Thursday, April 19, 2012

Soundtracks for Books

I don't know about you, but I'm almost always listening to music, especially when it comes to writing. There have been several times where I'll listen to a song over and over while writing a scene because it has a certain feel to it that totally fits what I'm working on. Other times, the music is there just as a way to enjoy myself and block out other noises.

All that said, I've seen a quite a few people with imagined soundtracks to their books which fit a certain scene or match a character's personality. I'm always intrigued to see what other people like listening to and happy when their choice of song is something I've heard and like. I've never created an "official" book soundtrack and posted it. I've thought about it though.

So... what the heck! Here's my unveiling of songs of interesting from my Hacked Investigations series. I don't quite have set music per novella like I sometimes tend to do with full-length novels. These songs just tend to fit with in one form or another with either the characters, the world building/setting, or some aspect of the plot (which I'll explain what I can with the listings of the songs). These are in no particular order.

  • Technophobia by Progression - Love the name of the song. It has a very electronic and cyber-ish sound, which fits since the series is cyberpunk.
  • Intensify (Blind Faith Remix) by Way Out West - Again, it's electronic and fits with feel of the world, but it kind of also defines the world the hero and heroine live in (which has a fix for any imperfection with their implants and high-tech science), and it also reminds me of their relationship with each other.
  • Help, I'm Alive by Metric - The overall story arc is on Ian and Hannah's (the hero and heroine) struggle against MAX Home Security (the main villain), and this song is reminiscent of how I imagine they feel when they're trying to come out alive and on top. lol
  • Clubbed to Death by Rob Dougan - And when things aren't going so well for Ian and Hannah... *grins* This is a great song to write to. It makes me want to dance. Yes, I admit, I've written a love scene to it too. My husband thought I was weird.
  • Singular Destructible Droid by Papa Roach - This one actually is one of the few that I can narrow down to a particular-ish person in the story. This song was the influence for the villain in Savage Bytes (book 2) who I had envisioned like a cyborg, and while there are aspects of that, the villain changed a little from what I'd anticipated while writing, so I may have used some of that inspiration in book 3, Blacklist Rogue. ;-)
  • Just Say It by Sleepthief - This is a beautiful song, and it fits some of the hardships Ian and Hannah go through both before the series begins, since they were a couple but they had a bad break up, and during a few rough patches in their relationship during the series. But this is a romance after all, they wouldn't be "tear[ing] down the bridge and build[ing] a divide" in this series.
Do you like the idea of "soundtracks" for books? If you're an author, have you made one before?

Sarah Mäkelä


  1. I have a playlist for every book I write... Some of the same songs transfer over, but each book has "theme songs" for the hero & heroine that really help me dig into them and get in the mood for their story...

    I'm editing Night Thief right now and it's interesting because I'm not a Celine Dion fan at all, but I have her "Seduces Me" on the Night Thief playlist and it perfectly describes how Rita feels about Kane and I listened to it over and over while writing the love scenes! LOL

    So you never know what will work for each book...

    Great blog post Sarah!!!

    Lisa :)

    1. Very cool, Lisa! Thanks for commenting!! I used to have CDs that'd really speak to me about specific books. Then I've gotten away from listening to CDs as much and I listen to a lot of Pandora Radio. I found all of those songs in my "soundtrack" on Pandora except for the one by Papa Roach. I think it is really helpful to have a song for the hero and heroine to really help me get into them.

      That's so cool! I'll totally have to listen to that song while reading Night Thief! You should share peeks of your playlists too! :-D

      True that! Thanks again!

  2. I like music, but it's not a huge part of my life. I can't listen while I write except under certain very specific circumstances.

    But songs do often fit the story, and for years and years afterward, hearing them evokes whatever feelings I had while writing it, or still have even if it's been back-burnered or bottom-drawered forever. :)

    1. Thanks for commenting, Natalie! I sometimes write without music, but I find it easier to get distracted when I do. If I'm having a hard time and songs with words bother me, then I'll listen to instrumental songs.

      Yes! That's happened to me too! It really draws me back to the story and makes me want to read it when that happens. I have a story that's been on the backburner for a while and there's a band whose music really evokes feelings I'd connected to it, so I haven't listened to the band in a while since it makes me want to work on the story and right now I don't have time to. lol :-)

  3. I don't have an official playlist, but I have certain songs that are inspiration for stories. If I really love them, I print out the lyrics and pin them to my cork board.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Buffy! I hadn't really done an official playlist before either. I hadn't thought of writing down the songs I'd connected to the stories until a few months ago when the book soundtrack idea was pretty big. Now if I hear a song and it really sticks to me and relates to the story, I'll make note of it.

      That's a great idea about pinning up the lyrics on your cork board! :-)

  4. While I do vary quite often between a multiple genres, I tend to go toward Evanescence, Within Temptation, Poets of the Fall, some movie and game soundtracks. One of the more popular ones is Es Posthumus' Unstoppable and Arise. Then of course, there is Escala with their Palladio.

    Like said, a variety :)

    As for a soundtrack for books... well, it depends so much on the actual book. If the music adds to the mood, definitely, yes, recommend something.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jorma! I like a variety of music genres too. :-) That's true about the soundtracks. It does depend on the book and mood, but then again, people have a wild range of tastes, so what one person likes another might not. They can be pretty fun to make regardless!