Thursday, February 16, 2012

It was just a piece of music

Sometimes my brain works in ways that are strange. Actually, my wife would say, “Tell me something I don’t know.”

A few days ago, I was listening to a piece of music, and a character popped into my mind. I could see him. I knew he was 40 years old. I knew what he did for a living. I knew what quirks he had. And I knew what his heart yearned for.

I listened to the music again. Almost as quickly, a second character popped into my head. I could see her. I knew her age. I knew what she did for a living. And I knew how she was going to be brought together with the first character.

I listened to the music yet again. Within two days, I had the entire story mapped out in my head, start to finish. I started looking at web sites of places that would be settings for the story. I started marking certain web pages as favorites.

I knew this was going to be a novella, or short novel (or long short story). Three other characters materialized in minor, supporting roles. I could see their faces, too.

My problem is – I didn’t need this right now. I’m editing the manuscript that’s the sequel to Dancing Priest, I have a full-time job, some online work for The High Calling and a family.

But the music did something, stimulated something or initiated something. I did not sleep Monday night. It was as if I had drunk a very large cup of strong regular coffee right before bed. My eyes stayed wide open for most of the night as I played scene after scene in my head.

The story is done, beginning, middle and end. In my head. Not one word has yet to grace the computer screen.

I wrote Dancing Priest in my head for three years, and then starting pushing out the words.

But this time, the entire story came together fast. A simple story, a story about the need in a man’s heart. And all because I listed to a piece of music.

Author Travis Thrasher, who’s written numerous books (and I’ve liked every single one I’ve read), writes to a kind of soundtrack. In fact, the last few books he’s done have included a playlist of the music he listened to and connected to each book. (His official web site is here. He blogs at The Journey is Everything.)

But this is a bit different. One piece of music did it.

I just listened to it again. I confirmed the ending in my head.

Does anyone else write this way?

Please say yes.

Over at Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray has suggested the word “vulnerable” for a blog carnival prompt. I certainly felt vulnerable writing this one. To see more posts, please visit Faith Barista.

Photograph: Music Notes Background by Vera Kratochvil via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.


H. Gillham said...


But I'm not a writer.

It's that creative, writing brain you have, Glynn, ripe for another book -- I think it was the success of DP has got your mind running.


Lisa notes... said...

I'm not a good storyteller like you are, so I can't confirm I write like this either. But I'm glad you do! Thank God for such gifts.

Sandra Heska King said...

This is amazing, Glynn. I've always found music distracting. But maybe I need to listen with a new ear.

Linda said...

Glynn - I will make you feel better. Emily Freeman wrote a post about writing to music just the other day. Here is the post:

I think it is wonderful. I'm going to listen with a "new ear."
Can't wait to read this story.

Megan Willome said...

I have longed for this to happen to me!

As to this story coming together more quickly, maybe it's like childbirth--the first labor's usually the longest.

Alene said...

I would love to see as vividly as you. I mainly see in emotion with music that supports. Wish my mind was more creative. Linda's comment about Emily's post --- great article.

a joyful noise said...

Three years - - I hope NOT for this one! Glenn, please at least put a title and an outline and some notes on your computer. The Characters and what they do etc. As you get "time" go ahead and put words there. I am NOT saying you will loose it, but that is also possible. Don't take the chanch.

S. Etole said...

I think you have a very special gift, Glynn, and you use it well.

Dolly @Soulstops said...

I agree with have a gift.

Robert Treskillard said...


Yes, I do write this way. In particular, MERLIN'S BLADE was created and plotted mostly in my head while listening to this Scottish Moors CD. Very evocative of the location where my book takes place.

However, I do write notes as I go along to make sure I don't lose any of the inspiration.

Can you provide a link to the music you were listening to?


Unknown said...

This week I seem to be reading much on music helping with writing. The other day I put together a smooth jam and out of a quiet time...voila...a story emerged.

You writing this really confirms so much for me. Reading of your blessings in your writing reveals another part of God's character for me to know.

Thank you Glynn. It was so peaceful here today.

Alecia Simersky said...

I LOVE listening to music to get inspired. I'm no writer, but for me music is soothing and I can feel myself immediately start to relax as soon as it's on. I guess you can say its therapuetic. It's great that it ignites your creativity, keep listening and writing!