have to get over that one.

I created a playlist on YouTube, so all you have to do is click here whenever you are ready to write the best action scene ever known to mankind.

So what about you? What kind of music do you like to listen to when you write?

Related articles;
11 Songs To Listen To While Writing Moving Scenes
6 Easy Ways to Gain Writing Inspiration
Writing to Film Scores: Emotion from Music to Paper - A Guest Post by Susannah Metzler

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  1. Thanks for the playlist! I'll have to try it out. I'm also not one of those awesome people who can write with lyrics playing in the background. I have a tendency to write in the "quiet" - although I also write in dance studio lobbies and at the docks (one of my daughters is a kayaker). I keep thinking I need to work on creating a playlist . . . but never have. So, again, thanks for creating one to try out!

    1. I'm so glad it is useful to you! I was wondering if I should create more and now I will. =)

  2. Obviously not for action scenes, but sometimes when I need to set a certain mood, I listen to Enya or Sarah Brightman.

    While they do have lyrics, it's almost as if their voices are an instrument unto themselves.

    Great playlist BTW.


    1. I love Enya! Cool to meet somebody else who does. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hi Hannah. I don't listen to music. I prefer quiet.And my dogs know that. They stay quiet ... until I sit down to write. Want a couple dogs?


    1. Haha! I think I'll pass on the dogs. Hopefully they'll start behaving for you soon. =)

  4. Once, long ago, I was writing an introductory text to a roleplaying game that was to pretend an officer of a galactic empire addressed the newbie player who was going to assume the command of a spacecraft. In the other room, my father watched a history documentary on the Wilhelminian Age in Germany. All the time it had these Prussian battle marches in the background - my manuscript assumed a tone of voice that sounded perfectly I M P E R I O U S .

    1. Haha! That's so great. Sounds like lots of fun!

  5. The Bourne movies soundtracks are some of the best action-scene inspiration/writing music ever. Love them. "Dream is Collapsing" is fantastic, as is the remix of it by We Plants Are Happy Plants.
    And I fully agree about music with lyrics. I end up distracted by the lyrics unless I've listened to the song so many times that they can fade into the background. Though they don't, always, especially if I really like the song.
    I actually find certain songs in classical music really great for writing action scenes. The slow or more contemplative ones are mood killers, I completely agree. But there are several songs, especially in the Baroque era, that I simply love for action scenes. Vivaldi's Four Seasons has several that I can't help imagining some grand chase scene to. Summer 1 is one of them. It has these slow, sneaking parts, and then these flying, desperate moments that just grab me. And Summer 3 either sounds like a big fight or a chase scene to me. The only trouble to writing an action scene to them is that they suggest a very specific scene to me, so I don't know if I'd be able to write anything but what the music seems to be implying is happening, if that makes any sense at all, haha.

    1. I absolutely love the Bourne soundtracks, too. I'm going to have to check out the other ones you mentioned.
      And yes, I agree about getting stuck in a rut if you end up listening to too much action. I have some scenes that have an action feel, even though they shouldn't. =D I'm planning on creating just an overall writing soundtrack to help me out with that. We'll see how it goes. =) Thanks for the comment!

  6. Discover playlists on minilogs. Share the ones you already created. Enjoy tracks like never before.

  7. I can listen to "real" music. Sometimes I find a specific song will be the "hook" that I can start writing if I set my brain up with it (kind of like the key to shut part of my brain off)... if that makes sense. For example, I was on a kick where I had to listen to Norah Jones' re-do of Elvis' Love Me Tender (the version from Princess Diaries II where they are talking through the night).

    My brain is weird. I need a mental distraction so I can be creative, if that makes any sense.

    I have several lists of music that I listen to on shuffle. What I have found is that I create character specific soundtracks or story specific soundtracks.

    And I totally agree with those who can visualize scenes or ideas to music. The song My Deliverer is Coming, by Rich Mullins... well, I can see and entire sword-swinging, guns blazing scene featuring my main character. :-)

    Enya is fantastic.

  8. Hay Brother, probably one of my favorite wrighting songs. I see my charicter and the characters he influences so clearly while wrighting with this song playing in the background


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