The Soundtrack to Your Story

Music has been and always will be a great inspiration to me. Music can drive me to tears or get me pumped up or mellow me out when I’m stressed. It is a mood changer or creator. So, when establishing mood in your story, what better way to do it then by selecting jams that match the mood?

I have developed two different kinds of strategies for getting the right kind of playlist to match the mood and dynamics of a writing piece. Before you try either of these methods though, do yourself a favor and download Spotify onto your desktop ( This is the best invention known to man since the Twinkie (soon to be extinct, apparently).

1. Listen while you work: I have playlists already created on Spotify for my enjoyment. They are mixes of songs that I have collected over the years that really inspire me or that I just like in general because it is a good song. I usually find myself writing while listening to music, unless the scene is too intricate to have any distractions. While I write, every once and awhile a song will come on that makes me stop and I just know it would be the perfect song for a scene. OR, the song makes me think of a whole new scene. What I will do then is go into my manuscript and just write a note for the song for those scenes and then play it while I am working or reading through them and make adjustments according to the feelings that the music inspires.

2. Search for your theme: I just tried this method with my current manuscript and it worked out really well. I am focusing on the themes of beauty in this book, so I searched for songs with “pretty” or “beauty” and listened to the list that Spotify spit back at me. From this, I chose songs that sounded like they fit with the mood of my story. I also searched “murder” because there IS a murder in the book and that helped lay out the darker end of the story premise. Now I play that playlist while I write and it helps amplify the feelings that I am trying to put into the story and the mood that I want to create.

So those are my theories in using music to help shape your novel. You can check out my current The Beholder playlist below and hopefully it gives you a feeling of what the book will be like!

Anyone else use music for inspiration during your writing sessions?

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