I also do a lot of my writing at home, and absolute silence isn’t possible there. Even buried away in my bedroom, I can hear conversations and televisions. The programs of choice while I was writing The Princess and the Pea were Star Trek: The Next Generation, Everybody Loves Raymond and historical documentaries.
This is distracting for more than one reason. The television sounds drew me out of my writing, but I also just really like watching Star Trek with my sister. I would catch myself listening, trying to figure out the plot from the snatches of dialog I could hear. What was Picard doing? Were the Romulans up to no good? (Of course they were.)
If I let myself listen for too long, I would end up leaving my room to go watch Star Trek. The laugh track from Everyone Loves Raymond was also a big distraction. People were having fun without me! Sure, they were an audience on a television show, but they were having fun and I wanted in!
So, I gave up the idea of writing in silence and prepared an epic playlist to block out distracting sounds. The songs were chosen for a variety of reasons. I listened to them on shuffle and just kept skipping until I found something that fit the scene I was writing.
In no particular order, here’s a few of my favorite songs from the playlist. These are the songs I used to set the mood for major scenes.
Centuries by Fall Out Boy
I’ve always liked this song. I’m not sure why. Fall Out Boy isn’t my usual jam. Let’s be honest, I’m a classical pianist. Debussy is my usual jam. But this song has just the right mix of energy and angst to get me in the writing mood. The beat is also the perfect speed for me to type in rhythm while bobbing my head. I also sing along in my best opera voice sometimes.
My favorite part is “heavy metal broke my heart” at 0:45. The harmony at “heart” gets me every time. Really, I wait for it and throw my hands in the air every time.
The lyrics in the chorus are also perfect. I think it captures Lina’s determination to finish her mission. She’s the legend that turned to gold. Luca turned to dust.
Silhouette by Owl City
Owl City makes up a disproportionate number of the songs in my writing playlists. My roommate and I listened to Owl City a lot in college. We saw him in concert. Maybe the fond memories I have with this music kick something in that jump starts my creativity.
Or maybe I’m just a huge Adam Young fan. I really love his style. His music inspires my writing so much that I named a character after him. (Not in this book. In another series that will hopefully be coming out soon.)
Most Owl City music is energetic. Silhouette brings it down and is perfect for writing melancholy scenes. Such as when Lina wakes up and realizes just how long she has been asleep. Listen to the words with her in mind, and you’ll see what I mean.
This could be one of Lina’s theme songs. I think it captures her quiet determination to keep going even though she’s lost everyone she fought to protect.
Wake Me Up by Avicii
I feel like this one might be a bit obvious in a book about a character who wakes up from an enchanted sleep, but I love writing to Avicii. His beats are perfect for tapping toes and typing fingers. I usually end up dancing when this song comes on. It is great motivation to keep going when I’m in a bit of a writing slump. The pure energy in the hook keeps me going when the going gets rough.
Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars
This song is one of my standard writing songs. I think it has made it into every writing playlist I’ve made. It always stirs up the emotions I need to write sad scenes. (I haven’t even seen the Hunger Games movies, although I have read the books. I just really like this song.)
The lyrics fit The Princess and the Pea, as Lina wants to keep Aeonia safe and sound. I picture her singing it to Luca before she falls into the enchanted sleep. She wants to save him, and this is the only way. The instrumental that kicks in around 2:15 could be the spell swirling around her as she sacrifices herself to save her brother.
Hmm, this is sounding more and more like The Hunger Games. Maybe I should have given her a magic bow and arrow.
My Immortal by Evanescence
This is one of my favorite Evanescence songs, but I actually added it to the playlist after I finished the book. I was working on the cover, and it just popped into my head. I listened to it twice, and couldn’t believe how perfectly it fit the story.
Seriously, though. I think this is the perfect theme song for Lina and Luca. Listen carefully to the lyrics. It almost sounds like they were written to go with the story.
Bring Me To Life by Evanescence
After I added “My Immortal,” I couldn’t resist adding this one. If Lina was going to have a really epic waking up scene, I think this should be the soundtrack. Probably for the second time she wakes up. It really captures the struggle she faces after she is unconscious from her battle with Nog. I also think it fits Lina and Alaric’s relationship. I’m not sure she would have woken up if not for him.
Intro 2 by NF
I love NF’s energy and emotional drive. This song doesn’t really have anything to do with the story. Except for the first line. “I’m back, did anyone miss me?” I can make an argument for any song to fit a story. I learned how in college. That’s what I get for studying writing and music.
This is more of a pre-writing, get pumped up song than something I would actually listen to while I was writing. NF’s energy, passion, and confidence gave me the courage to write honest scenes and keep going no matter what anyone said.
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A. G. Marshall
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