I’m currently working on my third book in my fantasy series (Bloodfall Arena and Blood Embers are both available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online stores in print and as ebooks…also there is a fantastic audiobook of Bloodfall Arena read by the fabulous and absolutely talented Zura Johnson)…and when I say currently working I mean being completely distracted by a new work in progress that has taken over my life and will not release me until I satisfy its desire to be outlined fully.
Besides that blatant, unabashed, and unashamed self promotion, this is not about my published books.
I thought I’d give a little insight into my writing process. Or into one aspect of my writing process.
Now everyone is different and I’m sure there will be some authors who read this particular habit of mine and think, “How do you get any work done? I would never be able to concentrate enough to write” or some other such thoughts. But I thought it would be fun to talk about because it is also something that consistently changes throughout working on a single book.
So, I am a big fan and lover and purveyor of music. I love it as most humans on this planet do. I have also made it no secret that while working on my Blood Magic Series, music was a key component in my writing process. The entire series was basically a playlist before I ever put words on a page.
But on to this current project I’m working on and why I decided to write about it today.
When I started working on this book, I had very specific songs I would listen to in order to help me get my mindset into the world and characters. And I made a playlist with said songs and would listen on loop. It was made up of 23 songs and if you REALLY want to know…it was metal covers of Disney songs…yes, really.
(For those interested they were mostly songs done by YouTubers Jonathan Young and Caleb Hyles, with a couple by Peyton Parrish thrown in as well. Highly recommend the covers if you like metal music and Disney)
Anybut, this playlist was the main one I listened to in the beginning stages of the book. Then I branched out a little more as the world began to form into a more solidified idea. I added a couple more covers and then branched out into other songs that had the feeling and themes I was focusing on. The playlist grew from 23 songs to 45.
THEN I reached a point in the book where I was fleshing out my main character and doing some backstory stuff with her close friends and things that happened before the start of the book. And I created a second, third, and fourth playlists. To be completely transparent, they were Dance Mixes. Dance songs that my main character and her friends listened to and though I may never mention the songs in the book it helped me to make concrete decisions about relationships, personalities, and mannerisms.
Now on to where I currently stand in the book, I’m building up to the major conflict, climax, and so on. I happened to be taking a break and was scrolling through random videos and came across a cover of Attention by Charlie Puth…but in the style of a movie soundtrack.
And a new playlist was born for the conflicts, fights, and major plot points. (If you’re curious, they are covers by Joel Sunny. Another recommendation if you like that kind of stuff)
Now I swap between about five different playlists depending on the situation or scenes I’m working on in my book. I should also clarify, this is still the working, rough first draft and outline stage of my writing process. It’s the nitty gritty, awful writing that is the bones of what the story will eventually become.
But it’s also a part of the process I highly enjoy. I get to explore things that may not end up working and being cut in the next few rounds of editing.
The playlists, however, shall remain to remind me of the process. If this book ever becomes something (although it’s 100% a personal project I’m only working on for me to enjoy…for now) I’m sure I would be willing to reveal the actual songs on the lists but for now you’ll have to deal with my, mostly, vague discussions.
I just find it incredibly fascinating that there is a clear path of development I can actually see (or hear) of my process in creating this one story. Going from metal covers of Disney songs to dance mixes to violin covers…it’s fascinating. And throughout the process I even found theme music for each of my characters for when I need to work on their scenes.