Songs

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The Songs of Mordor (a.k.a NaNoWriMo)

Published November 8, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

November is a time of family, autumn leaves, snuggly clothing (I live in San Diego, so . . . . I basically never get to wear my sweaters *cries*), thankfulness, an obsession with the PSL (I had to ask someone—apparently, it’s lingo for Pumpkin Spice Latte *shrugs*). Seems pretty quaint, right?

Well, for writers the month of November is basically a crazed adventure film where people who live a thousand lives and imagine the impossible embark on a journey to the Great Mount Fifty (also know as Mordor). You either make it or die trying. *dramatic music swells*

 

frodo-mordor

Don’t know what I’m talking about? 

IT’S NANOWRIMO, PEOPLE! A month where authors take on the task of reaching 50,000 words in their work in progress in a meager 30 days. Why not a month that has 31 days to it? . . . . I honestly don’t know, because when you’re strapped to the seemingly innocent task of at least 1,666 words per day, even a few hours can be helpful.

nanowrimo

And everyone knows that epic movies and adventures require the proper soundtrack for inspiration. Do you think Captain Ahab wasn’t humming some Journey power-ballad to himself when he attempted to slay Moby Dick, or that literary greats didn’t bob their heads to some intense Mozart tune while penning their poetry? Or that any Marvel film would be as exciting without a score or AC/DC number to guide the scene on?

Negatory, my friends. “Where words fail, music speaks.” Thank you, Hans Christian Andersen. Some of my greatest blocks while writing the Rising Shadows trilogy were overcome by the right tune that sparked my inspiration and set the mood for the scene, unblocking me like some good ol’ Drano for the mind. . . . I think I took it too far.

picard

 

Anyway, below is my playlist that helped me work past today’s word count goals for The Jungle Princess. It’s basically a compilation of songs that I just love listening to and put me in a great mood to write, but some also fit seamlessly as the inspiration for current chapters in JP. So, this begs the question, what’s on your writing playlist? What music inspires you? Are you hooked by lyrics, the melody, or both? Or are you like me and listen to the same song on repeat for hours until the scene comes together perfectly? Cheers to that! *clanks mugs of coffee, because caffeine means survival*

“Hurt Somebody” – Dierks Bentley

“It’ll All Work Out” – Tom Petty

“Love Someone” – Jason Mraz

“Start of Time” – Gabrielle Aplin

“On My Way Back Home” – Band of Horses

“This Town” – Niall Horan

“Don’t Worry Baby” – The Beach Boys

“Beat the Devil’s Tatto” – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

“Losing My Mind” – Charlie Puth

“Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran

“Hurricane” – Need to Breathe

“Springsteen” – Eric Church

“Back on the Map” – Kacey Musgraves

“One Day” – Kodaline

“Don’t You (Forget about Me)” – Simple Minds

 

 

 

 

The Music Speaks! DS Playlist

Published August 13, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

jewelry heart

Music inspires me. 

One beat or pulsing rhythm or lyric that catches on my heart strings, and I’m hooked on a song. My sister Katie (follow her blog Books and Wonderful Things!) brought a random song from Florence and the Machine to my attention while I was writing Chasing Shadows, and the chorus and a single line in the bridge of “Heavy in Your Arms” inspired the waterfall scene between Jade and Will (“The one who creeps in corridors and doesn’t make a sound.” Come on, people!). Sometimes when I get blocked, I take a break, close my eyes and just nap in the sunshine and listen to music. I’ve overcome many a writing stump by absorbing the tone and lyrics of random songs.

music speaks

My writing playlist consists of about 150 inspiring songs in all sorts of genres so that there is something to fit any scene (romantic, intense, moody, tragic). But there is always one lyric or beat or chorus that so perfectly encompasses the entire mood of a chapter that, before I realize it, the repeat button has been pressed, and I listen to nothing but that song as it inspires the setting and the way I write, even how the characters respond to one another. Some music causes me to pound away at the keyboard as swords clash and arrows fly, while sweeter melodies make me slow down and smile as I pen a romantic interlude (ooh, interludes! ^_~). Music is, essentially, the backbone behind life and every story, if you listen close enough to the birds, the wind, and “every breaking wave” (*cough* U2 reference *cough*).

Since there is one specific song that really stuck out to me as being the lifeblood behind each chapter, I had to share with you the melodies that inspired Defying Shadows. If you’ve read the book, then you’re probably freaking out because you’re reliving every laugh and tear and emotional tidal wave that you experienced while reading the book. If you haven’t started Defying Shadows yet, then find it here so you know why this playlist is perfect. 

I hope you enjoy the sounds of Serimone!

beats

Prologue:

            “Drop of Smoke”—Hudson Taylor

Chapter 1:

            “I Will Be Back One Day”—Lord Huron

Chapter 2:

            “Best Friend”—Jason Mraz

Chapter 3:

            “Into the Wild”—Lewis Walton

Chapter 4:

            “Sing Loud”—Alpha Rev

Chapter 5:

            “Surrender”—Natalie Taylor

Chapter 6:

            “Surround You”—Echosmith

Chapter 7:

            “Another Story”—The Head and the Heart

Chapter 8:

            “History’s Door”—Husky

Chapter 9:

            “Big Bad World”—Kodaline

Chapter 10:

            “Can’t Pretend”—Tom Odell

Chapter 11:

            “The Lion’s Den”—Twin Oaks

Chapter 12:

            “Let it Go”—James Bay

Chapter 13:

            “I Have Made Mistakes”—The Oh Hellos

Chapter 14:

            “Moon Shines Red”—Jamie McDell

Chapter 15:

            “Running for You”—Kip Moore

Chapter 16:

            “Searchlight”—Phillip Phillips

Chapter 17:

            “Run”—Jasmine Thompson

Chapter 18:

            “All I Want”—Dawn Golden

Chapter 19:

            “Unclear”—Kodaline

Chapter 20:

            “Stay Alive”—Jose Gonzalez

Chapter 21:

            “Daniel in the Den”—Bastille

Chapter 22:

            “Fire”—Barnes Courtney

            “Volcano”—Emily Hearn

Chapter 23:

            “I Found Love”—Amber Run

Chapter 24:

            “Hollow”—Tori Kelley

Chapter 25:

            “Pieces”—Andrew Belle

Chapter 26:

            “Prince of Peace”—Hillsong

Chapter 27:

            “Way Down We Go”—Kaleo

Chapter 28:

            “Song for Someone”—U2

Chapter 29:

            “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”—Raign

Chapter 30:

            “Charlie Boy”—The Lumineers

Chapter 31:

            “All I Ever Wanted (Was Time)”—Vance Joy

Chapter 32:

            “On My Way Back Home”—Band of Horses

Chapter 33:

            “Light”—Sleeping at Last

Chapter 34:

            “Other Side”—Parachute

Chapter 35:

            “Hanging by a Thread”—Aaron Espe

Chapter 36:

            “All This Time”—One Republic

Chapter 37:

            “Home”—Gabrielle Aplin

Chapter 38:

            “Our Last Days”—The Fray

Epilogue:

            “Photograph”—Ed Sheeran

 

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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