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!

Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (7/18/20)–Books You Own 📚

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is books that you own. (Probably shouldn’t have done a book tag based on books I own yesterday…whoops…) I’ll try to pick some that I don’t talk about as much.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR JULY: 

7/4/20 — Coming of Age

7/11/20 — Hyped Books

7/18/20 — Books You Own

7/25/20 —  #OwnVoices Books

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post (This one!)
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

TOP 5 SATURDAY (7/18/20)–BOOKS YOU OWN

Zodiac (Zodiac, #1), Romina Russell

Zodiac by Romina Russell – quirkyandpeculiar

I got this one a few years back, and though my memory’s shaky on it, I remember it being fun. (I mean, I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, so that must count for something…) I only got up to book 2, but I’ll think I’ll start back up again because I NEED some good sci-fi in my life…even though I don’t remember what happened in book 2…

The Hawkweed Prophecy, Irena Brignull

Book Review: "The Hawkweed Prophecy" by Irena Brignull | The Young ...

I got this one as an Easter gift a few years back.

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus, #1), Jonathan Stroud

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud - The Literary Phoenix

At some point in middle school, my class did some sort of book exchange; each one of us brought in a book, and we closed our eyes, passed the books around, and ended up with one of our classmate’s books to read. I got this one from an old friend, and it’s an autographed copy, too!

Doll Bones, Holly Black

Doll Bones: Black, Holly, Wheeler, Eliza: 9781416963998: Amazon ...

I bought this one for an overnight trip with my school, and I have fond memories of reading it.

Monstrous (Monstrous, #1), MarcyKate Connolly

Monstrous: Connolly, MarcyKate, Young, Skottie: 9780062272720 ...

SUCH an underrated middle grade series. Maybe this is why I love Frankenstein so much now–that, and the undeniable influence of Frankenweenie.

Frankenweenie GIF - Find on GIFER

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Bookshelf GIFs | Tenor

Today’s song:

(I love how his YouTube playlists are divided into “Radiohead covers” and “not Radiohead covers” 🤣)

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags, Books

Do I Have That Book? Book Tag

Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I hope today finds you all safe, healthy, and in good spirits.

I found this tag over at Words and Stitches, and the tag was originally created by Keeping Tabs on Booktube. It sounded like a super fun tag, and I’m excited to participate!

Rules

1. Time yourself trying to find each prompt on your shelf
2. Try and beat the time of the person who challenged you.

3. Don’t forget to tag your challenger and the original creator!
4. Have fun!

Let’s begin, shall we?

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH DECKLED EDGES?

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess ...

Yep! The Tale of Despereaux has been on my shelf for quite a while, and it definitely has deckled edges.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH THREE OR MORE PEOPLE ON THE COVER?

The Ruby Key (Moon & Sun, #1) by Holly Lisle

The Ruby Key features a trio on the cover! I got this one as a Christmas gift.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK BASED ON ANOTHER FICTIONAL STORY?

I own a few retellings, but they’re all based on real-life events, so…

Danny Devito No GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH A TITLE 10 LETTERS LONG?

A Map of Days: The Fourth Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar ...

[frantically scours bookshelf] AHA! A Map of Days!

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH A TITLE THAT STARTS AND ENDS WITH THE SAME LETTER?

Amazon.com: Soul of Stars eBook: Poston, Ashley: Kindle Store

Soul of Stars–Ashley Poston

DO YOU HAVE A MASS-MARKET PAPERBACK?

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet): Card, Orson Scott: 8601401251873 ...

I got Ender’s Game from my school library, but it was originally a mass-market paperback.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WRITTEN BY AN AUTHOR USING A PEN NAME?

Magicians Nephew Study Guide | Progeny Press Literature Curriculum

This isn’t the edition I have, but I have almost the entire Chronicles of Narnia.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH A CHARACTER’S NAME IN THE TITLE?

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle Book 1) eBook: Kaufman ...

Dread it…

Run from it…

Aurora Rising still arrives…

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH TWO MAPS IN IT?

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK THAT WAS TURNED INTO A TV SHOW?

Amazon.com: Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy) [Assorted Cover image ...

Shadow and Bone is soon to be a TV show…

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WRITTEN BY SOMEONE WHO WAS ORIGINALLY FAMOUS FOR SOMETHING ELSE? (CELEBRITY/ATHLETE/POLITICIAN/TV PERSONALITY ETC.)

Oh No Pikachu Gif - IceGif

N/A for this one…

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH A CLOCK ON THE COVER?

The Witches - Scholastic Shop

The Witches–Roald Dahl

DO YOU HAVE A POETRY BOOK?

Amazon.com: Tennyson: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets ...

I bought this lovely collection of Tennyson’s poetry last year!

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH AN AWARD STAMP ON IT?

The Sun Is Also a Star Collector's Edition (Signed Book) by Nicola ...

The Sun is Also a Star–Nicola Yoon

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WRITTEN BY AN AUTHOR WITH THE SAME INITIALS AS YOU?

Mmmm…I don’t think so…

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK OF SHORT STORIES?

The Illustrated Man: Bradbury, Ray: 8601400321720: Amazon.com: Books

The Illustrated Man–Ray Bradbury

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK THAT IS BETWEEN 500-510 PAGES LONG?

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe): 9781534417861: Amazon.com: Books

Thunderhead is 504 pages long!

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK THAT WAS TURNED INTO A MOVIE?

Amazon.com: Everything, Everything (9780553496673): Yoon, Nicola ...

I haven’t seen the movie adaptation, but Everything, Everything was recently turned into a movie.

DO YOU HAVE A GRAPHIC NOVEL?

Amazon.com: Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal (Ms. Marvel Series) eBook ...

I have a shelf dedicated to graphic novels, some of which being G. Willow Wilson’s (AMAZING) run on Ms. Marvel.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WRITTEN BY TWO OR MORE AUTHORS?

Amazon.com: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files) (9780553499117): Amie ...

Illuminae–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICPATE! Feel free to do the timed part of it, I just chose not to, but do whatever you’d like. 🙂

Thumbs up for Dropbox | Gif pictures, Cute gif, Animated images

Today’s song:

I just discovered Josh Cohen on YouTube, and he does the most STUNNING piano covers! I highly recommend that you listen to his stuff 🙂

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