I love to listen to music while I’m writing. It helps me concentrate and can – perhaps more importantly – help me maintain the right emotional state for the scene I’m working on.

So, what’re my favorite types of music to listen to while writing? That depends on what I’m writing.

For example, when I’m working on Kinnear, I like to listen to Celtic folk music. One piece in particular – an instrumental piece by Loreena McKennit called Between the Shadows – has come to be closely associated with Alys in my mind.

If I’m writing an action sequence, intense music is called for. Amongst my favorites for this task are multiple tracks from the Pacific Rim soundtrack (especially the title track) and from The Mummy (the version with Brendan Fraser). Recently, the entire score for Mad Max: Fury Road has entered into use for getting in the mood for writing action too – it’s an awesome, high-intensity soundtrack.

But in general, I just like to listen to instrumental music while writing. It provides enough background noise to help me focus without distracting me with lyrics. My usual writing playlist is eclectic, containing bits from the soundtracks mentioned above mixed together with everything from classical music (Vivaldi and Gershwin) to modern orchestral (Tim Janis and Danny Elfman) to film composers (Basil Poledouris and John Williams) and some which can defy easy classification (Vangelis).

Music is, of course, extremely good at creating and molding emotion, which makes it a useful addition to any writer’s toolkit.

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