Writing Tip — Christmas Music as Writing Inspiration

pianow-3775191_1280-2My kids and I have broken out our collection of Christmas music and listen to it whenever we are in the car in December. I have a firm rule that we don’t listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving and we quit after New Year’s Day. So we need to cram in a lot of music in five weeks.

My kids have very different tastes in music. My oldest likes instrumental pieces almost to the exclusion of songs. My youngest finds music without lyrics boring. They agree on a few musical items. Slow tempo = bad. Fast tempo = usually good. Both of them like songs that tell a story, and they both like instrumental pieces by the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

When I drive my oldest to school, and we listen to  orchestral arrangements, my imagination thinks of the music as a soundtrack and tries to create a scene that suits it. One of our favorites is the piece by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo 12/24“. I always imagine some kind of fight scene to go with it. Another favorite is a fast-paced version of “God Read Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Mannheim Steamroller.

Songs also ignite my creative fire. The short story, “Mary, Did You Know”in Christmas fiction off the beaten path reminded me of this. This song inspired author Patricia Meredith to write a story about Mary’s first years as a parent of Jesus. She isn’t the only writer to find inspirations in Christmas songs.

Flipping through The Christmas Encyclopedia by William D. Crump, I find movies or TV shows inspired by “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”, and “Good King Wenceslas”, which is a movie depicting a fictional version of the life of Vaclav the Good, who ruled Bohemia from 922-929.

I’ve always wanted to write a speculative fiction story, set in modern times, based on the verses of “Good King Wencelas”. I tried to write it as a flash fiction piece but couldn’t make it short enough and still produce a satisfying narrative. Maybe I should just write it out as long as I need to and then see if I can cut it down.

How does Christmas music as writing inspiration spark your imagination?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: Songs as Writing Inspiration

musicianw-349790_1280Have you ever listened to a song and thought it had the makings of a great story? I love songs that tell stories, and many of them can be adapted for my favorite genre, crime fiction. Below are some songs that have stirred my imagination:

“The Long Black Veil” by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin. I first heard it sung by Mick Jagger on the Chieftains album The Long Black Veil.

“The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia” by Bobby Russell, sung by Vicki Lawrence.

“Lyin’ Eyes” by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, sung by the Eagles.

I’ve also thought about how to write the story of “Good King Wenceslas” as modern speculative fiction.

What other songs as writing inspiration do you recommend?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: What’s Your Favorite Christmas Song?

snowmanw-2978416_1280My theme this month is music, not just Christmas music, but I thought I might as well tie it in with the holiday.

I’ve always like songs in minor keys, so some of my favorite Christmas songs are “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, “What Child is This?”, and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” I also like songs that are so bright and exuberant that your mood can’t help but rise with the tune. “Good King Wenceslas”, “Hark! The Herald Angel Sing”, “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In”, and of course, “Joy to the World” fit this category.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

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