TCWT Blog Chain: Music and Writing

The prompt for this month’s Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain is:

“How does music relate to your writing?” 

Music is such a big thing for me. These days I pretty much always write to movie scores, because they help get (and keep) me in the mindset to work, and they can be great for getting me in the mood for writing certain things. (So like if I need to write something sad, you know what’s wonderful for that? HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 2.) My favorite composer is Hans Zimmer, but I also listen to a lot of scores from James Horner and James Newton Howard.

I’ve posted before about how when I work on a novel, I generally end up with a single score that I listen to nonstop while writing (check that post out here), but there are also a lot of scores I listen to that aren’t connected to a specific novel.

They’re all great for their own reasons, so I figured I’d share some of them today.

The Theory of Everything by Johann Johannsson

This is one of the two movie scores I’m currently obsessed with. The entire score is beautiful, but I’m especially in love with the opening song here. I love how playful and almost desperately hopeful it is, and the way the music feels like it, I don’t know, blossoms. I especially love how listening to it reminds me of how being at Oxford felt (which makes sense, since it’s about Cambridge).

Interstellar by Hans Zimmer

This is the other score I’m currently obsessed with. I wasn’t a huge fan of it the first time I saw Interstellar, but after the second time it got stuck in my head and now I can’t stop listening to it. This track (“Stay”) is especially good. It makes me want to write desperate, scared, hopeful things.

The Amazing Spider-Man by James Horner

I mainly love this score because it sounds so similar to my favorite of James Horner’s scores, Titanic. I wrote the novel I’ve been working on the past few years to Titanic, and have kept listening to it during the billions of rounds of revisions since, so it’s nice to have another score to fall back on that’s still similar but also different.

The Dark Knight (Rises) by Hans Zimmer (and James Newton Howard)

So really just all the music from the Dark Knight trilogy is fantastic. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard collaborated in composing for the first two films, then Zimmer did the last one alone. These scores are great for really intense stuff, especially action sequences.

“Aurora” by Hans Zimmer

Not an actual film score, but so heartbreaking and haunting. Zimmer wrote this after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado opening night of The Dark Knight Rises, with proceeds going to the victims’ families, and it incorporates motifs from the Dark Knight trilogy.

The Hunger Games Series by James Newton Howard

I’m honestly not a huge fan of a lot of these scores. I thought the first was excellent, then it’s been downhill from there. But each movie does have some really great parts, especially when the arena collapses at the end of Catching Fire. These scores are wonderful for emotional, action-y stuff.

The Chronicles of Narnia Series by Harry Gregson-Williams

These were the scores that first got me into listening to scores. Gregson-Williams’s work on Narnia is absolutely gorgeous. Light when need be, heavy and pounding in the battle sequences. I used to listen to these on long car rides heading up north to ski, notebook open across my lap and farm fields frozen and sparkling beyond the windows.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Howard Shore

I don’t actually write to The Lord of the Rings scores that much, but these are AMAZING for homework. It makes writing papers feel like going on adventures.

Do you like to write to music? What kinds? Do you have any favorite movie scores to recommend?

Like this blog chain topic? Check out the rest of the posts throughout the month.

6th and





11th and


13th and


15th and

16th and

17th and

18th and



21st and

22nd and


24th and


26th and

27th and

28th – (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)


19 thoughts on “TCWT Blog Chain: Music and Writing

  1. Huh, I thought I commented. Sorry for being late! At any rate, I just have to say that the LOTR soundtrack is fantastic, but I never say no to Batman or Narnia, either—they come up all the time on my Pandora station. 🙂 These are great choices!


  2. Oh gosh I LOVE these scores! Hans Zimmer is just wonderful – I mean, six tenor trombones and SIX BASS TROMBONES in the orchestra for Inception! I get giddy just thinking about what it must’ve been like to play in that.
    And argh, I’m dying to see Interstellar! That track is such a teaser…


  3. I love so many of these scores, especially Interstellar. Movie scores in general have a very atmospheric feel that makes me feel as if I’m in that particular scene I’m writing. Great post!


  4. Oh my GOODNESS but HANS ZIMMER. And LOTR music. And basically everything on this list. I think movie music is so great for writing because they were written to set the atmosphere for a particular scene, and it’s so easy to figure out which piece you want. I, for one, manage to slip Star Wars music into every writing playlist ever.


  5. Dude, I love writing to film scores. One of my friends got me really hooked on them and now I can’t stop. They’re great because they can create such strong emotions without having words that distract me from writing. I love all the ones you listed. I’m also a big fan of Jeremy Zuckerman’s scores. The soundtrack from Orphan Black is really good too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything Jeremy Zuckerman’s scored, but I’ll make sure to check out his stuff. 🙂 And yes! Really everything about Orphan Black. That show’s amazing.


      • Jeremy Zuckerman composed the music for the shows Avatar The Last Airbender, and The Legend of Korra (which I’m kind of a super fan of). Also, yes Orphan Black is fantastic! I can’t wait for the next season. So good.


  6. Brah, James Newton Howard is a huge fave of mine. Including the Hunger Games scores, haha. I wouldn’t agree with you about them declining in quality, personally, but of course we have different taste.

    In other news, I hope John looks at those tags.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my gosh, I’m so glad that I found your blog, because we seem to have really similar tastes in music! I adore film scores, and Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard are some of my favorites. I FREAKING LOVE THE DARK KNIGHT SCORES. I was listening to them today, in fact! “Stay” is another current favorite.

    Ooh, I’m with you about the THG scores – the first one was lovely, but the other two weren’t all that great. :/ They were OK, I guess.

    Have you seen “The Imitation Game”? Its score was composed by Alexandre Desplat, another of my all-time favorites – and he composed for the final two HP movies, as well! Anyway, TIG’s score is AMAZING. It’s been nominated for an Oscar, along with Interstellar and a few others. 🙂
    Lovely post!


    • I’m so weirdly happy to find someone else who doesn’t absolutely adore the THG scores haha.

      Yes! Alexandre Desplat is amaaazing. I love that score (and of course his work on HP). Conrad Pope (Desplat’s orchestrator on the last two HPs, along with a billion other movies) gave a guest lecture here on Monday and it was so cool to get a glimpse into the process. He said Desplat’s incredible to work with.

      I have no idea who I want to win the Oscar this year. I love so many of the scores they’ve nominated.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.