I know every writer is different, some of my friends need absolute silence when working while other’s need music blasting in their headphones. Some like to have their favorite TV shows or movies playing in the background, and others enjoy the soft melody of meditation music. For me, it depends on which part of the process I’m working on.
For example, when I’m just starting a new project (I’m talking jotting ideas and character sketches into a notebook here) I make a playlist for the work. I fill it with songs that convey the tone and themes of the book idea. Then, as I start plotting, I edit the playlist to fit the characters moods throughout their journey. The sharper the manuscript gets, the more defined the playlist gets.
For Ember of Night, my young adult paranormal romance, I have a specific song for each chapter of the book. I listened to that playlist probably over a thousand times over the course of writing it. If I ever got stuck in a scene, I’d take a step away from my desk, turn on the playlist, and let my mind drift into the mood of the song to help me fall back into that world.
When I’m actually writing, I love to listen to movie scores. I even have a separate playlist for my books that usually consists of my idea of the score of the book. There is something about the moving instrumentals that help me hone in my focus while meeting the deadlines to get the words on the page.
When I’m editing the book or doing a re-read before an edit, I usually have the original playlist on in the background. It’s easier to listen to the one with worded songs while editing for me than it is when I’m writing from scratch.
And it never fails, one of the most exciting things about a new project for me, beyond the idea, is the playlist to accompany it. It’s a signal to my creative spark that this idea is being taken seriously, that now I’m taking it from just scribbles in my notebook to sounds in my ears. To emotions evoked from the songs.
Ember of Night has a ton of songs that are super meaningful to me and to the story, but if I had to choose the most influential song on the list it would be Love the way you Lie – Part III by Skylar Grey. It’s one of the first songs that made the playlist when my editor and I were sharpening the ideas behind Ember of Night, and it really conveys the charged and edgy energy that Harley’s character has. A song on the playlist that I would say fits Draven’s character and his situation perfectly is Power Over Me by Dermot Kennedy.
Music is crucial for me while writing—Harley even attends a concert by the amazing Bishop Briggs in the book. It’s always the top item listed when I’m asked what I absolutely have to have in order to sit down and write. Whether it’s songs or scores, no deadline is complete without the playlists! And I’m always grateful to the artists who create such amazing pieces that offer inspiration to the worlds I’m creating.