Do you listen to one kind of music when you write and another when you're plotting, building characters or worlds? I do, but I'm interested in hearing if others do.
For plotting a book, just sitting back (or when exercising) and thinking about the story, characters, the world, I usually set up a book specific playlist on my iPhone. My taste is all over the place, but when I'm plotting it's mostly alt, rock, prog, electronic:
Portugal the Man, Of Montreal, God Lives Underwater, Broken Bells, Birthday Massacre, Sneaker Pimps, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Tori Amos, Gentle Giant, Cocteau Twins, Gary Numan, Flower Travellin' Band, VAST, Kelli Ali, Team Sleep, The Cars, Eels, The Shins, Santogold, Deerhoof
(Flower Travellin' Band is one of my all time favorite prog bands—second to Gentle Giant. I started listening to them in high school when I lived in Japan, had Satori on cassette, vinyl, and now CD. http://www.flowertravellingband.com. FTB will always have a special place in my music collection).
I think the key is the playlist, the ability to put together large groups of songs from any number of artists. I'm not even sure if this would work for me with whole albums. Although I do have complete albums inside a single playlist, I don't listen to any of them in their original order.
The other key, again for me, is to build up a song list while I'm plotting, letting it grow with music that feels like it fits with the story, the characters, the world I'm creating. Some of the music moves from playlist to playlist. More than half the music in my COMIX playlist (CO = Captive Ocean, the original title for Seaborn) moved with me through Sea Throne and Saltwater Witch. The three books I've written since Sea Throne have their own playlists. And I'm currently in the process of building one for my current book.
It's funny, and says something about the power of music, but when I hear a song from a particular playlist, it almost always makes me think of a place in a story, a character, a particular bit of action. When I hear "Happy Birthday" from the Birthday Massacre—awesome band—it immediately takes me a mile underwater in the middle of the battle toward the end of Seaborn. In fact, I "choreographed" a significant piece of that chapter to Happy Birthday. Yeah, I'm using the term loosely, but at a dozen points in an almost four minute song, I can tell you exactly where Kassandra is in that chapter.
That was plotting.
When I write, I usually don't listen to the same playlist. Not that I abandon the plotting playlist, because I will listen to it over and over all the way through the writing process, even after the last page is written, using the music to go back and rethink scenes, motives, whole chapters. I just don't listen to the plotting playlist when my fingers are on the keyboard and dialogue is going through my head.
When writing, I usually listen to electronic, two favorites: Amon Tobin and Plaid.
Right now, seventeen thousand words into a near future tech thriller, I'm listening to Plaid's soundtrack for Tekkonkinkreet, which is unfortunately not available (Hoping that's not really the case, but I just looked for it and couldn't find it for sale anywhere, not iTunes, out of stock at Amazon, etc). Watch the movie. It's on iTunes. Hell, just watch the trailer all the way through to get a feel for the power of the music in Tekkonkinkreet. (http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/tekkonkinkreet) I'll just say, when someone makes a Seaborn movie, I want Plaid doing the music. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaid_(band)).
Electronic works for me while I write because it's less intrusive, or maybe a better way to put it is that electronic is not adversely intrusive. It's almost as if, when plotting the story, I want the music to intrude and become part of what I'm thinking, but when I'm actually writing it, I prefer something to help me slip into the POV's head and see the world through his or her eyes.
So, do you listen to music while writing, plotting, or just thinking about the story? Who are your favorite artists? Do you listen to different kinds of music during different phases of writing? Where is music in your writing, editing, revising process?