The other day I was sitting in a pick-up truck parked in a field, waiting on someone. Rather than waste gas, I turned off the engine and rolled down the windows. As the heat and humidity rolled in and crushed the once-chilled air, a hopeful breeze followed (along with a grasshopper that quickly left when I showed an interest in catching it). The smells, buzzes, sweat, and other stimuli reminded me of a scene I needed to write for the novel I am currently working on. I keep a Moleskine with me as much as possible, with a mechanical pencil tucked in its pages just in case an idea hits me in situations like these, so I quickly whipped it out and jotted down pages of words inspired by the sticky and uncomfortable situation.
Yesterday I lucked into a songwriter on the internet when I did a search for something entirely different. After searching through her stuff and listening to some music that was very nice and some that was okay, I hit upon a beautiful song that seemed to perfectly capture the mood of a character. The more I replayed it, the more I was determined to add it to the soundtrack. I often listen to music while I am writing (I don’t necessarily hear the music if I’m really working, but having it flow in the background seems to help the words flow) and sometimes I create a soundtrack or compilation of specific songs that repeat in random order while I’m working on a particular story or novel. Finding pieces that reflect the mood of certain parts of the story, or the character’s temperament, definitely works well for me.
So what about you? Do you have any methods to your madness (writing madness, that is) that aid you in your endeavors to put in words the stories that whirl around in your imagination? If so, please share.