Writing & Blogging

How and Why To Make a Novel Playlist

Writing is a wonderful thing, but it can be tough to get in touch with your story on a deeper level. Yes, you have the plot set and your characters identified and filled out. But are you one with your story yet? Are you ready to connect with it and your characters but struggling with getting to that next step? Maybe it’s time to make a novel and/or character playlist.

How and why to make a novel playlist

Why You Should

Why you should make a novel playlist

They’re a great way to interact with possible readers ahead of the book release. Share your playlists with your social media networks or with your email list or whomever and it will give them an idea of what the book is like, at least a little bit.

They get you into the right mindset when you’re writing. Music is a great tool for pumping us up, making us sad, getting us in the right spirit for any mood. And I’m sure you’ve associated a song or two with a person or event. For example, whenever I hear Ke$sha’s Tik Tok, I’m reminded to frat parties when I was in college because it was huge on the frat party scene. If they can do that, why couldn’t they get you into the mindset for your writing? This is why I have 4 TLM playlists, actually. I’m writing TLM from the perspective of the three main characters, so I have a novel playlist and one for each character, Becky, Nicholas, and Elizabeth. I’ll listen to them while writing or before digging into it so that I’m ready to write from the POV of one of them.

They help you get to know your characters. You can know a lot about your characters – especially since you created them – without knowing what it feels like to feel how they feel.

They help you think about your plot if you can’t or aren’t writing. Let’s say that you have a busy day and won’t be able to write until the night. When you’re out during the day, maybe you can listen to your novel playlist while walking or commuting. Your brain can be thinking about what’s going on even when your fingers can’t write or type.

How To Make a Novel Playlist

How To Make a Novel Playlist

Step 1: Jot down the different elements of your novel or character’s storyline. This could be falling love, running for their life, trying to work hard, whatever.

Step 1.5: If you didn’t already, put the different elements in order of the book.

Step 2: Start looking for songs! What I do is start a playlist in Spotify and then just start going through other playlists looking for songs that fit. If you know some songs that you definitely want, go directly to them. I advise getting at least 2 hours worth of songs. The songs you get should be ones that accurately depict the specific element you’re looking for. For example, there are a lot of songs about falling in love, but not all of them are about falling in love with someone you just met. So I probably wouldn’t include Tori Kelly and Ed Sheeran’s I Was Made For Loving You if I wasn’t featuring characters who fall in love at first sight because that includes a line about the other person being a stranger but still knowing you were made for them.

Step 3: Arrange the songs by the element they’re a part of. So all the songs that are about falling in love, then running for their life, etc.

Step 4: If necessary, arrange the songs within each element by what part of the element they represent. So a song about meeting a beautiful stranger, then about getting to know someone, then loving them, and so on.

Step 5: Enjoy, share, and just generally have fun while writing!

Enjoy the TLM playlist!

How and why to make novel and/or character playlists when writing Click To Tweet

Have you made novel and character playlists? If so, have they helped you? If not, why not?

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  • Reply Meghan

    I have a Handwritten Love playlist, but I never thought about doing a character playlist for my main characters. I’ll have to think about what songs represent Jolee!

    January 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm
    • Reply Kate Mitchell

      It’s so fun! And honestly It really helps me get into the mood for my characters. Good luck!

      February 1, 2016 at 11:08 am
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  • Reply Tayler

    I definitely have a writing playlist…mostly of Celtic music and Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Historic adventure movie soundtracks (because I write fantasy and historic fiction adventure!)

    January 16, 2016 at 10:50 pm
  • Reply Cherie Jamison

    Love this! I have made writing/novel playlists before, but I usually don’t listen to them while I’m writing because they distract me. But I have definitely listened to them in anticipation of writing or just while driving in the car and thinking up ideas.

    Awesome post! I didn’t even think about how it would be a good way to interact/connect with possible readers but that’s so true.

    January 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm
    • Reply Kate Mitchell

      Yeah, listening to them while writing can be distracting, but listening to them in anticipation of writing is a great way, too! Good luck writing!

      February 1, 2016 at 11:09 am
  • Reply 5 Tips To Beat Writer's Block - Kate the (Almost) Great | Boston Lifestyle Blog

    […] actually has an entire post about this that you can read. I’ve always found it really helpful to create a playlist or […]

    March 16, 2016 at 12:49 pm
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