Writing Exercise: Music and Character

Think of a song or piece of music you absolutely detest so much it makes you clamp your hands over your ears. Could be a Christmas song, a hymn, a nursery ditty, or a classical piece. Maybe it’s a chart-topper by some formulaic, squeaky clean, put-together boy band.

Write a paragraph or two about this song. What do you dislike about it? Is it a repetitive dirge? Does the beat feels out of sync with the words? Is it so loud it makes your ears bleed? Write freely and really dig down deep inside yourself to get to the heart of what you dislike.

Next, think of your favourite song or piece of music – something that really speaks to you. What would you choose if you could only take one song to a desert island? Same again – write freely and get to the heart of what you love about this music. Which chords does it strike within you?

Note the emotions you experience when writing about these two songs.

Next make a list of the traits from each paragraph and take a few minutes to look over it. You might find your list comprises neat opposites or they could be a mix of subtle contradictions. Could be your likes and dislikes complement each other in a way that surprises you. You might even be shocked by the depth and strength of your feelings for each song.

Here’s the fun part. Let these traits merge together to form a character.

Now you’re going to become that character. Don’t spend too much time thinking about it, just start writing in the first person, as though you are inhabiting your character’s body.

Sticking to your list of traits, write about your greatest joys in life. Then, still in character and still bearing in mind those traits, write about your darkest fear. Write honestly and openly as though nobody will ever read it and if you get stuck, refer to your list of conflicting traits.

Happy Writing!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *