Writing Prompt Story Starter: Music

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Music. Who doesn’t like listening to favourite tunes. It might be a particular artist, genre or favourite decade. Music is a great source of story inspiration. Not only the lyrics and music itself, but the images that spring to mind when a song is played.

Think of a special song that matters to you – what memories, feelings does it evoke? I think Country songs are a good example of this type of music. They are like mini stories, with a beginning, middle and end, highlighting the highs and lows of life. The late, great Johnny Cash did this to good effect in many of his songs.

The genre isn’t important as the music, and how it matters to you. Think of wedding songs. You can capture the theme of love in your story. For example, unrequited love or lost love. And what is lost can often be found – in some shape or form.

Films are a great source of memorable music. A few that spring to mind are “Saturday Night Fever”, “The Greatest Showman” and the classic “The Wizard Of Oz”.

Patchworks of memories

When I hear songs that matter to me, I often think back to the days when I first heard them. That puts me in a different time and place. Stories are patchworks of memories, and songs can be a part of that.

Song titles, too, can help the imagination. Think of the following – do any conjure up story ideas for you?

“Hotel California”, The Eagles

“I Will Survive”, Gloria Gaynor

“Take Me Home, Country Roads”, John Denver

“Let’s Stay Together”, Al Green

Another way songs can help inspire is during the actual story writing. If your character has a big decision to make, what’s the mood of the scene? Maybe said character is taking a sunset walk along a shoreline, with much to ponder.

Envisage some background music – what’s being played, and does this heighten the character’s feelings? It’s maybe even a soundtrack that sums up the story.

Whatever you are listening to, happy musical musings.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.