Music Inspiring Writing: Leigh M. Lane

by Emerian Rich

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

Today my guest is Leigh M. Lane, a writer and music lover.

Choosing the Right Playlist

by Leigh M. Lane

Jane RevivalI’m not sure how common this is, but I seem to change with the wind when it comes to using music as inspiration for my writing. I discovered the benefits of matching music with writing when I was in my early teens. I remember my sister and I would have various tapes (yes, we played tapes back then) at the ready, with a boom box (it was the ’80s) to the right of the computer.

We had different selections for different types of scenes—mood music, if you will. Vampires killing a roomful of people? Put on a little Metallica or maybe some early Queensrÿche. Building up tension or working on a chapter with a little drama? INXS, U2, or R.E.M. were usually good choices. Writing a scene that’s a little more lighthearted? Fleetwood Mac or Def Leppard. Provocative or fantastical? Pink Floyd, of course.

Over the years, my musical palette has expanded quite a bit, but my use of music to enhance my writing process has become much more limited. Strangely, there are times when I require near silence in order to write. Sometimes, I’ll turn the music on in the next room over to make it more ambient. There are still times, however, when I engulf myself in an album in order to set the right mood for a scene or story.

A good example is the music I chose to inspire a short story for a clown-themed horror anthology set for release later this year. No, “To the Shock of Miss Louise” didn’t help me along (sorry, you’ll only get that reference if you’ve ever listened to The Lost Boys soundtrack—great selection of songs, until you get to the end, and then *bam* carousel music). While some of the songs on that soundtrack might have served me well, I was looking for something a little more … violent. You see, I’d opted to include a little torture porn in this story, and not just anything would do. The perfect choice? Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals. I think it did the trick. You can let me know once the anthology, Painted Mayhem, is released.

Most of my writing tends to be much more cerebral, however, for which I’ve found David Bowie, Tori Amos, Joe Satriani, or a classical composition by Mozart or Dvořák fits the bill. And, if all else fails, I’ll turn on the classic rock station through my local cable provider … and take my chances that the Bob Dylan selections will be sparse (sorry, Dylan fans). Classic rock almost always lightens my mood, and the words always come more freely when I’m in a good mood.

My most recent venture has been more difficult; finding the right music to write by has, for the most part, eluded me. I started writing a cyberpunk novel a couple weeks ago, and I’m still not sure what music is best to enhance that genre. It’s dark, with some dystopian elements, but also very lighthearted in places. Obviously, whatever music I choose needs to spur my creativity; the sci-fi aspects demand complex world-building. Oingo Boingo’s Dead Man’s Party is a good start, I think, but I need a wider selection to cover the darker aspects. Have any ideas as to what might fit? I’d love some suggestions.


Corset4Lisa (Leigh M.) Lane has been writing dark speculative fiction for over twenty years. She has ten published novels and dozens of published short stories. She is married to editor and educator Thomas B. Lane Jr. and currently resides in the outskirts of Sin City.

Her published works include the traditional Gothic horror novel, Finding Poe; the World-Mart trilogy, a dystopian tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut; the dark allegorical tale, Myths of Gods; urban fantasy trilogy Revelations; and the dramatic horror novella series, Jane the Hippie Vampire.

Thank you Leigh 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.