OK, the post I was planning to write has been postponed due to a lovely and wonderful houseguest. But! I’ve been planning for a while to make a post about the music I listen to while writing Nightlights, along with the process of building a soundtrack and the way I use it.
I like silence when I write, often.
Unfortunately, I have a few problems.
- I don’t live alone
- I have (actual, professionally-diagnosed) ADHD.
- I’m not always in the mood to write when I need to write.
Music helps me with all of these problems. Music I’m extremely familiar with becomes a kind of white noise, serving the dual purpose of obscuring other sounds and eating up a distraction track in my brain. And if I turn it on when I’m not in my writing headspace, the strong habitual association and imagery associated with the music tows me where I need to be.
For Nightlights, I started with a song or two I vaguely associated with characters or events in Nightlights, and fed them into Pandora. Then I listened to the station created while outlining Nightlights, and grabbed other songs it suggested. Pandora is a lot better than relying on broadcast radio stations, which is how I used to do this. I’ll choose songs based on similar musical elements, or the lyrics, or even just a few lines in the lyrics that really feel perfect for a theme or concept. Then I listen to the soundtrack a lot until I know it like the back of my hand.
Sometimes songs show up in multiple soundtracks if I really like them or they touch on multiple concepts.
My favorite part of having soundtracks is that I feel like if I pick them early enough, they actually influence the story, because they’ve wormed their way so deeply inside my head.
Below, find my soundtrack, as currently ordered by my player! I’ve tried to include a few lines that capture why I picked the song, as well as a link to a performance of the song.
“No remorse ’cause I still remember
your smile as you tore me apart.”
(Three Days Grace) (Note: I love the whole sound of this song.)
“I’ve tried, but nothing is working
I won’t stop, I won’t say I’ve had enough.”
“I hate living without you, dead wrong to ever doubt you
But my demons lay in waiting, tempting me away.”
From Heads Unworthy
(Rise Against) (Note: This is also a Matchbox Girls setting song, but I didn’t discover it until way too late.)
“I’m not after fame and fortune, I’m after you
When I’ve served my time I swear I will come back for you.”
I Will Not Bow
(Breaking Benjamin) (Note: While this wasn’t the original seed song for Pandora, I think of it as the core track now.)
“I don’t want to change the world, I just want to leave it colder
Light the fuse and burn it up, take the path that leads to nowhere,
All is lost again, but I’m not giving in.”
“This can’t last forever, time won’t make things better,
I feel so alone”
“that’s when she said I don’t hate you boy,
I just want to save you while there’s still something left to save”
“Help me believe it’s not the real me
Somebody help me tame this animal”
Pumped Up Kicks
(Foster The People) (Note: Lyrically, this song is quite disturbing. It caught my attention because of the sound and just a hint of the what’s in the lyrics.)
“Robert’s got a quick hand,
He’ll look around the room, he won’t tell you his plan.”
“Everyone is changing, there’s no one left that’s real
To make up your own ending, and let me know just how you feel.”
“Feel Good, Inc
” (Gorillaz) (Note: Okay, I generically love this song. And I loved it first for ‘Hahahahaha’.)
“Yo, we gonna ghost town this motown
with yo sound, you’re in the blink,
you’re gonna bite the dust, can’t fight with us
with yo sound, you kill the INC”
“I keep it caged but I can’t control it,
‘Cause if I let him out, he’ll tear me up, break me down.”
I Hate Everything About You
(Three Days Grace) (Note: This song
was the seed song. Oddly enough, it was originally for a different story entirely, which I still hope to write someday. The story has evolved a lot since then but the song still serves a small purpose.”
“Why do I love you?”
“Now you want to take me down
as if I even care
I am the monster in your head”
“And I wish it could get back there, some place back there
in the place we used to start.”
“Hear the sound of the falling rain
Coming down like an Armageddon flame (Hey!)
“How can one little street
swallow so many lives?”