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Nothing gets me in the mood to write like the right music, and each story has its own soundtrack. After writing to my playlists for so long, I now find that hearing particular tracks actually flicks a switch in my mind and sets me off imagining my other worlds and ignoring this one. Sometimes it’s the pace that inspires me to envision an exciting or moving scene; other times it’s the shape of the melody that brings certain feelings to mind. Often it’s the lyrics that are particularly poetic or appealing, and form notions of a relationship, a dynamic or a sequence of events, but usually, I suppose, it’s the harmonious way these elements all come together to create a piece of music I can write to. Chaotic music is distracting – I really like Kate Miller-Heidke but cannot write to her off-kilter style – and instrumental is too boring, so I prefer to use that for academic writing. The Elm Stone Saga books have been written and edited to a playlist that has changed in content with time but has maintained the same tone so that I keep the same direction and feel for the whole series. Here, in no particular order, is a list of six of my favourite songs to write The Elm Stone Saga to.
1. Zombie, The Cranberries
What I love: the lead-in is soft and it builds (I don’t like being dumped straight into a song, I need a small lead-in) and then I love the strong drum/bass/vocal combination at the chorus. I also love that this is Irish and political. I listened to this a lot writing Unbidden.