Sunday, August 28, 2011

La La La La Plot La La La

I don't outline. Well, let me just say that when I wrote my first book I did outline. I pretty much outlined the entire thing and then I would look at that outline and decide which scene I felt like writing that day and then once everything was done I pieced the story together like a puzzle.
And it was madness.
But it worked. I never had a moment of the dreaded writer's block.

Now, however, I keep an idea page. Each story I'm working on has its own page and when something hits me I throw it down on that page so I don't forget it. I find it also helps me move along on those days when I'VE GOT NOTHING!

And when I need a little inspiration I always go to the music gods.
Seriously. I would be nothing without music.


When I was younger (not saying how much younger because I still kinda do this) and bored I would listen to music and create a music video in my head or a movie scene that would go with the song.
I'm a very visual person. Listening to music allows me to watch the scene unfold inside my head first and then I can sit down and write it.


Since you asked, here are some artists that help me when I'm looking for inspiration:

Bon Iver


The National


Sufjan Stevens

Loney Dear

Frightened Rabbit

Now. Go for a ride, listen to your music loud and then plot away.

That's what I do.

Shari Arnold is the author of MYSTIQUE coming Fall 2012 from Chronicle Books. Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.


  1. I wish I could do that. To me, music is more of a feeling. (I'm kinesthetic, not visual.) The right music puts me in the right mood so I feel more like an actor who can act out the scenes. It's so interesting to hear how different people go about writing.

  2. AAHHH! I absolutely love Bon Iver, but hardly anyone I talk to has ever heard of them :(

  3. Nice to know how others write. Music sets an emotion for me, so if it's the wrong one it can be distracting for me. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Rain- I get the whole music/feeling thing. Sometimes that's exactly what I need.

    Gabbi- I LOVE Bon Iver!! I just saw them in Brooklyn! It was amazing!

    E. Arroyo- I can see how that would be a problem. It's important to get the right music/emotion when writing.

  5. Oh music gods, they seriously can SAVE THE DAY for me too sometimes when the writerly mojo's absent. And love those artists!