Last week, I shared an interview with R, the main character of my YA story. Though it was a bit of a gag, it was a great exercise and it did succeed in helping me get a better feel for how R’s dialogue should go. (For those interested, yes, I did complete the scene R wanted me to.) It was also a demonstration of some advice I offered in my other post, “Reaching Out to Our Characters.”

For those who haven’t read that post, it listed a few ways we writers can connect with our characters. One way I mentioned was talking to our characters. Another was creating a playlist of music for them, either one that we could imagine them listening to or one that we simply associate with them.

This post touches on that latter piece of advice, and once again, the focus is on R. However, as before, this can work with any character. Even if your character is deaf or otherwise audibly impaired—or if they just don’t like music—there may still be songs that remind you of them, and listening to them can be inspirational and may help you feel closer to your character. For me, this is especially true when I listen to those songs while writing, but I understand there are many writers who consider any noise an unwanted distraction. This post is focused more on writers who enjoy music and who enjoy listening to it while writing or in preparation of writing.

When it comes to songs that remind you of your characters, they can come from any time period. However, when it comes to creating a playlist that you can imagine your characters listening to, it may get a bit trickier for those who would rather not have to imagine their characters outside of their story’s time period. My fantasy world doesn’t have the technology capable of creating music exactly similar to what I typically listen to (heavy metal, soft to hard rock, etc.), so I draw more from folk songs, some world music, opera, and orchestral music. However, thats just a personal preference. You dont have to confine yourself to the time period of your story. After all, anything can be made possible in our imaginations. Basically, my playlists include anything that sounds close enough to the music that would be available in my story’s time period and that I think my character would enjoy.

Below is a playlist I created for R. A few of the songs on the list are a bit of a stretch to imagine R being able to listen to and some modifications would be needed for those ones to exist in her world, but they still work for me.

 

“Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-SaĆ«ns

“Carry Me Home” by The Sweeplings

“Cello Concerto in E Minor” by Edward Elgar

“Vide Cor Meum” by Patrick Cassidy (from the 2000 movie Hannibal)

“Primavera” by Ludovico Einaudi

“Fly” by Ludovico Einaudi

“Night” by Ludovico Einaudi

“Moonlight Sonata: Movements I-III” by Ludwig Van Beethoven

“Nocturne in C-Sharp” by Frederic Chopin

“The Mystic’s Dream” by Loreena McKennitt

“The Four Seasons: Winter” by Antonio Vivaldi

“Come Home” by The Newton Brothers (from The Haunting of Hill House Netflix series)

“The Beginning of the End Movements I-IV” by The Newton Brothers (from The Haunting of Hill House Netflix series)

“Road to Perdition” by Thomas Newman (from the Road to Perdition Original Soundtrack)

To listen to this playlist on Spotify, please click this link:

 https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1cLqDQVPckUjFv6pNLTwTs

 

Here’s a playlist of songs that remind me of R but that I can’t imagine her being able to listen to (or otherwise enjoy). Like the above playlist, I often like using these songs to get myself in the right frame of mind to write her character and help me stay there as I begin the writing session.

 

“Grave Digger” by Blues Saraceno

“Hurt” by Johnny Cash

“(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” by The Outlaws

“When Death Comes Knocking” by Primal Fear

“Burn” by The Cure

“Bury a Friend” by Billie Eilish

“Arrow” by Kathryn Calder

“Wolf Totem” by The Hu (feat. Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach)

“Raven Wing” by Iced Earth

“Fragile Minds” by Silent Theory

“Eater of Worlds” by Everyone Loves a Villain

“Love the Way You Hate Me” by Like a Storm

“Popular Monster” by Falling in Reverse

“Welcome to My Nightmare” by Alice Cooper

“Time for People” by Atomship

“Star Sky” by Two Steps From Hell

“Beauty of the Beast” by Nightwish

“Wherever I May Roam” by Metallica

“Monster” by Starset

“Imaginary” by Evanescence

“Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd

“Hey You” by Pink Floyd

To listen to this playlist on Spotify, please click the link below. Because this list is so eclectic, I rearranged the songs so that theyre grouped by genre. The list above was not completed with any particular order in mind.

Content Warning: Some songs on this playlist may not be suitable for children. There are instances of profanity and references to violence, mental illness, and self harm/suicide.

 https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1wl4op6Ra4cXWOfI74Mpcy

 

If creating playlists isn’t something you’ve done for your characters and you decide to give it a try, I hope it helps! I chose to use Spotify for these playlists, but I also have playlists on iTunes. You can use whatever method of compiling music you want. It just needs to be accessible for you, and legal. If you already have character playlists created, I’d love to check them out. Please feel free to share links to them below!

I do not own the rights to any of the songs in the playlists above. All rights belong to their respective owners and I am not attempting to (and I do not) make money off of them or claim them as my own.