Music Inspiring Writing: David Strom

by Emerian Rich

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is David Strom, a writer and music lover.

Super-heroine Story Music for Open Mics

David Strom

It all started with Underdog. Not that lousy Disney flick, but the 1960s cartoon.

I was performing at open mics, reading chapters from my upcoming novel about Super Holly Hansson: short-tempered super-heroine, comic book writer, and the Superman of her world. In one chapter, she chased and caught a nuclear missile. I’d read that, just my voice. I wanted more. I found the Underdog episode, The Great Gold Robbery. I edited the flying and train music into missile chasing and grabbing music. More trouble that it was worth, since I cut that chapter (might use it elsewhere, I still like Holly doing the Christopher Reeve thing).

Next was Battle of the Heroes from Star Wars 3, Revenge of the Sith. Instead of Obi-Wan and Anikin light-sabering, Super Holly fights Dan Mann, her mentor turned against her. Open mic audiences liked it, especially the big music blurt at the end, when I wrote an explosion where Holly is at ground zero. Then I discovered a problem. That song is 3 minutes and 42 seconds, so the fight scene could be no longer than two and a half pages. I now write more elaborate scenes, I am rewriting this one so the fight leads to Holly destroying the fanboy-incinerating hellfire cannon, so the music is likely to not fit anymore.

Not so for Burly Brawl from The Matrix Reloaded: 5 minutes, 52 seconds. Holly fights dozens of mind-controlled, mighty-muscled, super-powered soldiers. Each fighting style fits a different beat in the music, ending with her giant fisted, super-Popeye-twister sock that knocks all the soldiers out and gives the evil mind-controlling Bunni Bubblez a headache.

My biggest success was Pachelbel’s Canon in D: Super Holly mourns over Cal the Intellectual’s dead body (he’s not really dead, this is superhero stuff). When I read that at an open mic, I looked up about 2/3 through. And the entire coffee house audience was looking at me, RAPT. I remember thinking, I ain’t NEVER gonna get that again! But I still try.

And so it goes. Prelude and March from Superman the Movie: Holly’s superpowers first manifest and she defeats her first super-villain. So Much In Love by The Tymes: Super Holly and Cal the Intellectual lovingly watch an ocean sunset.Unchained Melody from the movie Ghost: Holly and Cal live a 5-D movie scene, the death of the Overlady. I’m Sorry by Brenda Lee: Super Holly sees that she split Cal’s lip when she was possessed by the evil Soul Surfer, and she is VERY sorry. The Laser Beam from Goldfinger: Super Holly is slowly being poisoned by green lutefisk (her kryptonite).

It is fun. Music inspires me to write, or I write and music jumps in. Too bad I can’t use these songs in a podcast. I own none of them.

A word of warning: music can be a crutch. If you ever try this, make sure your story can stand on its own: it must be great to read with no music and no funny voices (I do that too). I remember my nieces (in high school at the time) saying about an older story of mine that they wanted my voice reading it. I have improved my writing since.


me-harly-pgDave M. Strom is a technical writer who has written about super-heroine Holly Hansson since the novel The DaVinci Code. He puts funny into his superhero stories and has women clobber the bad guys. Dave reads comic books, watches cool cartoons, and occasionally performs at open mics. Find out more at:

Thank you David for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.