I was talking to a friend of mine recently and he said he was struggling with finding the voices for a couple of characters in a comic he was writing. I suggested he trying using music find their motivations and he told me he can't listen to music when he writes. I'm the same way actually, I need dead silence when I write, and explained that I listen to music before I write, to help get me inside a character's head.
What I do is look at what's coming up on my schedule and what I'll be writing on any given day. Then I'll create a playlist for a specific script or character I'll be working on. I put myself in that characters shoes or situation and figure out what music and bands they like and would be listening, not only in that setting, but in their lives in general. A lot of it's personality based too. Then I'll pop on my iPod and go for a walk around NYC or go and sit in a bar and listen to the mix while thinking about the story and the character(s). I find this gives me a better understanding of their personality and internal motivations, helps me better grasp their emotional state, and helps me work through their feelings and decisions. It also makes the dialogue flow more easily. Sounds crazy, I know, but it works.
I made specific mixes for all of the Loners characters as each issue is told from one of their perspectives. As an example, I thought I would share Darkhawk's playlist here, featuring a selection of sonds that got me into Mr. Chris Powell's charcater. Enjoy!
Break Stuff - Limp Bizkit
My Hero - Foo Fighters
When I Grow Up - Garbage
Name - Goo Goo Dolls
2000 Light Years Away - Green Day
Faint - Linkin Park
Shamrocks And Shenanegins (Butch Vig Remix) - House of Pain
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Rudderless - The Lemonheads
Shadow On The Sun - Audioslave
Juke Box Hero - Foreigner
Symphony Of Destruction - Megadeth
Adam's Song - Blink-182
Who Can It Be Now? - Men At Work
Big Dumb Sex - Soundgarden
Kickstart My Heart - Mötley Crüe
Epiphany - Staind
All Apologies - Nirvana
Head On - The Jesus & Mary Chain
Don't Follow - In Chains
I'm working on my Mystic Arcana: Sister Grimm special now so have Nico's Goth playlist in heavy rotation!