My Novel Soundtracks

This post doesn’t deal with a question, but I picked a subject I liked. I’m usually very private about what I listen to because I was bullied a lot over my music choices in school. Music has never been a passion of mine despite being surrounded by band geeks in high school. I can’t play an instrument to save my life (I suppose with the exception of rudimentary songs like “Hot Crossed Buns”), my rhythm leaves something to be desired (like actual rhythm), and I consider myself tone deaf. With this in mind, I’ll proceed.

For the most part, I use music either as inspiration or to block out the world to help me focus. The latter started when I used to ride BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to school for an hour and a half every day to school. When you’re an introvert surrounded by the angry, germ-riddled commuters in a confined space that smells like urine, a good pair of headphones and a window seat can work wonders. Once I learned to burn my own CDs, I made soundtracks to transport my mind while the train transported my body on my daily commute. So, here they are. I’ve highlighted my favorite songs.

Wingéd

Unbelievable – EMF
Trouble – P!nk
Sweet About Me – Gabriella Cilmi
Devils and Angels – Toby Lightman
Here You Me – Jimmy Eat World
Home – Phillip Phillips
How I Could Just Kill a Man – Charlotte Sometimes
All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers
Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
Losing Sleep – Charlotte Sometimes
Vindicated – Dashboard Confessional
Die Young – Ke$ha
Some Nights – Fun.
Set Fire to the Rain – Adele
Listen to Your Heart – D.H.T. Feat Edmée
You and Me – Lifehouse
Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine

Foiche Dé

Other Side of the World – KT Tunstall
Life for Rent – Dido
Try – Nelly Furtado
Not Ready to Make Nice – Dixie Chicks
How to Save a Life – The Fray
First Time – Lifehouse
Fall to Pieces – Avril Lavigne
Hands – Jewel
He Lives in You – Lebo M
You Say – Saving Jane
Powerless – Nelly Furtado
Stupid – Sarah McLachlan
Reasons Why – Saving Jane
The Only Exception – Paramore
If God Made You (Remix) – Five For Fighting

Dragon Wingéd (This one isn’t as polished as my other two are so bear with me)

At the Beginning – Donna Lewis & Richard Marx
Dreamer – Elizaveta
These Old Wings – Anna Nalick
Somewhere Only We Know – Keane
Fall for You – Secondhand Serenade
Distance (feat. Jason Mraz) – Christina Perri
Fallen – Sarah McLachlan
Show Me What I’m Looking For – Carolina Liar
Over My Head (Cable Car) – The Fray
When I’m Alone – Lissie
Rolling in the Deep – Adele
Broken (feat. Amy Lee) – Seether
Broken (New/Radio Version) – Lifehouse
My Immortal – Evanescence
The Reason – Hoobastank
Bright Morning Stars – Abigail Washburn
A Thousand Years – Christina Perri

Wingless (I have a song that encompasses the personality of almost every Wingless. This one is a definite work in progress)

Broken (feat. Amy Lee) – Seether
Where I Stood – Missy Higgins
One Week – Barenaked Ladies
Radioactive – Pentatonix & Lindsey Stirling
Little Wonders – Rob Thomas
Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons
Breaking the Habit – Linkin Park
Safe & Sound (feat. The Civil Wars) – Taylor Swift
Bury Me With My Guns On – Bobaflex
Paralyzer – Finger Eleven
It’s Not My Time – 3 Doors Down
How You Remind Me – Nickelback
Pain the Sky – Charlotte Sometimes

But no matter what I’m writing, I absolutely adore the song “Breath of Life” from Florence + the Machine. No matter what novel I’m thinking about, it’s an inspirational song for me.

I’ve heard conflicting reports on whether or not a person should listen to music while writing, and I apologize that I’m not going cite any of them. You’re just going to have to take my word on it. On the one hand, music has been shown to increase creativity and intelligence. My fifth grade teacher believed this so strongly that she played classical music whenever we took tests or took a break to read. On the other hand, music can be a distraction, making it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Other studies have shown that multitasking reduces productivity and the quality of one’s work. Further still, another author pointed out to me how difficult it is to maintain the flow of her own work whenever she listened to something with a different beat. Which one is right? I have no idea.

Sometimes if I’m too distracted by the words, I listen to instrumental music which drowns out the rest of the world without distracting me from the words I’m trying to put onto the page.

But the conflict in and of itself is interesting.

Colleen

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2 thoughts on “My Novel Soundtracks

  1. As a child, when I first got serious about writing, I followed a list of tips from C.S. Lewis (because he was one of my favorite authors) and one of his rules was NEVER listen to music while writing because it distracts you from the sound of the words. I get that, but for me personally…? I need music. It distracts me from the sounds in my head. It helps me focus.

    I really loved this entry. I think I’ll have to do one of my own at some point, although my variety won’t be as diverse as yours. When I write I usually write to music without lyrics, because they can distract me. But I have certain songs that I associate with certain characters and I will play those songs if I’m brain storming or writing with those characters.

    • Thank you! Yes, when you told me that about never listening to music, I had a little crisis, because I’m one of those people who has difficulty handling silence. If the lyrics start bothering me, I have a lot of instrumental music that I listen to as well. I just didn’t post them. And my Wingless list is made up almost completely of songs that I associate with each of the main characters.

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