Writing Emotion With Music

Rayleigh and I have gotten to know each other recently through various forms of social media, but the most exciting may be that she is Associate Editor and Web Manager for Pursue— the online magazine I write for. 🙂 So here’s to the 2nd post of Inkling to Write for today!

Rayleigh Gray

Writing Emotion With Music


My favorite books in the whole world are the ones that made me cry. Books that make me feel my heart breaking for the characters, books that cause me to laugh out loud, books that make me feel as if I were in the book.

Being a writer, my dream is to be able to capture an emotion with the intensity to make the reader feel it. I don’t want to just tell them that my main character feels as if she is going to fall apart, I want them to feel it for themselves. The way I’ve accomplished this is through music.

Music plays the biggest part in incorporating emotion for me because music itself portrays emotion from the artists. I’ve always been told that writers should write from their own experiences, but what if what we are writing has never been experienced? Should we just leave it out of the story? I don’t think so, some things really are necessary to complete our plots.

So I go to songs. I figure that if we can feel it through the song, because music really is powerful, then we’ll start to feel it in our writing too. I’ve witnessed improvement in the emotion in my characters as I listen to certain genres of music so I’d love to share some of those tracks with you! Maybe they can help you as you write your next scene too!

Battle/Fight Scenes

I write a lot of fantasy and dystopian so I come across the need for battles, wars, and plenty of fights in my stories. To get the adrenaline going for these intense scenes I always have movie soundtracks playing. If those songs are able to capture the ferocity of a war for a movie, then of course it can fuel the tension for our writing! I listen to these when I’m writing any scene that needs tension, so even arguments between dear friends have an epic soundtrack! Some of my favorites are:
Ben-Hur (Original Motion Picture Score)-The best songs being Chariots of Fire and Brother vs Brother, both are almost 5 minutes long so they should get you through that scene!
Pacific Rim Soundtrack from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures– The top two being Pacific Rim and Cancelling the Apocalypse.
Drop That– Jacob Plant (Yes..it’s from the adorable cartoon Home, but it’s so good!)
2) Fun/Party/Light-hearted Scenes

Parties are some of my favorite scenes to write because everything is so cheerful! But what’s a party without music? The music I use for inspiration here depends on which genre I’m writing, however the majority comes from jazz. Pop music is also great to play for these scenes. Here are my top picks:

La La Land (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)- This entire album is gold! However, specifically for parties and fun scenes, I recommend Another Day of Sun, Someone in The Crowd (this is actually a soundtrack for a party), and Start a Fire.

Better When I’m Dancin’– Meghan Trainor
Shut Up and Dance-Walk The Moon
Firework-Katy Perry,
Just Like Fire-P!ink
Dancing in the Dark– Rihanna


3) Sweet Romantic Scenes

Whether the genre of the book is “romance” or not, most writers love to include that little side love story that keeps the readers flipping the pages. The soft piano music in the background while our main character finally proposes captures those feelings perfectly. Of course, I’m recommending:

Ed Sheeran– Pretty much everything! But I’ll name some specifics ones: Perfect, Photograph, How Would You Feel(Paean) and Thinking Out Loud.
Just the Way You Are and Count on Me-Bruno Mars
Wanted, Still Fallin, and Cry With You-Hunter Hayes
I Won’t Give Up-Jason Mraz

4) Heartache Romance

Oh those heart-wrenching moments of breakups, sicknesses, or deaths most certainly blow us away and steal our breaths! Though I don’t mean to be stuck on Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, they are two of my most favorite artists and capture these feelings so well! So, I recommend the following songs:

Bruno Mars– When I was Your Man and Grenade are my “go-tos” here.
Ed Sheeran– Dive, Happier, and Save Myself.
James Arthur also has one called Can I Be Him that is wonderful!


5) Sad Scenes in General

It’s very hard for me to write sad scenes because I’m generally a very cheery person, however, a lot of my stories require at least a couple scenes that are sad. What better way to write a scene that will make the reader cry than by temporarily making ourselves sad by a tear-jerker song? Here are a few suggestions:

Don’t Take the Girl-Tim McGraw
Rainy Season– Hunter Hayes
Praying– Kesha


So there are some songs to help you feel the emotion that you are writing so that hopefully, your reader will feel them too!

Do any of you have any song suggestions that you listen to while you’re writing any of the above scenes? What about any songs that you listen to for emotions that I didn’t cover? I’d love to build my own playlist with your recommendations!

Thank you so much Naomi for having me here today!



Rayleigh is the Associate Editor and Web Manager for PURSUE Magazine in addition to writing in her monthly column, Tap Into Your Potential. She is a College Freshman with an Accounting major, Soon-to-be Novelist, and avid reader of classic literature. Visit Accelerate The Jesus Movement for short-stories/snippets of life, Literature Approved for book reviews, and Pursue Magazine for her column articles.




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3 responses to “Writing Emotion With Music

  1. Thanks so much for having me Naomi!!!

  2. Pingback: Writing Emotion With Music – Accelerate the Jesus Movement