Music

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A Glimpse of Sequel Sounds …

Published September 11, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

So, you all know how much I love music and enjoy creating playlists. Well, ta-da! Here’s a sneak peak at the playlist for the sequel to Rising Shadows. This is just a little taste of the ridiculous number of songs that I’m sorting through until I find the perfect ones for the sequel. It has been so much fun writing the book while selecting music for the playlist, because most of these songs have actually inspired scenes and feelings that I hadn’t yet written in or imagined. These are my favorite songs so far that I listen to constantly, and I specially selected these to share because each one inspired something in the book. Music addicts like me honestly have to add these to their iPods or get them on YouTube, just so they can get a feel for the tone of the next book. I’ll also be listening to each song as I write about them, and I recommend that you pull them up and listen while you read to get the full effect. Enjoy!

“Heavy in Your Arms” – Florence and the Machine

            My first possible-scene-obsession-song of the summer. My magical music guru, Katie, led me onto this sweet little morsel. She was listening to it while I was working on the playlist for Rising Shadows and thought the lyric about “the one who creeps in corridors” would be perfect for the Shadow. Then we spent the better part of an hour shooting ideas for the scene back and forth, throwing out characters ideas, and playing with the symbolism for the scene versus the song literally directing it. Like the rest of the book, I already have it written out in my head, but even Katie has no idea what I’m actually going to do with it.

“Give Me Love” – Ed Sheeran

            Ohmysweetgoodness! It is going to be a very emotional and intense scene, and you’ll get what I mean when you reach about 3:45 in the song (You can stop after 5:30). My sister Liz turned me onto his “Small Bump” song, and we purchased the rest of the CD days later, where “Give Me Love” became our next blare-in-the-car tune. Like the rest of these songs, this one inspired a certain part of a scene that I already planned on writing, but it definitely added more emotional depth to this particular moment. I am so looking forward to writing this one! I love drama! … In books. Real life, not so much.

 

“World Spins Madly On” – The Weepies

            This song has a really great sound to it—I love the guitar—and it just puts me in one of my very thoughtful, I-must-write! type of moods. When a song inspires me to write or I think it would really fit well with a scene, I become obsessed with it and just leave it on repeat for hours as I play the scene out in my head, trying to match the lyrics or have them affect the tone of the scene. I drove my sister Katie nuts the other day because I listened to it fifteen times in a row, after which she begged me not to make it sixteen. ^__^ This song has a very melancholy sound, which for some reason, I am drawn to when writing. Little spoiler: This is from Sarah’s perspective just after someone close to her dies … And that’s all I can say. Sorry, it’s just a tormenting taste.    

“The Shadow Proves the Sunshine” – Switchfoot

             I have been a Switchfoot fan for years, and when I heard this song just before the release of Rising Shadows, I knew I had to write something into the second book where this was the “theme” song (it appears fairly quick after “World Spins Madly On”). Every time I listen to this song, I immediately think of Will (sigh) and have this really melancholy moment with him. Plus, this track has the word “shadow” in the title. I mean, come on; I had to add it. I have not typed out this scene yet, but trust me, it is completely written in my head—drafted, revised, and spell checked!—and I cannot wait to be able to finally get this scene down on paper.

“Awake My Soul” – Mumford and Sons

            My older sister Elizabeth introduced me to this one—thank you, thank you, thank you!—and I have added it to just about every playlist on my iPod so I’m never without it. “How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes, I struggle to find any truth in your lies … But my weakness I feel I must finally show.” When I heard these lyrics, I immediately pictured a moment between Will and Sarah; they have this fantastic draw to each other, but they also fight it constantly—Sarah, because she knows she can’t stay in the twelfth century, and Will, because he’s afraid to let anyone in. There’s also the fact that the song talks about truth and trust, which has always been a theme in their relationship, and then the line about weakness completely describes Will opening up to her. Ah. Don’t you just love it when a song can sum up your first book in three and a half minutes?    

“Demons” – Imagine Dragons

            I already have one of their songs, but when I heard “Demons” on a movie trailer, I purchased their new CD without listening to the rest of it. Not recommended, but this time it actually turned out really well! I dedicate this entire song to Will, especially for the sequel. Once again, I got this song three days ago and have listened to it probably twenty or more times.  

More scene-inspiring music for the sequel!

“Winterlove” – Parachute

“Eyes Wide Open” – Gotye

“I Won’t Give Up” – Jason Mraz

“Twenty Years” – Augustana

“Hear You Me” – Jimmy Eat World

“Rivers and Road” – The Head and the Heart

“No One Ever Taught Us” – Jason Reeves

“Always” – Switchfoot

“John Wayne” – Sons of Sylvia

 

Sounds of Inspiration

Published May 22, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” Psalm 100: 1 -2

“The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14

Music is a universal language. It may speak to and affect people in different ways, but a meaning can always be drawn by those who are willing to listen close enough. I adore music; I love playing my guitar and singing along. Blessedly, the verse above says make a joyful noise, so God loves to hear the earnest praises of the tone-deaf and musically-inclined alike.

I can’t actually have any music playing in my room when I study; a certain song—the melody, specific lyrics, a catchy beat—can so easily distract me and cause me to lose my focus as I put down my pencil and notes, allowing the sound to flow over me as I absorb every note and detail of the story behind the music. Crazy, upbeat songs are some of my favorites because I can’t help but dance like a total spaz to them. If it doesn’t make me dance and bob my head with a stupid grin on my face, or stop and listen with rapt attention, then it’s no good.

If you’re succumbing to writer’s block, take a step back from the computer for a few minutes and listen to some music to clear your head. I’ve written entire scenes from the moving or intense beats behind certain songs! I listen to just about every type of music possible, and I especially enjoy listening to melancholy lyrics when I write. For some reason, these songs grab my attention more quickly than the others with their haunting sound and heart-wrenching lyrics—they always seem to have a story behind them that pulls me in. Lately, I’ve also gotten into a lot of scores and classical music that are fun to write to.

My most recent obsessions in the world of music have been “Heavy in your Arms” by Florence and the Machine (it inspired a whole encounter in the second book in The Shadow trilogy, and I’m listening to it right now!), and also Peter Bradley Adams’ “The Longer I Run.” I also adore Parachute’s “Winterlove” because it has this fantastic sound and story within the song. For classical, just about anything by Two Steps from Hell (don’t let the name scare you!). So many more, but this is just a small sample of what inspires me to write.    

Currently, I’m working on narrowing down a playlist of songs I’ve compiled for Rising Shadows. It’s a compilation of songs that I’ve either listened to incessantly while I worked on this project, or some new songs I discovered that seemed too perfect to pass up. I have had so much fun dedicating hours and days to finding the perfect match (or two) for the mood of a certain chapter; it was like writing the story all over again! I cannot wait to share it with you all very soon!  

“When words fail, music speaks.” –Hans Christian Andersen

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