Songs to Write By, NaNoWriMo Edition

A small break from the author interviews for a little frivolity. As you might have noticed, I have been asking my blog visitors if they have any playlists planned for their upcoming writing excursion. This is because music is a large part of the writing experience for me.

That isn’t to say I never write to the sounds of background noise or silence. When the muse is willing, I have even found myself sitting at my desk with my headphones on my ears and nothing playing, simply because I took off running without it. And like some of my visitors, I do get caught up in the music from time to time and either pause to sing along, or to tap out the rhythm of the song. But by and large, I cannot start a writing project without a playlist, because therein lies the atmosphere.

So, for The Unquiet Dead, I have been assembling my preferred tunes as part of my NaNoWriMo preparation. The playlist I have assembled is longer than any blog post should be, so below I’m sharing the top ten tracks. If you have Spotify, and would link to see the whole list, then you can find it by clicking on this link. For the non-Spotify readers of my blog, I have the YouTube link to the song listed in each entry. If you do not use either, then read the listing of each song whilst headbanging and/or moshing around your living room.

The Unquiet Dead Soundtrack

1. “Green Valley” by Puscifer

I have a confession to make, I am a Maynard James Keenan fan. If I had to pick “the song which would be playing during your book’s opening credits”, I’d pick this. From the start, it sounds like the ballad of something both frightening and hopeful all at once. Key Lyric: “You can rest here for a while. But save your energy, Your journey here is far from over.”
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

2. “The Only One” by Evanescence

Whenever I need moody, there’s usually at least one Evanescence song which becomes part of the top ten. (To Evanescence fans, the ‘moody’ quip was an unintentional pun.) Why this one? Because Christian has that tendency to be a loner. Key Lyric: “Don’t look down, you’ll fall down, You’ll become their sacrifice.”
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

3. “Burn” by The Cure

Unabashedly I will admit the movie The Crow is a big influence for this book. What does The Crow have to do with a medieval story about ghosts, mercenaries, and arcane cults? I am genuinely looking forward to showing you the answer to this question. Key Lyric: “Don’t talk of worlds that never were, The end is all that’s ever true.”
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

4. “4th of July” by Soundgarden

This song appears on a few of my playlists, but again the ambiance fits perfectly. Been one of my favorite songs from Superunknown since I purchased it back in the Grunge Era. Key lyric: “… I heard it in the wind, and I saw it in the sky. And I thought it was the end; I thought it was the 4th of July…”
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

5. “Grind” by Alice in Chains

Dark, driving, gritty, and unnerving. This is another one of those ambiance songs which captures the mood of the story in its barest essence. Key Lyric: “In the darkest hole, you’d be well-advised, not to plan my funeral before the body dies.”
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

6. “3 Libras” by A Perfect Circle

Alright, I cheated and put another Maynard song on here. Couldn’t be helped. Key Lyric: “But I threw you the obvious, Just to see if there’s more behind the, Eyes of a fallen angel; Eyes of a tragedy.” Christian is very much a fallen angel – a tragedy, if you will – but I think this might be his song to the world.
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

7. “Down” by Stone Temple Pilots

Ah, one for the villain. Perhaps not the closest match, lyrics wise, but the dark, sinister air swirling around Talbot is one that I think this song captures perfectly. Key Lyric: “I’ve been waiting , A long time, now; Now here’s the answer, You’re all mine now.”
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

8. “Dream On” by Depeche Mode

Peter – my fictional Peter, that is – says this should be Christian’s theme. And he should know; he’s had to share headspace with the roguish mercenary. Key Lyric: “Hey, you pale and sickly child, you’re death and living reconciled, been walking home a crooked mile.” Though Peter argues the entirety of the song’s lyrics are applicable. Can you feel a little love, Christian?
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

9. “Save Yourself” by Stabbing Westward

Key Lyric: “But I am not your savior. I am just as fucked as you.” I am certain this encompasses how Christian feels about being any sort of hero, antihero or otherwise.
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

10. “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance

Now, before you say anything, I know. My Chemical Romance. At the same time, I have a soft spot for this song, especially its unapologetic optimism. A good contrast against all of the moodiness on this list. Key Lyric: “He said, Son, when you grow up, would you be the savior of the broken, the beaten, and the damned?”
So much for not being a hero, Christian.
Spotify Link | YouTube Link

Stay tuned for more author interviews to see if my next batch of victims have their own playlists. In the meantime, what music do you like to write to? And is there any in particular featured in your current work in progress?

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About Connor

Peter Dawes is the pen name of USA Today bestselling author of dark and historical fantasy, Connor Peterson. Local to the Philadelphia, PA area, Connor is the wordsmith behind the Vampire Flynn and Deathspell series and has also contributed to the story cycle Red Phone Box (published by Ghostwoods Books) and the anthology Nocturnal Embers (published by Crimson Melodies Publishing). He is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, an active participant in the Philadelphia writing community, and volunteers as a municipal liaison for National Novel Writing Month. While Peter Dawes is also the name of the fictional protagonist of the Vampire Flynn books, Connor assures the reader he is not now, nor has he ever been a vampire. (Any similarities are purely coincidental.) You can follow him on Twitter (@peterdawes) and Facebook (@AuthorPeterDawes), where he actively avoids being on time for any of his publication deadlines.

4 Responses to Songs to Write By, NaNoWriMo Edition

  1. I need playlists for when I write, too. Music is just so vital to the creative process for me! I love a lot of the bands on here. Evanescence and Stabbing Westward are a couple that definitely have songs featured on various playlists of mine. I can’t help but be inspired by them! Anyway, it was really fun seeing your list of playlist songs. Getting to also see snippets of the lyrics really helped create a feel for your project!

    • Peter says:

      Thank you for reading! I do not know what it is about the interplay of music with the creative process, but my muse uses it as fuel and runs. Has always been that way. You should see how many Spotify playlists I have saved. (Even have one filled with electronica for those inevitable fight scenes.) 😉

  2. Ooh! Ooh! I know one of those songs! The last one. That’s so exciting for me. Usually when authors post playlists, I’ve never heard of any of them, mostly because I listen to pop and Kpop. Yay. I feel so hip now. Thank you 🙂

  3. Pingback: For Those About to NaNoWriMo… « The Man Behind the Curtain

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