Finding the Right Jive

My answer would be "YES." In case you wondered.

I write so-called “speculative fiction,” which means the “what-if” questions.  What if we never discovered penicillin?  What if aliens landed on the beaches of Normandy, too?  What if Channing Tatum appeared in my house, right now, and said, “Kat, let’s knock boots have a pleasant discussion that may lead to something not remotely naughty…at least at first”?  All potential novels (though not necessarily long ones).  Also, this generally means that I write steampunk, fantasy, or sci-fi (of the YA or romance variety).

I don’t know about you, but when I write, I like to listen to some tune-age.  For each book I write, I tend to buy at least three new albums.  I also cruise through my iTunes and make special playlists.  “Action.”  “Sappy Love Songs.” “DANCE PARTY.” (Oh, wait, that’s just for me to have random dance parties in my house.)  For my last two books, I’ve discovered a new source of music:

Video Games

The Squid recently posted a blog entry about video games writers should play.  And that’s a sweet point.  Video games are a great, immersive way to get your juices flowing about world-building.  BUT most video games also have super stellar music.

My regular followers–all six-ish of you! love!–know that I’m a pretty damn big fan of Mass Effect and, well, Bioware in general.

Talk about awesome worldbuilding plus awesome music. The Qunari are pretty much the most interesting fantasy species I've ever seen in a video game.

Four of my favorite games of all time have come out from them: Jade Empire, Dragon Age, the Mass Effect series, and Neverwinter Nights.  The music is so. darn. good.  Epic fantasy! Creative space opera! Rocking Chinese!  YEAH.  And one of the greatest things about most video game music is that they don’t have lyrics.  And since they’re not popular songs, you’re unlikely to be stuck in the middle of a sentence and writing the music instead.  Like this:

Kaylee lifted onto her pointes like a train on a track.  Running towards her, stuck still no turning baaaaaack.  She hid around corners, and she hid under beds.  She killed it with kisses, but from it she fled…* and also**

Plus, video games usually have certain themes that you can put on repeat if you’re writing a certain type of scene.  Mass Effect 2’s “Human’s are Disappearing” has such a poignant, taut edge to it.  (Jack Wall, you rock my socks off.)  Or Dragon Age’s “Lelianna’s Song” is super great for sweeping descriptions or Important First Meetings.  Sigh.

So hey, do you listen to music while you write?  Or just whenever?  What type of music do you use?  And finally: how totally excited are you for Dragon Age 2?! ZOMG I’M SO FLIPPING OUT ONLY LIKE A MONTH MORE! Or something.

* Extra points if you know what song this is from

** I did not double check these lyrics.  They could be wrong.  You won’t die if they were, don’t worry.