I’m one of those people who can multi-task. To a point. I do like almost complete silence while I write with the exception of my Sounds of the Ocean soundtrack playing. I can have twenty tabs open online and be on social media while I’m writing, but please don’t make me listen to anything! But amazingly enough, on most of my books I do end up with a playlist that helps me get the job done.
I just don’t listen to it while I’m writing.
I turn to it when I’m blocked – when I’m stuck in a scene and need to get hyper-focused on my characters. This is Our Song was kind of easy to have a playlist to because Riley is a musician. There were songs that I felt like I could imagine him singing or that the lyrics really applied to him.
So what was on my list and why? Here’s just one of the songs that was on my This is Our Song playlist!
Music is a powerful thing. It can bring up deep emotions, make you feel happy, or sad, or instantly bring back a memory of another time. But it can also help you write. And I’ve found that the music that I listen to makes a difference in the way that I write.
I know a lot of writers that listen to particular music for certain books, whether it be love songs or rock ballads, some even creating whole soundtracks for their books. I can’t do that. I can listen to certain songs when I’m plotting, songs that set the tone or the feel for the story. But when I’m actually writing, I like it to either be quiet or to have music that is only instrumental, otherwise I get caught up listening to the lyrics instead of my own internal flow of words.
The last year, I have changed my writing routine. In order to increase my production, I have plotted more heavily, and I participate in writing sprints with a few other authors. We set a timer for 30 or 40 minutes, then commit to write with no distractions for that time, then report our word count numbers. We often meet at Panera to sprint, and on those days, I wear noise cancelling headphones and play music. And I’ve noticed an interesting dynamic. The slower the music, the fewer words that I write.
Teague was driving. He came up to me as we were loading up, holding up his iPod, which was loaded just like mine.
“Bleed it Out?” he asked hopefully, and I grinned. I don’t know what I looked like, but his grin back was ferocious and bloodthirsty, and nobody had better fuck with us because we were bad fucking business.
“Bleed it out!” I answered back. We bashed closed fists together and got ready to roll.
I don’t know when we had started the tradition of listening to head-banging music on the way to our ass-kicking runs—I think I just started co-opting the stereo and playing stuff that got me pumped. It didn’t matter, because when Teague joined us in November, the tradition became locked in stone. Now we even had a couple of playlists culled from iPods full of every metal, rock, or alternative CD produced in the last twenty years.
Without a doubt, the vampires’ favorite was Adrian’s favorite—Linkin Park—and their hands-down, love-it-forever, rhythm-pumped-in-their-veins favorite kickass song was “Bleed It Out.” We’d built a four-hour playlist around that song, and on nights like this, it felt good to thunder that shit through our veins.
About ten years ago I was standing outside of my classroom, welcoming my fifth period in, and wishing I was dead.
Or in hell.
Or anywhere but in front of that classroom.
Because my administrator hated me—this is not an exaggeration. He designed this class to make my life miserable so I’d quit. It was a class of thirty-two juniors at the beginning of the year. Fourteen of the thirty-two students were bound for continuation school. Twelve of those continuation school students were male.
When I say, “bound for continuation school” this doesn’t mean I was meanly assessing their future. It means they were in their third year of high school and had passed fewer than three classes in two and a half years. They were going to continuation school—they’d been looking forward to it, and at the end of the first semester, they could get the hell out of regular school and go to a place where they could work on packets undisturbed. If they didn’t just drop out completely.
These kids had nothing to lose, they hated authority, hated school, hated female teachers, and I got them after lunch.
If you have teenagers in your life, at one time or another, they have probably demanded to know, ‘Why are you listening to that?’, in a tone that clearly states their opinion of whatever that is. If you haven’t heard this statement, you must be one really cool dude or dudette.
My daughter knows I’m a 70’s music fanatic. When we go on long runs together, it’s what I listen to for ten plus miles on my playlist. It’s what I listen to in the car whenever we’re going someplace: be it to the grocery store, to a shopping mall or on a cross country road trip. You see, I have a simple rule: my car – my station. 🙂
Hi everyone. My name is Michelle Sharp and I’m the author of Tamed by the Outlaw which is part of Lovestruck’s What Happens in Vegas series.
Today I was asked about how music influences my writing, and the truth is, I think music influences almost every writer. A great song that touches your heart can absolutely put you in the correct frame of mind to write a scene more powerfully. Sometimes a beautiful lyric can sum up in a sentence more emotion than what we as writers can convey in an entire scene.
So yes, I’m kind of a dork, but I always pick out a song that I think my hero and heroine would make their own if they had the opportunity to do so. I like to play it when I’m editing the more…cough, cough…intimate scenes. LOL.
Here’s how it happened for my characters in Tamed by the Outlaw. Jessie and Grayson are both strong, stubborn, take-no-prisoners personalities. But, if they’re being honest, they are both also completely hung up on the night they spent together a year ago. I had heard the song “In My Veins” by Andrew Belle on the show Castle before, but I had never really paid attention to the words. One night as I was working on Outlaw, I heard, I mean really heard the words to “In my Veins” and it struck me that this was totally their song.
We are positively thrilled to bring you this exclusive excerpt of Rebecca Halsey’s Notes of Temptation, out today!
“My name is Oswald Dean.” He offered his hand, and she shook it. “People call me Oz.”
“Carrie Cooper,” she said. “I sing at the Hardyville Methodist—well, sang there until I came here.”
His brief good humor deflated a fraction. Of course she would be a choirgirl. He waited for her to ask about his venue and potential auditions. Girls like this came into the city by the busloads each day—daughters of farmers and migrants escaping the countryside, yearning to brush up against fame or make it big themselves. These girls were as shiny as new pennies and just as easily spent by hucksters eager to take advantage of their innocence. If she had done her homework on industry magazines, she would drop names and pump him for details.
But Carrie Cooper did not brag or beg. She took a sip of the coffee and winced at the bitterness. Not a regular drinker of the cheap swill, he noted. He assumed she drank it to be polite since he refused her effort to repay him. A country girl’s values. He could understand that. He didn’t want to be beholden to anyone either.
“You got good pipes, then?” Oz said. He couldn’t help himself.
Today we have author Brenda Drake, whose newest release Touching Fate hit shelves last month to great acclaim! Brenda has stopped by EverAfter to share the playlist for her book and we hope you enjoy! Be sure to pick up a copy of Touching Fate today!
1. How do you make your playlists for your books?
While I’m writing, I have Pandora on and I shuffle through songs. I keep a lists of songs that fit a scene or even the briefest moment in the story. The ones that really resonate with me and the story, I add to a YouTube playlist.
Ally Blue writes evocative male/male romance set in a paranormal world. The final book in her Bay City Paranormal Investigation series, Love, Like Ghosts, provides a satisfying ending, encompassing a range of emotions. Ally’s playlist for the book is equally diverse, and she’s here to share the songs that inspired her while writing the book. Thanks, Ally!
Hello dear readers. My name’s Ally Blue, and I’m here to speak of the profound connection between writing and music. Specifically, between music and writing my gay romance novel Love, Like Ghosts.
Ever since I can remember, music has been an important part of my life. One of my earliest memories is of my dad playing Johnny Cash on his guitar, the whole family singing along. I cut my musical teeth on classic country, Flower Child rock, and Broadway tunes. Now, with some thirty books under my proverbial belt, I still make a playlist for nearly every new project before I start writing. Something to set the mood and help keep my mind in The Zone. My choices probably don’t make much sense to anyone but me. But after all, isn’t music the most personal of the arts? The one most deeply connected to our primitive brains? The most intimately tangled with our emotions? In my very humble opinion, if a song or a piece of music doesn’t make you feel something, then it’s not doing its job. The same might be said of a book, I think.
Today we have Elisabeth Staab answering our questions on how music is part of her creative process and she’s sharing her playlist for her newest New Adult release, Acts of Creation!
He’s living a lie.
Dante Ramos: Champion. Ladies’ man. Party animal. Women want him, and men either want to be him or put his lights out for sleeping with their girlfriends. It’s all an act. Inside, he’s so full of self-loathing he’s on a fast-track to self-destruction.
She’s living in the shadows.
Meeting Michelle at a support group for assault survivors shows Dante a new world of possibilities. Finally, someone in his life might understand him, and she creates in him a fierce need to protect. Trouble is, Dante lives his life in the spotlight, and the only thing Michelle wants is a place to hide.
How do you make your playlists for your books?
I usually start with a song for the couple, one that for me fits the tone of them and their story, and then I build the reset from there. In Acts of Creation it was “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran. After that, everything on the playlist is chosen because it either reminds me of one of the main characters, or the two of them together, or there’s something about the tone of the music that fits the book to me.
Do you use the entire playlist for the whole book or specific parts for certain sections or types of scenes?
Usually I build the playlist for the book as a whole, although sometimes a song evokes feelings for a special scene. In Acts of Creation, I played Springsteen’s “Human Touch” a lot when I was writing the big love scene between Dante and Michelle.