Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: August 9 – 15, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well.

Well…for me, this week was the last full week of summer before school starts back. (And a related heads-up – I’m starting school next week, so for the next few months, I probably won’t be posting as much, depending on my workload.) But it was a good week, I’d say. I’m back from Florida now, and on Tuesday night, I went to my first live concert since before the pandemic! It was Wilco and Sleater-Kinney – we came for Wilco, and they were INCREDIBLE! Gah, hearing them play “Ashes of American Flags” was so beautiful…

Reading-wise, it was a bit of a hit-or-miss week – I had some great read, but some that were just decent or meh. I got to go to the comics shop this week too, and I picked up some good stuff from there too! And what are the chances…I SAW SOMEBODY IN THE PARKING LOT WITH AN AURORA RISING BUMPER STICKER

The Muppets Screaming Gif - IceGif

Also, moment of silence for the fact that the Runaways comic ended…

Other than that, I’ve been slowly working my way through my sci-fi WIP, drawing, and getting everything ready for the start of school. It’ll be so good to actually see everybody in-person again…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Lifeline Signal (Chameleon Moon, #2) – RoAnna Sylver (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Lifeline Signal (Chameleon Moon, #2) by RoAnna Sylver

Suns Will Rise (System Divine, #3) – Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Suns Will Rise | Book by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell | Official Publisher  Page | Simon & Schuster

By the Book – Amanda Sellet (⭐️⭐️.5)

REVIEW: 'By the Book' by Amanda Sellet sells itself short - Bookstacked

Filthy Animals – Brandon Taylor (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard

Amazon.com: A Quiet Kind of Thunder: 9781534402416: Barnard, Sara: Books

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1) – Becky Chambers

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, 1): Chambers, Becky:  9781250236210: Amazon.com: Books

When My Heart Joins the Thousand – A.J. Steiger

Amazon.com: When My Heart Joins the Thousand: 9780062656476: Steiger, A.  J.: Books

The Ever Cruel Kingdom (The Never Tilting World, #2) – Rin Chupeco

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

Plain Bad Heroines – Emily M. Danforth, Sara Lautman (illustrations)

Book Review: Plain Bad Heroines - Belmont Public Library

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Music, writing

Writing Soundtracks: Songs and albums I listen to while I write, and tips for making writing playlists

Ooh, would you look at that! A new header!

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I got a notification this morning, and apparently I’ve had this blog running for…5 years? WHOAAAAA, OKAY, I FORGOT ABOUT THAT

I didn’t start semi-seriously book blogging until about a year ago, but thank you to everybody who has supported me along the way! (And for those of you who had to witness what this blog was like when I was in middle school…I’m terribly sorry for the horrors you experienced.)

ANYWAY, I figured I should start doing writing-related posts more frequently, so here’s my first(ish?) stab at it.

Many members of the writing community use music in a number of ways in the process of creating their WIP, be it picking specific songs or albums to listen to while writing, or creating book or character playlists. Music is an integral part of my life, and I’ve managed to weave it into my writing life as well. I always listen to music when I write, so I thought that I would first share some songs, albums, and scores that I like the most to get me writing my WIPs.

INSTRUMENTAL SCORES

I think there’s been several studies about how instrumental scores help with studying, but for a lot of people, music without lyrics is helpful to focus on their writing, and is less distracting than music with lyrics. I use a mix of music with and without lyrics in writing, but for those of you who are strictly instrumental, here are some of my favorite albums–mostly film scores, mind you–that I use when writing:

Danny Elfman - Hellboy 2 (OST) - Amazon.com Music

Hellboy II: The Golden Army original score–Danny Elfman

Yes, yes, I know I blab about this masterpiece quite a lot, but hey, it’s Danny Elfman doing the score–what’s not to like? The score ranges from whimsically spooky to action-packed to tear-jerking, so it’s perfect for writing scenes of all kinds.

Radiohead for Solo Piano | Josh Cohen

Radiohead for Solo Piano–Josh Cohen

Even if you aren’t familiar with Radiohead, this is a spectacular collection of their pieces adapted into instrumental, piano form. I particularly like “Motion Picture Soundtrack” and “Black Star.”

Trent Reznor / Atticus Ross: Watchmen (Music from the HBO Series ...

Watchmen original score–Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Much of this one is electronic, but with a wide range of moods; either way, it’s always catchy, and perfectly cinematic. Also, there’s a gorgeous instrumental cover of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?”, so of course I’d recommend it.

Anything by Jeff Russo, really

Russo has such a wide range, composition-wise, and every single score I’ve come across by him is nothing short of stellar. Some of my favorites include his scores for Legion (FX), and The Umbrella Academy (Netflix), but he’s also scored everything from Cursed to Lucy in the Sky and Fargo (the TV show)

NON-INSTRUMENTAL SONGS AND ALBUMS

I cram loads of music onto my writing playlists, but there’s several particular songs and albums that get me more focused/motivated/immersed in my writing than others, so here goes nothing…

Kid A Cover - How Radiohead's Most Alienating Album Got Its Cover

Kid A–Radiohead

Besides the fact that one of my WIPs features a character who is obsessed with this album, the sheer range of emotion in this album is stunning. Though it’s chiefly electronic, I’ve used these songs from everything from battle scenes to a funeral scene.

Recommended tracks:

Mitski: Bury Me at Makeout Creek Album Review | Pitchfork

Bury Me at Makeout Creek–Mitski

Another very emotional album, this one’s always great for writing scenes associated with any form of love, whether it’s the promise of it, being in the throes of it, or being apart from it. Then again, you’re talking to somebody who has had zero (0) experience with any sort of relationships, so take this as you will.

Recommended tracks:

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot By Wilco Album Cover Location

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot–Wilco

Apparently they called this album “the American Kid A” when it came out, so…did I cheat and put Kid A on here twice? If so, I don’t regret it.

Ranging from punchy, classic rock songs and dreamlike, melancholic hazes of emotion, I highly recommend this album for scenes charged with emotion–doesn’t matter what emotion we’re talking about, because there’s easily a song or two on here for everything.

Recommended tracks:

Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger in the Alps Album Review | Pitchfork

Stranger in the Alps–Phoebe Bridgers

Though I don’t like every song on the album, I’d say about 3/4 of it is positively stellar. Definitely on the sadder side, but it’s perfect for channeling strong emotion in your writing.

Recommended tracks:

David Bowie - Hunky Dory - Amazon.com Music

Hunky Dory–David Bowie

Besides being, y’know, the pinnacle of music, this one is chock-full of tracks that not only help me bring emotion and heart into my writing, but with songs that motivate me to write.

Recommended tracks:

GENERAL WRITING PLAYLIST TIPS

I saw a piece of advice the other day about making two writing playlists: listen to one of them while writing it, and a different one when you’re editing or making the second draft, so that you’re put into a different mindset while re-reading it.

For making the playlists themselves, I usually just dump several songs I like, and go through songs as I write. If there’s a song that takes me out of the writing or has been in circulation for a few times too many, I take it off and replace it.

Just for fun, here are snippets of mine:

And yes, I did color-coordinate the album covers. It’s fun…

(Or, alternatively, “the one that I accidentally dumped all the Weezer on” and “the one without any Weezer at all”)

I also like to cobble together playlists for each of my WIPs: here, I include songs with lyrics that relate to the story, or that just have the general vibe of the WIP. For some of them, I also create character playlists going off of the same rule. For my sci-fi book, there are six different perspectives (or, I’m going to make it that way once I get around to editing it), so I have a playlist for each of them. For my current WIP, however, there’s only one perspective, so I just keep it at the protagonist.

What do you think? What are your musical techniques for writing? What’s your favorite music to write to?

Since there’s a boatload of music in this post, consider the entire thing “today’s song.”

That’s it for this writing post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!