What’s your playlist?

I f*$king love Skrillex. Seriously. I don’t know what he does, or how he does it, but it’s awesome. How the guy makes that kind of magic will remain a mystery to me. Which is just fine. Keep making the magic, man. I’ll keep writing to it.

Well, to him and a bunch of others. More on that later.

How do you write, dear readers? Do you work best in silence or do you have to have a beat in your head? Quiet drives me nuts. Absolutely nuts. I can’t even work in the fast food bit of my job without some kind of music. Can’t fall asleep unless I have an audiobook to listen to. Quiet makes me fidgety. My parents could never understand me doing my homework to music or television. But, it got done.

Does anyone even understand the POINT of homework?
Does anyone even understand the POINT of homework?

Can’t say that my grades were great but, seriously? Fuck High School. Or, if that isn’t an option; make it less about a grand social experiment in awkwardness and more about a decent education with ACTUAL COLLEGE APPLICABILITY.

To me, high school should be modeled very closely after college courses. Within the first few weeks of entering the realm of school I should already have an understanding of what a thesis statement is and be working on one for my ‘senior project’ in which, to pass high school, I shall need to present a written paper as well as an oral presentation, enlightening my senior class on my side of whichever argument I decide to present and the reasons supporting why I am right.

Not wasting my time wanting to piss off my creative writing teacher because she is a certifiable twat who could find deep meaning in the word ‘pink’.

Eat your heart out, Harry Potter.
Tame, compared to what I had to deal with.

And not only that, but high school should afford me the options of picking and choosing what I might want to be when I grow up. Freshman year should be a testing period. Pick a field of study and try it out. If you don’t like it, try another one, but don’t wait too long you’re junior year is where things get serious. And by your senior year, if you don’t know what you want to be? Well, JROTC is a wonderful option with many opportunities. And I mean that seriously, JROTC was the best thing that ever happened to me in high school.

It’s a sad fact that I had to wait to get into COLLEGE to understand what a thesis statement was. Even worse that I had to figure out how to write papers according to both APA/MLA format (never talked about in high school) quick, fast, and in a hurry or risk my GPA.

Oh, wow. I’m off track. See what happens?

Now that I think about that writing class;Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses got me a great little story and far too many uncomfortable stares from my stringent Mormon class to last me a lifetime and make me grin every time I think about it.


Where was I?

Oh yeah. Playlists. Right.

Anyway.  I am a firm believer in music shaping a story. Considering that’s my writing experience as of late, I’m a bit biased. And maybe way off the mark, but that’s what the comments section is for, right?

I can give you a playlist for every story in my head. Sure some of them are incomplete, maybe one or two songs, but the idea comes from those songs. I remember going onto the website of one author-I’ll be damned if I can remember her name-and finding a blog post where she talked about the different ‘peoples’ her world inhabited and the songs that came with them. She had to get the right feeling for each individual group and so listened to music that she felt influenced the group she was trying to work on. Pop songs gave her one group whilst another was tuned more to the rock n’ roll scene.

I can’t claim to have peoples influenced by songs, but I can say that music shapes my books. Even going as far as to make me veer completely off the course of my day to get to a place where I can write to get the idea out of my head.  I’ll have times where a song will spark an entire scene in my head complete with my character’s voice articulating exactly what is going on and I’d better get it out of my head before it leaves forever.

My NaNoWriMo experience was that of ‘hurry the fuck up because you have to be to work in fifteen minutes’. Nine times out of ten I would scrawl something in my Notebooks app akin to “Melanie lobs off head of nurse-Monster”. I swear to God I listened to Skillet’s ‘Monster’ fifteen times to write one scene of my The Nightly-Edition because of what images it brought to the forefront of my mind. I didn’t want to lose it, so I listened and tried to make my fingers move as fast as my brain was.

The Nightly-Edition was born from one song:

Because it brought into mind the idea of running from things that could smell blood under living flesh and hunted it down. Zombies? Nah. I wanted the story to have werewolves in it. But not werewolves as we know them, because I refuse to cross into the ‘supernatural’ realm for the Timepiece Tales, but something that was bred and created. Something that went wrong. Following that came the idea of a building. An old building with something hidden inside. The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing filled in the hole with their song Bedlam.

My building would be an asylum. The story would be about escape.

I had it!

From there the story took on a dark edge with much Disturbed, Cradle of Filth, CKY, Skillet, and Rammestein giving the story a darker direction, moulding it in my head to what it is now. There are a few light songs in there, but looking at the draft as it stands now; the story is very much a Gothic Steampunk novel. It has to be, I think. Melanie’s is not quite a happy story, but it isn’t a bleak one either.

Untitled: What’s On Your Mind? has a playlist comprising solely of Skrillex and The Cog is Dead. Maybe a little of The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. Certainly Pink Floyd, and a bit of Abney Park, with Anberlin: Someone/Anyone as its theme. It’s a story built on electronics and steam. A perfect parallel for the message it’s trying to send.

Grimm’s tale is a strange mash-up between Skrillex and Stephen Lynch despite being set in a small 1980s Florida town.

Inspired by this:

and now The Devil’s Den sits as the lynchpin for which the entire story is comprised.  Throw in a little Craig Christ and I’m pretty sure you’ll get the gist of where the story is headed. If not, don’t worry, I’m not entirely sure myself. That’s half the fun though.

Because Stephen Lynch is awesome.
Because Stephen Lynch is awesome.

Cloud Harvest (a new story I haven’t told you about yet) is a different song that will involve much research into Arabian music both old and new because that’s the part of the world it is set in. Petra, Jordan is an amazing wonder if you ever get the chance to see it.

Blood on the Quarter, and my new story Father Christmas (permission to write it very generously given by a dear, dear friend of mine); will focus on Jazz from the 1920s and the big bands of the 40s and 50s. Also much listening to ‘The Big Sleep’ because Raymond Chandler sparks the tone with which I want the stories to take. That, and I have no idea how to write mysteries.

The Airship Leviathan has a soundtrack of The Dreadnoughts, Dubliners, The Pogues, Dropkick Murphy’s and Flogging Molly.

So what about you, fellow writers? What’s your playlist? How does music inspire you?


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