There are a few artists/albums I listen to all the time, no matter what I'm writing. Taylor Swift is my absolute favorite singer, so she's somebody I listen to a lot. I also love The Civil Wars, "The Fault In Our Stars" and "The Hunger Games" soundtracks, OneRepublic, Lorde, Imagine Dragons, and the music from "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock."
But then I also have specific soundtracks I create for each book I'm working on. I love to picture my books as movies (I even cast certain actors and actresses as each of my characters), so the soundtrack is basically the list of music that would play at different parts of the story. Luckily I'm not someone who gets easily distracted by lyrics, so I can listen to it and write at the same time. Here are some soundtrack examples:
August Knight and the Sword of Gold
I'm still working on this one, but so far the songs on this soundtrack are "Wonderland" by Taylor Swift and "Run Boy Run" by Woodkid. I got the 1989 soundtrack right at the beginning of November, so that album always reminds me of NaNoWriMo. As soon as I heard "Wonderland" I knew it fit with my book. I kept thinking about the magical land the characters get sucked into, Librum, when I listened to it. And "Run Boy Run" is pretty self-explanatory. August and his friends do a lot of running. There's a lot of action and danger in the book.
Beneath the Moon and Stars
This is my favorite soundtrack, and it's also one of the longest. I listened to all of these songs constantly before making it, so it wasn't hard to put together at all. These songs are all kind of sad or bittersweet, a lot more mellow.
"Beneath Your Beautiful" by Labrinth feat. Emeli Sandé
"Dark Days" by Punch Brothers
"I'm Alone With You" by Weeping Radish
"Sad Beautiful Tragic" by Taylor Swift
"Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane (This would be the song playing during credits.)
"Say Something" by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera (This was the first song to end up on the soundtrack. As soon as I heard it, I knew I'd use it.)
"Wait" by M83
"All of the Stars" by Ed Sheeran
"Long Way Down" by Tom Odell (I've always imagined this song playing in the background during a specific scene towards the end of the book where Kya and Lane are in the grocery store.)
"Lay Me Down" by Sam Smith
"All of Me" by John Legend
"Stay or Leave" by Dave Matthews (This is another song that I've imagined playing during a specific scene. Kya and Lane dance at a New Year's Eve party, and I never mention what song they're dancing to, but this song's always played in my head when I write/edit it.)
"Photograph" by Ed Sheeran (This song would play at the end of the movie, right before the credits.)
"Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift
"Tenerife Sea" by Ed Sheeran
"You Are In Love" by Taylor Swift (This is basically Lane's theme song.)
This soundtrack is a little more upbeat, lots of pop, lots of songs you'd hear on the radio. I can totally imagine Cosmo and Celeste rocking out to some of these in Cosmo's bedroom.
"Change" by Taylor Swift
"Starlight" by Taylor Swift
"Raise Your Glass" by P!nk (There's a scene during a dance at Cosmo and Celeste's school where this song fits right in. Celeste puts it in as a request and dedicates it to all the outcasts that have been bullied there.)
"Same Love" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert
"Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield
"Fix You" by Coldplay
"Sweeter Than Fiction" by Taylor Swift
"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera
"Who Says" by Selena Gomez
"Roar" by Katy Perry
"Apologize" by OneRepublic
"Welcome to New York" by Taylor Swift (Cosmo is set in New York, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use this song. ;) )
The Fantasya trilogy
The songs on this soundtrack are very loud, big, uplifting. Definitely the kind of music you want for an MG fantasy book.
"Carry On" by Fun.
"Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne
"Gone, Gone, Gone" by Phillip Phillips
"Long Live" by Taylor Swift
"Beautiful Day" by U2 (This would play during the credits.)
"Unpack Your Heart" by Phillip Phillips
"Feel Again" by OneRepublic
If the soundtrack for BTMAS wasn't my favorite, this one would be. It's the longest, with lots of dark, haunting songs. A lot of them are from "Hunger Games" albums, because they fit the dystopian theme so well.
"Safe & Sound" by Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars
"My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark" by Fall Out Boy
"Atlas" by Coldplay
"Come & Get It"
"Not With Haste" by Mumford & Sons
"Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence
"The Ruler and the Killer" by Kid Cudi
"Place For Us" by Mikky Ekko
"Kiss Me" by Ed Sheeran
"What You Wanted" by OneRepublic
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Lorde
"Coming Home" by Sylar Grey
"We Remain" by Christina Aguilera
"Empire" by Shakira
"Burn" by Ellie Goulding
"Counting Stars" by OneRepublic (As I've mentioned before, this song in particular was a huge inspiration to me when I was writing the book. It fits Flynn and Raven's story so well.)
This soundtrack is very similar to the Fantasya one. I didn't want anything too depressing, because the book(s), while action-packed, are very hopeful. I also got introduced to more Imagine Dragons songs through this soundtrack because I loved "It's Time" so much.
"Secrets" by OneRepublic (I had to include this. It was too perfect.)
"I'm With You" by Avril Lavigne
"State of Grace" by Taylor Swift
"It's Time" by Imagine Dragons
"Catch My Breath" by Kelly Clarkson
Sing a Song of Raindrops
I tried to include a whole mix of music in this soundtrack, because the characters have such different tastes. The book also goes up and down, sometimes it's light-hearted and sometimes it's depressing, so I had the soundtrack mirror that.
"Too Late" by M83
"Angel on Fire" by Antony and the Johnsons (There's a character in this book that controls fire magic, so this fits perfectly.)
"Au Revoir" by OneRepublic
"Buzzcut Season" by Lorde
"Dead in the Water" by Ellie Goulding
"Freewill" by Rush
"Ho Hey" by The Lumineers
"Hopeless Wanderer" by Mumford & Sons
"If I Die Young" by The Band Perry
"In My Arms" by Plumb
"Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts
"Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons
"Starlight" by Muse
"We Own the Sky" by M83
"Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lorde
A lot of these songs remind me of songs that would be featured in the credits of a movie. I can easily imagine using "I Will Wait" or "Home" or "Counting On You" for the credits of The Sorceress.
"Eyes Open" by Taylor Swift (There's a battle scene towards the beginning of the book that I wrote while listening to this. I can almost guarantee that the scene wouldn't have turned out as well as it did if I hadn't been listening to it.)
"Kingdom Come" by The Civil Wars
"Lights" by Ellie Goulding
"Counting On You" by Mikey Wax
"Home" by Phillip Phillips
"Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol
"I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
"Just a Girl" by No Doubt (Anya isn't allowed to join the army because she's a girl, and she's often discriminated against because of her gender.)
"Gone" by Ionna Gika
"Human" by Christina Perri (People sometimes think Anya's invincible. They put all kinds of pressure on her to be perfect and never fail a battle. As someone who's only human, this wears on her.)
Do you listen to music while you write? Do you make soundtracks for your books? Why or why not? What are your favorite songs?
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