Tag Archives: creating a soundtrack for a story

The Soundscape of a Novel

“The making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art…First of all, you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel.  This is a delicate thing.” —High Fidelity

*sigh*…the Mix Tape.  How I remember practicing that delicate art in high school and college…mostly, I made tapes for myself (hey, you have to love yourself before you can love someone else :)), but I can think of at least one I made for a boy…*blush*. I didn’t need to read or see High Fidelity first to innately understand the delicacy in balancing out those tracks—it’s a lot like writing, really, in that you need to start out with an attention-getter and then try to avoid redundancy in carefully pacing yourself through the highs and lows of fast and slow. The words should carry meaning, and you need to establish mood and tone.

But I didn’t necessarily adhere to all those rules this time.

You see, as I try to hold my anxiety at bay while the last 15,000 words of my manuscript rest in my trusted Reader’s hands for review and feedback, I’ve been playing around with giving my novel a soundtrack, as inspired by the Milk Fever Blog post, “The Soundtrack.” The preliminary playlist that I’ve compiled is in order of story progression, not the sacred aesthetic rules of the Mix Tape as referenced above. Basically, I thought through the themes and atmosphere of my key scenes, as well as any songs specifically referenced in the text, and have listed the songs as these elements appear.  Though humor keeps some of my scenes relatively light, needless to say my protagonist undergoes some pretty crazy stuff that just doesn’t warrant many feel-good tunes.

At any rate, I bring you “Monkey Manuscript: The Musical”—ta da!  You can access this first-pass playlist for my as-yet-untitled manuscript online by clicking the image (a painting I only just stumbled on today that is strikingly in keeping with my tale’s motifs, so would make ideal cover art). Titles and artists are also listed below:


"Ophelia," by Leah Piken Kolidas (www.bluetreeartgallery.com)


The “Untitled” Soundtrack:

The Ghost in You – Pscychedelic Furs

We Are All Made of Stars – Moby

Charlotte Sometimes – The Cure

Dreams Never End – New Order

The Fear – Lily Allen

Goody Two Shoes – Adam Ant

10:15 Saturday Night – The Cure

Cemetry Gates – The Smiths

Peace and Hate – The Submarines

Sexy Boy – Air

Dead Souls – Joy Division

Shiver – Coldplay

Start to Melt – Peter Bjorn and John

She’s Lost Control – Joy Division

Where is My Mind? – The Pixies

All Cats Are Grey – The Cure

Black Mirror – Arcade Fire

Cold Hands (Warm Heart) – Brendan Benson

Quick, Painless and Easy – Ivy

Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley

Slow Life – Grizzly Bear

Edge of the Ocean – Ivy

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