As I mentioned in my last post, I just finished up my NaNoWriMo novel for 2015. I was looking back doing a comparison of my 2015 experience with my earlier 2011 experience and realized that they had a common thread. I was greatly inspired by music throughout the process of both pieces. At the encouragement of many of you followers on Twitter1I was considering it anyway, however you guys cared, so woo!, I decided to put the companion pieces I used while writing chapters here, along with short explanations below.
Warning, minor spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the story. If you have read the story, or if you just want to see the music inspiration and don’t care too much about minor spoilers, here you go. Songs are listed by chapter name with YouTube links out for each.
Update: 11/2/2018 – This story used to be featured on my site in its entirety, but was taken down as I may re-write it for future publication. That said, I’m still keeping this post here for posterity, as well as an easy way to show one example of the music I’ve listened to for NaNoWriMo projects in the past.
Armed and Apathetic – Maybeshewill – The Paris Hilton Sex Tape
I blame a fellow blogger, Erin, for making me a fan of Maybeshewill. If I’m ever in a mood where I want or need to write and I can’t, Maybeshewill’s album Not For The Want of Trying usually finds a way to make me want to write. While the song doesn’t particularly lend itself to being an introduction song, I looked at this book as more of a look into someone’s life than a beginning to end story. Looks in don’t start at the beginning of life at all times.
Bee – Metric – Empty
This chapter introduces the two non-primary protagonists, Beth and Nolan. While the focus is pretty equal on the two of them in this chapter, most of the focus (due to her in person appearance) is on Beth. I kind of viewed this as Beth’s theme song in the earlier chapters, thanks largely to its heavy play as I wrote Bee.
The Opening Salvo – No music
One of the few non-music chapters. No real explanation other than I was so focused on writing a coherent press release that I couldn’t listen to music.
Dinner and a Show – Biffy Clyro – Who’s Got a Match?
The first of two chapters with a song off of Biffy Clyro’s album Puzzle. The upbeat piece fits in well with the quirky conversation between Nolan and Beth mid-chapter.
Snow Angels – Mumford and Sons – Thistle and Weeds
The first time Libby actively recognizes Beth’s darker side is in this chapter. Mumford and Sons’ dark ballad fits really well here, though admittedly I don’t know that it fits quite as well as the next chapter’s song.
Ignition – While She Sleeps – Four Walls
All you really need here is the first :54 seconds of the song. The intro to “Four Walls” looped in my head nearly constantly while I wrote this chapter. Seems fitting with the ARM’s righteous motives.
Coming Home – Anberlin – A Whisper and a Clamor
Hello driving home to see my family at Christmas music. Anberlin was in heavy rotation in my college/grad school music playlist. While the song itself does predate the main characters of this story, I think that Nolan and Libby would have some level of appreciation for emo rock based off of some of the other things they mention within the story.
Santa and Skeletons – 331ERock – Theme of Laura
It was hard for me not to use a Christmas song here, but this metal cover of the most iconic song from Silent Hill 2 was on heavy repeat as I wrote this entire book. Considering the general innocence portrayed by Mandy — the youngest member of the Andersen family — in this chapter, I figured an homage to the Silent Hill series was appropriate. As for why the metal version rather than the original, just listen to the guitar solo.
Live and in Living Color – David Bowie – I’m Afraid of Americans
Pretty self-explanatory one here once you read the chapter.
The Best Laid Plans – Our Lady Peace – Clumsy
So within hours of me writing Live and in Living Color, the Paris attacks happened. Considering the unintentional parallels between fictional and real life events, I needed a chapter off of focusing on the main story line. This chapter was it. The awkward, yet touching conversation between Nolan and Libby reminds me of Clumsy thanks to a story a friend of mine once told me about a conversation she had with her ex-fiancee. Love can be clumsy sometimes.
A Beacon and A Bomb – Chevelle – A Letter From a Thief
This was the only chapter other than Knockout where I had the chapter name thought up before I had the chapter finished. As soon as I thought of the chapter name, A Letter From a Thief got stuck in my head. And thus, here we are.
In Between – Red Sparowes – A Swarm
Helllllooooo Beth’s dark side again.
A Call To Action – Tchaikovsky – Slavonic March
If you’re looking for the ARMC’s national anthem referenced in the chapter, look no further than the 2:20 mark of the song above. Seems commanding, no?
Sadie – Sergei Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No. 2
The song Sadie mentioned as her upcoming performance recital piece is linked above. It appears that Spotify doesn’t have the Anna Federova version that I have linked above, but that’s why YouTube exists.
Us Inside Another – Escape the Fate – Gorgeous Nightmare
Is the song about Beth, Sadie, or both? You decide.
Only Elpis Remained – Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race
Relevant for most of the chapter? Not really. Relevant for the final 1/3 of the chapter? Oh yes.
Ghosts – Susie Suh – Everywhere
Nothing special here musically other than an eerily calm song against the announcement of a crumbling world.
First of the Month – A Perfect Circle – 3 Libras
From what I’ve been told, those born under the sign of Libra tend to be pretty peaceful. A small party on a night in seems pretty peaceful, especially when the world is about to change, and the dark tone of the song fits well with the underlying dark around the corner.
Dusk – Ayla Brown and the Boston Pops Orchestra – The Star Spangled Banner
As mentioned in the chapter.
Knockout – Straylight Run – Hands in the Sky
I re-read this chapter and couldn’t believe how well this song went with the tone of the events of the chapter.
A Puppet’s Lament – Biffy Clyro – Living’s A Problem Cause Everything Dies
An oddly appropriate outro to a country where hope (outside of memories) has finally been lost.