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 Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: August 3-9, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

First and foremost, I hit 200 followers this week! (I’m currently at about 207, I think.) But I’d just like to give each and every one of you a big thank you for your endless love and support.

wholesome memes, aesthetic, cats and love and affection memes ...

I’ve definitely had a nice week. I spent a few days in Vail with my family, and we did lots of walking amongst flowers and eating too much sugar, so that was a lovely reprieve from the monotony of 2020 life. (Also, writing in a bunk bed is on another level of good vibes.) As far as writing goes, I’ve finally decided to resume writing my paranormal fantasy WIP, and that’s been fun to get back into the groove. All I’ll tell you so far is that it draws a lot of inspiration from Hellboy/B.P.R.D. and Guillermo del Toro, and there’s quite a lot of sarcasm, amphibious creatures, and questionable magic afoot.

As far as reading goes, the 4-5 star high capped off last week, and I’ve had almost entirely 3 star reads this week. I got another library haul yesterday, so hopefully that’ll help pick things back up again, but only time will tell.

Other than that, I’ve started catching up on season 2 of The Umbrella Academy, started watching Devs ([loud screaming]), and I’ve been rewatching What We Do in the Shadows with my family so that we can get my brother into it. (We’ve already blown through the whole first season) I also watched I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which was lovely.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Shadow Wand (The Black Witch Chronicles, #3)–Laurie Forest (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Shadow Wand (The Black Witch Chronicles Book 3) (English ...

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals–Sy Montgomery (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals ...

A World Without You–Beth Revis (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

A World Without You by Beth Revis

Starswept–Mary Fan (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Starswept: Mary Fan: 9781946202277: Amazon.com: Books

The Good for Nothings–Danielle Banas (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Good for Nothings eBook: Banas, Danielle: Kindle Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Ice Wolves (Elementals, #1)–Amie Kaufman

Ice Wolves (Elementals, #1) by Amie Kaufman

Blanca & Roja–Anna-Marie McLemore

Amazon.com: Blanca & Roja (9781250162717): McLemore, Anna-Marie: Books

Show Me a Sign–Ann Clare LeZotte

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte - Hardcover Book - The Parent ...

On a Sunbeam–Tillie Walden

Amazon.com: On a Sunbeam eBook: Walden, Tillie: Kindle Store

Tarnished Are the Stars–Rosiee Thor

Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

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 Book Tags, Books

The First Draft Book Tag (ORIGINAL BOOKISH MUTANT BOOK TAG!)

Credit to original background image: unknown

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I decided to make another book tag; this one’s centered around everything that goes into writing the first draft of…well, anything, be it a novel, a short story, or a script. I…suppose I’m qualified? I’ve finished the first drafts of a novel and a short story so far, but this one is aimed at all of my fellow writers/aspiring writers. Definitely less…[ahem] niche than my last book tag, but if any of my newer followers are interested, here’s my other original book tag–it’s all about Radiohead. 🙂

RULES:

  • Credit the creator of the tag (Yours truly, The Bookish Mutant)
  • Feel free to use my graphics, as long as you credit me!
  • Answer the questions to the best of your ability
  • Tag as many people as you want
  • Have fun, and keep on reading and writing! The world needs your creativity!

Let’s begin, shall we?

Credit to original background image: unknown
Amazon.com: The Deep eBook: Solomon, Rivers, Diggs, Daveed, Hutson ...

The Deep, even though it was very short, was brimming with inventive concepts–everything from the evolutions of merpeople to their culture.

Sky Without Stars (System Divine, #1) by Jessica Brody

Sky Without Stars is nearly 600 pages long, and even though I read too fast for my own liking, it was still no surprise how long it took for me to get through it. 100% worth it in the end, though.

(In the writing world, planners are those who outline much of their idea before writing it down.)

The Smoke Thieves Series, Book 1 - Sally Green | EpubPub

Every aspect of The Smoke Thieves showed a clear attention to detail, from the history to the social/political structures. One of the best fantasy series that I’ve ever come across!

(In contrast to planners, pantsers are those who decide to not outline at all, and let the novel carry them as they write it down.)

Furyborn (Empirium Trilogy Series #1) by Claire Legrand, Paperback ...

Another noteworthy fantasy, Furyborn was packed with all kinds of magical action sequences and political intrigue.

Amazon.com: Night Owls and Summer Skies (9781989365250): Sullivan ...

Ugh…don’t even get me started on how much of a train wreck Night Owls and Summer Skies was…

Amazon.com: Soul of Stars (9780062847331): Poston, Ashley: Books

Looking back, the ending of Soul of Stars was almost *too* neatly wrapped up, but judging from how much the crew of the Dossier went through to get to it, I think it fit well with the rest of the story.

I TAG:

Since I already posted once today, check out today’s Goodreads Monday if you’d like to see today’s song.

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

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (2/10/20)-Final Draft

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Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

While scouring the middle reaches of my TBR, this book stood out to me, especially from the synopsis; aside from the shenanigans that ensue from the switching of a creative writing teacher ([mournful sigh], oh, how I wish my school had more English options…[single tear slides down cheek]), the main character seems…a bit like me. Or, how I want to be, at least.

Image result for you're like me gif

Ooo…

GOODREADS MONDAY (2/10/20)-FINAL DRAFT by Riley Redgate

Image result for final draft riley redgate

Blurb from Goodreads: 

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.

 

So why do I want to read this? 

As a young, aspiring writer myself, I’m intrigued to see how–or if–I relate to Laila. Beyond that, I’m interested to see how the near-fall-from-grace plotline is handled, tightroping the line between approval from others and mental stability.

Oh, hey, and I just noticed…

…IT’S SHELVED AS LGBTQ+ ON GOODREADS!

SUCCESS!

Image result for taste the rainbow gif

 

Today’s song:

hadakjsdkajshkdjashdkjaskjhj such a good cover eeee

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

Posted in Random, Stories, writing

On Writing, and Overcoming Unexpected and Frustrating Obstacles

Two posts? In one day? It’s more likely than you think.

 

The other day, I added a little image to the sidebar of this blog, the winner image for NaNoWriMo 2019. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers post about their progress with it, but I neglected to even think about updating my progress on here, for no apparent reasons other than my inherent laziness. But yes, I did participate in NaNoWriMo 2019 (It’s a lovely program for all you writers/aspiring writers, if you haven’t tried it out). 2019 was my third year participating, and I can speak to the amazing results that it produces. 20,000 words, people, 20,000 words!

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And on that subject…yes, I love to write. I want to be a writer when I get older, and I’ve currently got 3 WIPs in progress…none of them even close to finished, but we’ll just ignore that. Even though I wanted to go into biology until about middle school, I think that my passion for writing’s always been there, it just took me a while to realize that it was more of a passion than a hobby. (*glances at my current grade in Honors Bio* yeeeeesh, okay, goodbye, biology…) Currently, I’m not super comfortable with sharing the premises of said WIPs, but one of my goals in 2020 is to try and overcome that fear, little by little. I mean, I’ve got to do it eventually if I want to get these bad boys published…

Two of my three WIPs are kind of on hold at the moment, as I kind of hit a lag of inspiration for both of them. That, and both of them were written before it dawned on me that I should probably outline things before I write them down.

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[present self glares at past self]
The third one was the one that I started during NaNoWriMo 2019. For now, all I’ll say is that Star Wars was a major, major influence on it, and it involves a lot of patriarchy smashing, rock music, and reluctant familial bonds.

On the subject of said sci-fi WIP, I encountered a problem with it the other day. I had about a half an hour before I was going to leave to see The Rise of Skywalker with my family, and I decided to crank out some writing. I’d gotten to a scene that I’d played over innumerable times in my head, and I was absolutely ecstatic to get back to writing. But…all of my dreams were crushed when I opened up the file and got a series of messages about invalid file formats and Pages not being able to read it. With a little help from my mom (thank you so much for trying to help, by the way) and the internet (thanks for nothing, Mr. “Your file is probably toast”…I mean, you were right, but…), I tried to do technological CPR on my writing, but to no avail. I was considerably frustrated and distraught at the thought of almost 40,000 words, 60 pages, and many long hours of writing had promptly been flushed away.

But after the initial shock (and a healthy dose of Star Wars), I decided to try and turn my attitude around. Maybe this could be a growing opportunity, an opportunity to start all over, but with some different elements. I’d wanted to change my perspective from 1st to 3rd person anyway, right? And so, I polished up what’s done of my outline, (See, past self? It’s not so bad…), and I started the WIP over last night. (And I actually saved the file to my computer and backed it up on my Writing flashdrive, so that’s probably a better idea.) I’m only at about 1 1/2 pages and barely 1,000 words, but hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere.

Moral of the story? Anything can be an opportunity to start anew. Whether or not you’re dealing with an uncooperative Pages file, starting over, though it can be awfully tedious, is not your enemy.

Oh, also, save important documents in more than one place. That’s always helpful.

Posted in Book Tags, Books

Autumn Book Tag–Are You Ready for Sweater Weather?

That’s right! A perfect tag for SPOOKY SEASON!

This tag was created by Jenn @ Jenniely, and all of the tag headers in this post are from her original post. I was tagged by A Little Haze Book Blog (THANK YOU!), and I’m so excited to do this tag! 🙂

 

Autumn-Tag-Jenniely.jpg

Hot Chocolate: What is your comfort book? 

Sci-fi books are usually my comfort book; more specifically, those who have an extra-special place in my heart, such as The Search for WondLa trilogy, the Heart of Iron duology, and Aurora Rising.

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Pumpkin Carving: What is your favorite creative outlet?

Ooh…probably a toss-up between drawing and writing. I’ve loved to draw since I was little, and I usually like to experiment with pencils, ink pens, markers, and, as of now, a bit of watercolor.

As far as writing goes, I’d like to be an author someday. I try to write every night, and my mind is absolutely filled to the brim with all manner of story ideas. I mean, I’ve gotta let ‘em out somehow, right?

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Falling Leaves: Changes that appear bad that you secretly love

In a weird way, the first week of school always makes me a little nostalgic. I know, I know…school…but hey, there’s very little homework, and often times, it’s the first time you get to see all of your friends again after three months apart. It was better in preschool, but the first week is still oddly nice.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte: Something you love that others tend to judge

I mean, I know I’m not exactly a minority here, but I LOVE cats. It’s so strange that cats and dogs are such a polarizing subject: people either seem to adore them, or think that they’re heartless goblins bent on destruction. I’ve been around cats for as long as I can remember, and they’ve been my constant companions through thick and thin, always there to be adorable or snuggle with while I watch movies.

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Bonfire Night: What makes you explode with joy?

Going to see a movie or picking up a new book that you’ve been waiting for anxiously, and realizing that it was even better than you expected it to be. It’s the little things.

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Fright Night: Favorite Scary Book or Film

I’ve never been one for horror–movies or books. I mean, I totally chickened out on Aliens (1986), if that’s any indication.

However, I’m all for something spooky–just don’t give me much suspense, and I’ll be just fine.

In that creepy-but-not-nightmare-inducing vein, I’d have to say the Hellboy comics, and the Guillermo del Toro adaptations. NOT the 2019 reboot, mind you. Hellboy and that related universe will eternally have a special place in my heart.

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Halloween Candy: Favorite sweets to eat

Candy corns,  York peppermint patties, and anything with Oreos/oreo chunks in it.

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Scarves: Your must-have autumn accessory

October’s the perfect jacket season. I always like wearing my denim or leather jacket in Autumn, but I’ve got a soft spot for one jacket in particular; it’s black, with David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane lightning bolt on the back, and my collection of enamel pins and buttons on the front.

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Fire: A book or film that burns your soul

As far as books go, I’d definitely have to say Frankenstein. I haven’t gotten around to re-reading since I first bought it, but it’s left a permanent mark on my soul, to be sure.

For movies, hands-down, it’s The Shape of Water. Such a beautifully thought-out and moving film…I really don’t think I’ve been the same since the first time I watched it.

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Toffee Apples: A book or film that seems one thing but has a different inside

For this one, I’d have to say…Rainbow Rowell’s and Faith Erin Hicks’ Pumpkinheads. From the premise (and the pretense of Rowell’s previous works), you’d think that it would have some family drama or frustrating conflict. But, no, this one was so sweet and fluffy! Highly recommend it 🙂

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Well, that just about wraps it up!

I tag:

 

Thank you so much for reading this! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and be sure to stay tuned for more content next week! 😉