August 19

Creating Playlists: Where to Start?

We all know that, in my opinion, music is as important a part of the writing process as pen and paper (or, you know,  fingers and a laptop). Whenever someone is stuck on a scene, I tell them to make a new playlist. The other day, that suggestion was met with the following reply, “I don’t know how to make a playlist.”

STUNNED, you guys. I make playlists for everything in the world, far beyond my book-related ones. (Literally, aside from playlists for Between, Room for Two, and Finding, my iTunes library is divided into things like Sing in the Car, Cleaning, Worship, Move, Makes Me Smile, etc.)

After I thought about it a bit, I realized that, with all the very different types of music out there, creating a playlist can be pretty daunting. When I start a new book, I skim through my library and add any songs to the playlist that catch my eye as songs that might fit the mood of the story, a specific scene, or a character. (I end up with a silly number of songs at first, and then cut them out as I get to know the story better.)

But here, for you, I thought I’d give a few great artists and songs to start with when you’re looking for songs to fit specific moods.

Is your character in that “goofy in love, completely smitten with everything his/her love interest says or does” stage? You need Happy as the Sun by Tyrone Wells.

Every day with you just keeps getting better. The world’s as it should be when you are here with me.

What about the forever, committed kind of love? Soulmate love? I Choose you by Sara Barielles.

There was a time when I would’ve believed them if they told me you could not come true, just love’s illusion. Then you found me and everything changed. I believe in something again.

Just having a great day? Most of you know I hold a special place in my heart for On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons, and this live version rocks.

I could’ve gave up then, but then again I couldn’t have, ’cause I’ve traveled all this way for something.

What about something darker?

When your character is heartbroken, try Regina Spektor’s How.

Oh baby how can I begin again? How can I try to love someone new? Someone who isn’t you? How can our love be true? When I’m not over you? 

Depressed? Ben Folds Five’s Brick.

Now that I have found someone, I’m feeling more alone than I ever have before.

A few random notes….

Got a battle scene to deal with? The How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack is great for that.

Need a slow, haunting song? Rosie Thomas’s Farewell.

Longing for someone you can’t have? What I’d Give by Sugarland.

Need to love someone? Fall Into Me by Sugarland. (Yeah. That’s two in a row by them. I love that band.)

And let’s just go ahead and say that if you’re writing teen romance, you should go ahead and download Taylor Swift’s entire collection.

The main thing, is make a playlist YOU want to listen to. If you hate my style of music, take a moment and think about how wrong you are, and then look for songs that suit you. It should make you want to dive into that scene and deal with those characters. You should want to write just to get to listen to the specific mix you’ve put together.

What are some of your favorite mood-setting songs?