A lot of writers find that creating a playlist helps set the mood. In Aural Pleasures: The Importance of Having a Book Soundtrack, Jennifer Shirk says:
Once I have a playlist created of about ten or more songs, I can begin to outline and plot… By the time I’m done plotting, I can almost see the book in my mind like a person sees a movie playing out with the soundtrack adding to the emotional feel of it.
She doesn’t actually listen to music while she writes, but many authors do.
Here are some tips on creating playlists for your writing, along with examples of soundtracks to published novels:
Jennifer Crusie shares the Soundtracks of several of her novels. She says:
If my collages are my way of seeing the Big Picture of the book and its characters, then the soundtracks are my way of getting the Big Feeling of the book and its characters.
How to “Soundtrack” Your Novel—Alexandra Bracken talks about how she has always used music to inspire her writing, along with links to soundtracks she made while writing her novel The Darkest Minds. She says:
I was writing in computer labs and the library and needed something to filter out the noise and people around me. I trained myself so well in my writing habits at nineteen that I still can’t shake them at twenty-five! I have to listen to music when I write now, or the words just don’t flow. More importantly, it has to be the right kind of music.
A Personalized Sountrack for Your Novel: Creating Writing Playlists —Annie Cardi presents a step-by-step process for creating and using a music playlist for your writing, using her novel The Chance You Won’t Return as an example.
Twilight Playlist —Stephenie Meyer presents the soundtrack she used while writing the wildly successful Twilight, saying that she ‘can’t write without music’.
How to Build a Novel Soundtrack —Max Booth III describes how he collected fifty-three songs (!) to use as the (un)official soundtrack for his novel Toxicity, using both well known bands and his own cult classics.
Sarah’s Book Playlists —Full playlists for several of Sarah J. Maas’ books, with more on the way, along with a description of how she uses music to outline her novels.
Lunar Chronlicles Playlist —A playlist that inspired the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.
Divergent Playlist —Veronica Roth’s playlist for Divergent, alongside songs used in the film adaptations of the books.
Marie Lu’s Soundtrack —Media related to Marie Lu’s novel Legend, including her soundtracks for the original and the second book in the series, Prodigy.
Create a musical soundtrack for your novel to reach readers in a whole new way —Pavarti K. Tyler talks about how to create a soundtrack for your novel and use it as a marketing tool, presenting songs she chose for two novels, Two Moons of Sera and Shadow on the Wall.
NaNo Soundtracks —Get advice and song recommendations on the forums of National Novel Writing Month. (Note that this forum is most active in October and November.)
A book soundtrack? Playful playlist enhances novel writing and reading —Chris Kridler talks about how he used music as a tool in his writing, providing playlists for his novels Funnel Vision and Tornado Pinball.
Make Your Own Novel Soundtrack —Advice from Jenny Bravo on how to make a soundtrack for your novel from her writing blog.
Five Reasons Why You Should Create a Soundtrack for Your Novel —Exactly what it says on the tin—five reasons to create a soundtrack for your novel.
Nostalgia and Emotional Soundtracks (or how to catch the feels) —Kevin Craig recommends some emotional songs that inspire him as a writer.
What about you? Do you listen to music when you write? Have you created soundtracks specifically for your stories?