A quick post today…because I’m a terrible person and left this way too late. I deserve all the scorn. ALL OF IT.
Anyway, I’ve been writing a lot of fight scenes this week (actually one really big fight scene that gets spread around a lot) and so I’ve been listening to what I’ve taken to calling “Music To Maim To”*. This is a common thing among genre fiction writers, at least the ones that I know. Some have playlists exclusively for fighty bits, others have a playlist for each major subset of character actions; which are: fighty bits, talky bits, chasey bits, friendship bits, horrific bits, funny bits, secret bits and sexy bits (don’t Google that last one).
Part of the reason for having the music playing in the background is to get pumped up, sure, but for me there’s another reason. Fights in fiction aren’t like real fights, no matter how realistically we write them. They have their own rhythm that you as the writer get to set, and having music playing in the background is a way to help you set that tempo in your fights. I have different songs for different kinds of fights, and even for the build up to fights.
I also have songs in mind for the entire book, but with the fights in mind. Right now I’m using this one:
Obviously everyone’s taste in music is different and I’m in no position to dictate anyone’s preferences even for fight scene music. Half the time I don’t even follow my own advice.
I personally prefer lighter, faster tracks for lighter faster combatants, and big dramatic pieces for characters that are juggernauts. Gun fights I go in for percussive rock/metal and multiple opponent fight scenes I try and look for something super quick. If one person involved in the fight is totally overmatched and getting the crap kicked out of them then it’s time for something a little slower and more dramatic.
If you’re looking for good fight scene music and you’re not sure where to start, have a look for movie trailer music from the likes of Two Steps From Hell or Extreme Music on YouTube. No matter what kind of conflict you’re resolving on the page, they’ve got the music to score it.
I’m curious, do you have playlists for your works in progress? Just for your fight scenes? Let me know what they are!
* I have issues.
Terri A. Wilson says
Funny, I’ve done this for love scenes, but not fight scenes. Need to try it.
Huh – no, I don’t listen to music of any kind when I’m writing. It might be that the same parts of my brain engage and so my concentration slips. It’s odd how one’s brains work: I have found I can discuss many things when I’m driving on long road trips, for example, but re-decorating the house isn’t one of them. The spatial sense in my brain apparently can’t do two things at once.
I also have a lot of music in my background and *somewhere* up there I can always find a metronome or timer; it helps tremendously when I’m multi-tasking whilst cooking something – I can wander away from the stove or grill to work on something else until I hear the mental *DING* of a timer going off.
Skyla Dawn Cameron says
I opt to a lot of trailer music, usually (ES Posthumous, Immediate Music/Globus, etc) although I did write my heroine fighting a yeti to Harvest Moon by Neil Young.
No, I don’t understand that one either.